Explore Your 5 Universal Emotions With the Dalai Lama

The new Atlas of Emotions is an engaging online resource.

Emotions: we all got ‘em, but some of us choose to pay them more attention than others. Emotions are complex and capricious, which can make them difficult to understand, but there are universal truths about their origins and effects on daily life that can make grasping them a bit easier.

By Anthony Von Dari@VOP Today

The Dalai Lama, a compassionate preacher of inner peace who probably has a firmer hold on his emotions than most of us, has launched the Ekmans’ Atlas of Emotions, an online resource designed to help people better understand their emotions by uniting them under universal truths concluded from scientific data.

“This is not just for knowledge, but in order to create a happy human being.”

The Dalai Lama may be a religious leader, but his teachings about compassion and self-awareness are of great use to secular people, too. While the Dalai Lama would be overjoyed to learn that you subscribe to Buddhist beliefs, his overarching goal is to help everyone attain inner peace, religion aside.

The Atlas of Emotions was developed with American psychologist Dr. Paul Ekmanwith the hope that universal truths based on science would help religious and secular people make better sense of their emotions.

In a New York Times article announcing the launch of the Atlas of Emotions, the Dalai Lama asserts that everyone, regardless of religious beliefs or age, can benefit from exploring this “innerness.” “This is not just for knowledge, but in order to create a happy human being. “Happy family, happy community and, finally, happy humanity,” he said.

The Dalai Lama shaking hands with officials at Capitol Hill in 2014
The Dalai Lama shaking hands with officials at Capitol Hill in 2014

As the Dalai Lama isn’t exactly a technology whiz, he enlisted the help of Ekman and his daughter Eve, a postdoctoral scholar, to organize a distinct range of human emotions for $750,000.

Ekman — who assisted on Pixar’s Inside Out, an animated children’s movie with surprisingly mature themes about feelings — surveyed 149 scientists in an attempt to discern any consensus about human emotions, their triggers, and the moods they elicit.

While it was no easy task to get that many specialists to reach an agreement, Ekman was able to boil down the data into five basic “continents” of emotion: anger, fear, disgust, sadness, and enjoyment. On the site, each appears as a colorful, pulsing puddle on the front page of the Atlas.

The five continents of emotion
The five continents of emotion

There are plenty of therapeutic resources online, but the Atlas of Emotions boasts an enticing dichotomy that separates it from the rest: it’s driven by the Dalai Lama’s spiritual quest for inner peace but grounded in scientific data.

When it comes to the complexity of a quest like understanding our emotions, it’s helpful to have our approaches fall somewhere between intriguing spirituality and scientific truths. Oh, and it works just fine on your smartphone — just don’t look at it while in bed.

The different experiences that trigger the emotion of disgust
The different experiences that trigger the emotion of disgust

The goal of the Atlas of Emotions seems to extend outward, too: by learning more about ourselves, we can get a better grasp on the actions of the people we love and even those we clash with. It may feel as though our emotions are often riddled with mystery, but the Dalai Lama’s new emotional map is here to help. Debunk the mystery of you today.

Maybe here is someone never heard about Dalai Lama

(Wikipedia) The Dalai Lama /ˈdɑːl ˈlɑːmə/ (US), /ˌdæl ˈlɑːmə/ (UK) is a monk of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Je Tsongkhapa. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.

The Dalai Lama is considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations ofAvalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, called Chenrezig in Tibetan. The name is a combination of theMongolic word dalai meaning “ocean” (being the translation of the Tibetan name, ‘Gyatso’) and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ (bla-ma) meaning “guru, teacher, mentor”. The Tibetan word “lama” corresponds to the better known Sanskrit word “guru“.

From 1642 until the 1950s (except for 1705 to 1750), the Dalai Lamas or their regents headed the Tibetan government (or Ganden Phodrang) in Lhasa which governed all or most of the Tibetan plateau with varying degrees of autonomy, up to complete sovereignty. This government also enjoyed the patronage and protection of firstly Mongol kings of theKhoshut and Dzungar Khanates (1642–1720) and then of the emperors of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1720–1912)


In Central Asian Buddhist countries, it has been widely believed for the last millennium that Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, has a special relationship with the people of Tibet and intervenes in their fate by incarnating as benevolent rulers and teachers such as the Dalai Lamas. This is according to The Book of Kadam, the main text of the Kadampa school, to which the First Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup, first belonged. In fact, this text is said to have ‘laid the foundation’ for the Tibetans’ later identification of the Dalai Lamas as incarnations of Avalokiteśvara. It traces the legend of the bodhisattva’s incarnations as early Tibetan kings and emperors such as Songsten Gampo and later as Dromtönpa (1004-1064). This lineage has been extrapolated by Tibetans up to and including the Dalai Lamas.

