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The Compassionate Life

Overview

"The key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion." —His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Giving and receiving affection is the key to happiness, and compassion is the key that opens our hearts to affection. Illuminating themes touched upon in The Good Heart and The Art of Happiness, this generous and gentle book contains some of the most beloved teachings on compassion that the Dalai Lama has ever offered. Touching and transformative, The Compassionate Life is a personal invitation from one of ...

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The Compassionate Life

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Overview

"The key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion." —His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Giving and receiving affection is the key to happiness, and compassion is the key that opens our hearts to affection. Illuminating themes touched upon in The Good Heart and The Art of Happiness, this generous and gentle book contains some of the most beloved teachings on compassion that the Dalai Lama has ever offered. Touching and transformative, The Compassionate Life is a personal invitation from one of the world's most gifted teachers to live a life of happiness, joy, and true prosperity.

Collected here for the first time are four of the Dalai Lama's most accessible and inspiring teachings on compassion. The purpose of life is to be happy, His Holiness reminds us. To be happy, we should devote ourselves to developing our own peace of mind; the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own peace of mind. Therefore, we must develop compassion for others in order to be truly happy.

In these four teachings—imbued with the gentle humor and extraordinary kindness of this incomparable teacher—His Holiness explores altruism and the need for compassion on an individual as well as a global scale. He offers specific practices for developing loving-kindness and compassion in even the most difficult situations.

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Editorial Reviews

Cambridge's Harvard Bookstore (Bookseller of the Year 2002)
"This generous and gentle book contains some of the most beloved teachings on compassion that the Dalai Lama has ever offered— a personal invitation to happiness from the Nobel Peace Prize-winner himself."
Jon Kabat-Zinn
"Into this deceptively simple little book, the Dalai Lama has poured the goodness of his own heart and the distilled wisdom of lifetimes of work and teachings aimed at refining heart and mind. It is all here, everything we need to enact in our own lives, even in the most trying of times, if we are to realize our own beauty and that of others, and the possibilities of true happiness and peacefulness in this very life, right here and right now. This sorely needed prescription for sanity and kindness in the world is unbelievably simple and unbelievably important, and therefore a practice worthy of our wholehearted commitment."
Melvin McLeod
"The Dalai Lama argues convincingly that putting others before ourselves is the key to both a happier life and a better society, and offers proven Buddhist techniques for how we can cultivate the mind of compassion and equanimity."
Spirituality and Health
"A cogent and edifying little book about the art of cultivating compassion....In addition to his commentary on several passages from Eight Verses for Training the Mind by Langri Tangpa, the Dalai Lama also presents his spiritual readings on the ideas of global demilitarization and defense systems designed to insure protection against attack by enemies. All of this substantive material results in a deep and practical vision of the compassionate life."
Publishers Weekly
While similar in content and approach to another fall title by the Dalai Lama (Little, Brown's An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life), some things clearly bear repeating. His Holiness begins the book quite generally, reflecting on human interdependence and the need for "compassion without attachment" (i.e., compassion that is genuinely altruistic and not generated by one's own desires). He expounds upon the need for compassion on an individual level, as people learn to control anger and self-centeredness and think of others, and also on a global one, as nations recognize their mutual reliance and need for conflict resolution. He calls for compassion in addressing religious pluralism, noting that a brave new world of interdependence will rely upon compassion as "the universal religion" that undergirds all faiths. From such generalities the Dalai Lama moves toward the specifics of Buddhism, a religion that he notes is grounded in compassion. He offers a brief chapter on the basics of Buddhist beliefs and practices, then another on "The Bodhisattva Way," quoting extensively from the eighth-century Indian master Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life to explain how Buddhism places a high premium on the happiness of others. The book is simple but not simplistic; His Holiness clearly understands the difficulties of practicing the truths he espouses, occasionally criticizing himself as "lazy" or easily irritated. Readers will enjoy this gentle, lucid call to the compassionate life. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861713783
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 7/10/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 626,081
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 7.52 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet's capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong's Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. He passed his scholastic examinations with honors at the Great Prayer Festival in Lhasa in 1959, the same year Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives.

His Holiness frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of interreligious harmony, and securing the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the survival of their identity, culture, and religion. As a superior scholar trained in the classical texts of the Nalanda tradition of Indian Buddhism, he is able to distill the central tenets of Buddhist philosophy in clear and inspiring language, his gift for pedagogy imbued with his infectious joy. Connecting scientists with Buddhist scholars, he helps unite contemplative and modern modes of investigation, bringing ancient tools and insights to bear on the acute problems facing the contemporary world. His efforts to foster dialogue among leaders of the world's faiths envision a future where people of different beliefs can share the planet in harmony. Wisdom Publications is proud to be the premier publisher of the Dalai Lama's more serious and in-depth works.

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