"I would regard a compassionate, warm, kindhearted person as healthy." [page 40] "I liked the fact that rather than classifying mental states, emotions, or desires on the basis of some externally imposed moral judgment such as 'Greed is a sin' or 'Hatred is evil,' he categorizes emotions as positive or negative simply on the basis of whether they lead to our ultimate happiness." [page 41] I wonder if we could define the health of a culture based on whether an individual's ultimate happiness in the culture is found in a life lived according to the culture's moral code. Compare Chekhov's Gooseberries, in which a man achieves his goal of happiness by living a life that is small-minded and self-centered.
"Achieving genuine happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook, your way of thinking, and this is not a simple matter. ... There are a lot of negative mental traits, so you need to address and counteract each one of these. That isn't easy. It requires repeated application of various techniques and taking the time to familiarize yourself with the practices. It is a process of learning." [pages 41-42]
"The practice of Dharma is a constant battle within, replacing previous negative conditioning or habituation with new positive conditioning. ... Through training we can change; we can transform ourselves." [page 43]
"If I receive some tragic news, at that moment I may experience some disturbance within my mind, but it goes very quickly. Or I may become irritated and develop some anger, but again, it dissipates very quickly. There is no effect on the deeper mind. No hatred. This was achieved through gradual practice; it didn't happen overnight." [page 44] Cutler points out the recent theories of the plasticity of the brain supports the idea that fundamental changes in patterns of thought and reaction are possible.
"If these wholesome behaviors naturally lead to happiness and we want happiness, shouldn't that occur as a natural process? Why should we need so much education, training, and discipline for that process to occur?" [pages 47-48] Dalai Lama replies that our academic education process is arduous, but we don't doubt that it contributes to a happy life. "Although I personally believe that our human nature is fundamentally gentle and compassionate, I feel that it is not enough that this is our underlying nature; we must also develop an awareness of that fact. And changing how we perceive ourselves, through learning and understanding, can have a very real impact on how we interact with others and how we conduct our daily lives." [pages 48-49] "One problem with our current society is that we have an attitude towards education as if it is there simply to make you more clever. ... The most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our education and our knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart." [pages 50-51]