Dalai Lama explains why legacy is 'not important' to him during exclusive interview

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Dalai Lama Explains Why Legacy Is 'Not Important' To Him

KTLA - 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.

SEE: Photos celebrating the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday:

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Dalai Lama's 80th Birthday
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Dalai Lama explains why legacy is 'not important' to him during exclusive interview
A Tibetan in-exile living in Nepal looks on during an event to mark the 80th birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the Namgyal School in Kathmandu on July 6, 2015. Thousands of Tibetans gathered to mark the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday. AFP PHOTO/Prakash MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
Exiled Tibetan school children throw flowers in the air as they sing a birthday song to celebrate their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama's' 80th birthday in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Tibetan men perform a dance during celebrations to mark the 80th birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, July 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Exiled Tibetan school children wearing traditional costumes sing at a gathering to celebrate their spiritual leader's 80th birthday in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
A woman sings as Tibetans celebrate the 80th birthday of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, July 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Exiled Tibetan monks toss barley in the air at a gathering to celebrate their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama's, 80th birthday in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Exiled Tibetans are given sweets as they celebrate the 80th birthday of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Dharmsala, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Exiled Tibetan school children wearing traditional costumes dance at a gathering to celebrate their spiritual leader's 80th birthday in Dharmsala, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
A Tibetan monk offers prayers to mark the 80th birthday of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama will celebrate his 80th birthday this weekend in southern California. Hundreds of well-wishers are expected at a three-day Global Compassion Summit to mark the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's big day, with events Sunday through Tuesday at Anaheim's Honda Center and the University of California, Irvine. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
An exiled Tibetan government official pays his respect to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, as Tibetans gather to celebrate his 80th birthday in Dharmsala, India, Monday, July 6, 2015. The Dalai Lama was born on July 6 according to the Gregorian calendar, in the eastern Tibetan region of Amdo in 1935. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
The Dalai Lama, left, joined by oceanographer Walter Munk, center, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., second from right and professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, laughs as he accepts a framed picture of Sirsoe dalailamai, a newly found ocean species named in his honor on his 80th birthday at the Global Compassion Summit at UC Irvine, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Irvine, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The Dalai Lama gestures to the crowd as he arrives to speak at the Global Compassion Summit at UC Irvine, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Irvine, Calif. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader celebrated his 80th birthday at the summit. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
KATHMANDU, NEPAL JULY 6 : Tibetan children plays with the bubbles during the function organized to mark the 80th birthday of their spiritual leader 14th Dalai Lama in Kathmandu, July 6, 2015. (Photo by Sunil Pradhan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Tibetan children sing a Tibetan song during the celebration of Dalai Lama's 80th birthday in New Delhi on July 6, 2015. Fellow Nobel Peace laureates joined thousands of followers of the Dalai Lama July 5 to celebrate the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday, kicking off a three-day honorary bash in California. AFP PHOTO/PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
A young exiled Tibetan Buddhist monk looks on during an event to mark the 80th birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the Namgyal School in Kathmandu on July 6, 2015. Thousands of Tibetans gathered to mark the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday. AFP PHOTO/Prakash MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
The Dalai Lama gestures while addressing the audience at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, on July 5, 2015 , where the religious leader celebrated his 80th birthday with a speech on awakening compassion. A three-day celebration marking the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday kicked off, as thousands of supporters -- and some protesters -- gathered in Anaheim, California to hear the spiritual leader speak. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
The Dalai Lama gestures on arrival at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, on July 5, 2015 , where the religious leader celebrated his 80th birthday with a speech on awakening compassion. A three-day celebration marking the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday kicked off, as thousands of supporters -- and some protesters -- gathered in Anaheim, California to hear the spiritual leader speak. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
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