Smile Through Every Challenge

24 Mar 2015 Siem Reap, Cambodia

The challenge in life is to find peace amidst chaos. See there is no much noise here. Tell me how many of you are getting irritated because there is so much noise in the background? (Some in the audience raise their hands)
I think there are more of you. Some in the audience are hesitant to raise their hands. Now The Art of Living begins here, even thought there is noise, accepting it and being at peace.

Let us say that you are stuck in traffic. Now you have two choices:
1. You get frustrated, or
2. You spend your time planning, or reading, or listening to some music
Life poses many challenges. The way of the wise is to accept situations and move through with a smile.

If you don't follow ethics in business, the fall will be very sharp and very hard.

I heard of how much suffering this part of the world has undergone. It really breaks my heart when I hear of the incidents. But now is the time to let go of the past and move on with a new conviction, and that is what I would call The Art of Living.

We need to create waves of happiness. There is a prayer in Buddhism which says, 'Rakkhantu sabba devata', which means: let all the Gods and Goddesses protect us!
In India we say, 'Sarve bhavantu sukhinah', which means: let everybody be happy!
So creating a wave of happiness is a very important thing for all of us to do. Don't you think so?

Even if one person in your family is not happy, can you be fully happy? Not possible! So your happiness depends on the happiness of your family. But can one happy family live in a country where neighbors are not happy. That is also not possible, because the neighbor's unhappiness will sometimes create problems for you. So for everyone to be happy, we need to take a proactive role in society. And that proactive role is service to society.
How can we do that? We can do that when we find our inner peace. Today, in this age of technology, we don't need to wait for long to heal ourselves. We can heal ourselves, our minds, our psyche very quickly with breathing techniques. With meditation our mind can radiate with positivity. So this is very precious.

Life is like a tree: a combination of old and new. The roots are old and the shoots are new. So life should be like that. We need both ancient and modern and Cambodia is blessed with both: an ancient culture and modern technology.
I know that sixty percent of this country's population is of the youth. So while we are progressing in technology, in studies, in skills, it is necessary to preserve the ancient culture as well. And I am sure Cambodia will be able to do this, because the tourists are so much interested in the ancient culture of Cambodia.

With meditation our mind can radiate with positivity. So this is very precious.


The heart always longs for old. What do we take pride in? We take pride in old friendships. We say, 'This is my old friend', because the heart wants old, but the mind wants what's new; latest technology, latest fashion is the run of the mind. And we need that, but at the same time we should not forget the heart.
Today I went to visit the palace. They were showing me all the ancient things there. There is a pride to own something old, something ancient!
So the youth need to have has both: the old family values and ethics, and at the same time, progress in technology, science, innovation, business, etc. So I wish for the business community here to inspire the young people to become entrepreneurs without losing the ethics.
Young people want to do business and make quick money and don't want to care about ethics. But I tell you, we must tell them about those people who have risen like that and have fallen very quickly. If you don't follow ethics in business, the fall will be very sharp and very hard. So I would like to remind the business community and the young entrepreneurs of this.

I am sure all of you are engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR activity). If not, you must all engage in some CSR activity. Start schools and educate children. This is something we all must do, contribute to the education of the population.
Education is not just information, it is building character. It is building a personality. Venerable monks are present here, I am sure they would all agree with me that we need to create values, ethics, and dharma.
So every day, a little bit of breathing exercise to calm down the mind and also meditation twice a day will enable you to live a life which is full of joy, happiness, compassion, love and divinity.

Education is not just information, it is building character. It is building a personality.


Three things are important:
1. Clarity in the mind
2. Purity in the heart and
3. Sincerity in action
This is the essence of dharma, and this is what Lord Buddha taught. When Buddha walked in India, in those days, people were highly intellectual. They knew about God, they knew about everything but only intellectually. So what Lord Buddha said, 'I have a simple technique for you. Sit and watch your breath, watch your body, watch the sensations in the body and reach to your true nature'. This is what was taught (in essence meditation), and meditation is the essence of Vedanta as well.
The whole Vedic literature talks about one thing, find that divinity inside of you, that is Vedanta. Actually Advaita, Vedanta and Buddhism are the same, but seen differently.

So the children of this country deserve this. What do they deserve? A violence free society, a disease free body, a confusion free mind, an inhibition free intellect, a trauma free memory, and a sorrow free soul. Let us all work towards making it a reality, and that is what Art of Living is committed to doing. All the best to everyone of you.

With these few words I wish you all a prosperous, happy and enlightened life. May you all be blessed with good health and a good heart to serve humanity!

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