Books by Dalai Lama

Released: Jan. 1, 2013

"Although readers may not be able to spend five hours a day in meditation and prayer like the Dalai Lama, they will come away with a better sense of the importance of communication, forgiveness and empathy, regardless of the circumstances."
Tales of kindness and understanding from the Dalai Lama. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 6, 2011

"An impressive guide for teaching religious tolerance and respect to readers of all ages."
The Dalai Lama (A Profound Mind: Cultivating Wisdom in Everyday Life, 2011, etc.) proposes an ethical approach to a happier existence that transcends religion. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 12, 2001

"The Dalai Lama's devotees will no doubt be thrilled by this new offering; others may wonder what distinguishes His Holiness from Robert Fulghum."
Familiar wisdom from the Dalai Lama: a collection of lectures that His Holiness (The Path to Tranquility, 1999, etc.) has delivered in recent years.Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 1999

A mezzo-mezzo book from the Dalai Lama (Ethics for the New Millennium, p. 1044). This collection of excerpts from the the Tibetan leader's writings and speeches is organized like Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much—the reader is encouraged to meditate on a different snippet each day. The excerpts range from a description of a Calcutta hospital to a cautionary note about marriage, from a pronouncement that the media should worry more about the common good than ratings to musings on generosity. The Dalai Lama combats the deconstructionists, asserting that whenever one reads a book, one must consider the context in which the author wrote it. He trots out the cliché that "there is nothing like teaching to help one learn" and suggests that, in order to change the world, one should start with changing one's own behavior. One wishes for a more heavy-handed editor. The readings seem thrown together randomly, and too many of the selections are utterly banal. Do we really need to spend May 12 reflecting on the fact that when the Dalai Lama loses his temper with someone, he later apologizes? Dip into this book, but don't make it your daily companion for a year. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 2, 1999

This call to compassionate ethics fuses 1990s universalism with the Golden Rule. The Dalai Lama (Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama, 1990) bemoans the apparent erosion of ethical behavior around the world. People have embraced materialism, foolishly thinking that possessions will make them happy; they have turned to violence (both physical and ideological) because they no longer feel connected to one another. He calls for an ethic based on human interconnection. When we truly experience one another's pain, we learn compassion, which is the basis of morality. The exiled Tibetan leader is oh-so-careful to distinguish religion from spirituality; religion may or may not encompass the value of compassion, while spirituality always must. True happiness is based on an inner peace which is unperturbed by circumstance; such peace is only attained "when our actions are motivated by a concern for others." We need discipline to look beyond ourselves and past the fleeting pleasures of immediate gratification, toward a more rewarding (and permanent) quiet joy. And although we try mightily to avoid suffering, pain can engender the empathy which unites us with others and makes morality possible. As His Holiness himself says, very little in this book is original. But his message is so often neglected that it sounds very fresh indeed. Simple but not simplistic. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1996

French film writer Carriäre (The Return of Martin Guerre, etc.) does most of the talking in this set of conversations with Tibet's world-acclaimed religious leader. Contemporary issues, rather than the finer points of Tantric doctrine and practice, are the subject of these interviews, which took place near Dharamsala in northern India in February 1993. In response to Carriäre's promptings, the Dalai Lama speaks on such themes as the environment, nonretaliation, and how the Buddhist doctrines of interdependence and compassion harmonize with the findings of quantum theory. The Dalai Lama explains his Five Point Peace Plan for an autonomous, if not independent, Tibet, and he endorses birth control in the Third World as a necessity on account of the population explosion, while maintaining that it is ``pernicious'' on the individual level because of the supreme worth of human life in the cycle of rebirth. We are urged to find the inner nature of our minds: The view of the world as essentially competitive is false and ``eliminates any descent into the self, any meditation, and any reflection.'' Carriäre offers some useful background information on Buddhism, but he allows his personality and preoccupations to dominate and tends to railroad the Dalai Lama's profoundly dialectical outlook into his own issues: for example, his facile dismissal of Judaism and Christianity and his open contempt for John Paul II. When he cannot do this, Carriäre is not above patronizing his host, e.g., for holding unenlightened views on sexuality (``On that point he has nothing new to offer us'') and believing in reincarnation. Admirers of the Dalai Lama should not feel they have to add this to their collection. Read full book review >