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Dalai Lama Explains Why Legacy Is ‘Not Important’ to Him During Exclusive Interview

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While the 14th Dalai Lama celebrated his 80th birthday in Orange County at a festive three-day event, he also gave KTLA an exclusive interview on Tuesday, stating his legacy is “not important” and touching on his thoughts on climate change and same-sex marriage.

On the final day of the Global Compassion Summit, the Dalai Lama said Tuesday that Buddhist monks should not think about their legacy.

“That is not important. Important is, why are you alive?” the Dalai Lama said. “You should be something useful to others, you should not create problems for others. That’s important.”

The 14th Dalai Lama, also known as Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet and has lived in northern India since being forced to escape exile in 1959.

Since becoming the Dalai Lama in 1950, he has taught about what he says is truly important - compassion, which begins with self-love.

“Self-love is very important. Without that, impossible to extend to others,” the Dalai Lama said.

Even those who have self-hate can learn to love themselves, he believes.

“Underneath, they very much love one’s self,” he said.

In regards to climate change, a topic he spoke about during a lecture at UC Irvine on his birthday Monday, the Dalai Lama said he believes it is an impending crisis.

“Oh yes, of course. Actually, due to global warming major disasters already started,” he said.

When asked about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S., the Dalai Lama said it is up to the individuals to form their own opinion based on their own beliefs and faith.

Regarding his biggest influencers, the Dalai Lama said it was a difficult question to answer, but named several people, including Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

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