Origins in myth and legend

Thus, according to such sources, an informal line of succession of the present Dalai Lamas as incarnations ofAvalokiteśvara stretches back much further than Gendun Drub. The Book of Kadam, the compilation of Kadampateachings largely composed around discussions between the Indian sage Atisa (980-1054) and his Tibetan host and chief disciple Dromtönpa and ‘Tales of the Previous Incarnations of Arya Avalokiteśvara’, nominate as many as sixty persons prior to Gendun Drub who are enumerated as earlier incarnations of Avalokiteśvara and predecessors in the same lineage leading up to him. In brief, these include a mythology of 36 Indian personalities plus 10 early Tibetan kings and emperors, all said to be previous incarnations of Dromtönpa, and fourteen further Nepalese and Tibetan yogis and sages in between him and the first Dalai Lama. In fact, according to the “Birth to Exile” article on the 14th Dalai Lama’s website, he is “the seventy-fourth in a lineage that can be traced back to a Brahmin boy who lived in the time of Buddha Shakyamuni.”

Avalokiteśvara’s ‘Dalai Lama master plan’

According to the 14th Dalai Lama, long ago Avalokiteśvara had promised the Buddha to guide and protect the Tibetan People and in the late Middle Ages, his master plan to fulfil this promise was the stage-by-stage establishment of the Dalai Lama theocracy in Tibet.

First, Tsongkhapa established three great monasteries around Lhasa in the province of Ü before he died in 1419. The 1st Dalai Lama soon became Abbot of the greatest one, Drepung, and developed a large popular power base in Ü. He later extended this to cover Tsang, where he constructed a fourth great monastery,Tashi Lhunpo, at Shigatse. The 2nd studied there before returning to Lhasa, where he became Abbot of Drepung. Having reactivated the 1st’s large popular followings in Tsang and Ü, the 2nd then moved on to southern Tibet and gathered more followers there who helped him construct a new monastery,Chokorgyel. He also established the method by which later Dalai Lama incarnations would be discovered through visions at the ‘oracle lake’, Lhamo Lhatso.The 3rd built on his predecessors’ fame by becoming Abbot of the two great monasteries of Drepung and Sera. The stage was set for the great Mongol King Altan Khan, hearing of his reputation, to invite the 3rd to Mongolia where he converted the King and his followers to Buddhism, as well as other Mongol princes and their followers covering a vast tract of central Asia. Thus most of Mongolia was added to the Dalai Lama’s sphere of influence, founding a spiritual empire which largely survives to the modern age. After being given the Mongolian name ‘Dalai’, he returned to Tibet to found the great monasteries of Lithang in Kham, eastern Tibet and Kumbum in Amdo, north-eastern Tibet.The 4th was then born in Mongolia as the great grandson of Altan Khan, thus cementing strong ties betweenCentral Asia, the Dalai Lamas, the Gelugpa and Tibet.

Finally, in fulfilment of Avalokiteśvara‘s master plan, the 5th in the succession used the vast popular power base of devoted followers built up by his four predecessors. Aided by his resourceful deputy Sonam Chöphel and his devoted disciple Gushri Khan, King of the Khoshot Mongols, as Dalai Lama he attained full and lasting religious and political power over the entire Tibetan plateau in 1642.

Thus the Dalai Lamas became pre-eminent spiritual leaders in Tibet and 25 Himalayan and Central Asian kingdoms and countries bordering Tibet and their prolific literary works have “for centuries acted as major sources of spiritual and philosophical inspiration to more than fifty million people of these lands”.Overall, they have played ‘a monumental role in Asian literary, philosophical and religious history’.

How the Dalai Lama lineage became established

Gendun Drup (1391-1474) was the ordination name of the monk who came to be known as the ‘First Dalai Lama‘, but only from 104 years after he died. There had been resistance, since first he was ordained a monk in the Kadampa tradition and for various reasons, for hundreds of years the Kadampa school had eschewed the adoption of the tulku system to which the older schools adhered. Tsongkhapa largely modelled his new, reformed Gelugpa school on the Kadampatradition and he also refrained from starting a tulku system. Therefore, although Gendun Drup grew to be a very important Gelugpa lama, after he died in 1474 there was no question of any search being made to identify his incarnation.

Despite this, when the Tashilhunpo monks started hearing what seemed credible accounts that an incarnation of Gendun Drup had appeared nearby and repeatedly announced himself from the age of two, their curiosity was aroused. It was some 55 years after Tsongkhapa’s death. When eventually the monastic authorities saw compelling evidence which convinced them that the child in question was indeed none other than the incarnation of their founder, they felt obliged to break with their own tradition. In 1487, the boy was renamed Gendun Gyatso and installed at Tashilhunpo as Gendun Drup‘s tulku, albeit on an informal kind of basis.

Gendun Gyatso eventually died in 1542 and the lineage of Dalai Lama tulkus finally became firmly established when the third incarnation, Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588), came forth. He made himself known as the tulku of Gendun Gyatso and was formally recognised and enthroned at Drepung in 1546. When he was given the titular name “Dalai Lama” by the Mongolian King in 1578, it was also accorded to his last two predecessors and he became known as the third in the lineage.

Photo Credit en.wikipedia.org