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All You Ever Wanted To Know From His Holiness The Dalai Lama On Happiness, Life Living, and Much More : Conversations with Rajiv Mehrotra
Conversations with Rajiv Mehrotra
His Holiness the Dalai Lama describes himself as "a simple Buddhist monk." However, to millions of people around the world, he embodies the highest human aspiration: to be happy. His messages of compassion, altruism, and peace are articulated in a unique secular ethic for our times and supported with techniques and practices that can help us achieve these ideals.
He is the Dalai Lama--or simply, His Holiness--the epitome of the Buddhist model of loving-kindness and an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion and mercy. Evoking global respect and admiration, he is both a prophet and a statesman for our troubled times, yet he's intensely human and accessible. He's an inspiration to millions, yet many feel as if he touches and speaks to them personally. He is a Buddhist but belongs to all humanity. His Holiness is one of the most recognizable--and recognized--faces in the free world.
This remarkable book is an edited compilation of mostly personal conversations spanning nearly 20 years between the Dalai Lama and Rajiv Mehrotra, one of his early disciples who's now the trustee and secretary of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, which was established with the funds from the Nobel Peace Prize. Here, the Dalai Lama is a teacher to a spiritual aspirant; a divine master and a temporal leader; an ambassador for Tibet and a lovable guru-philosopher to the whole world; a practitioner of the 2,500-year-old teachings of Buddhism; a Tibetan Buddhist and an interfaith ambassador; and an intense practitioner of mind-training and an inveterate optimist. His multiple hats may appear contradictory at times, but he balances them all, living his life with ease and happiness.
Within these pages, the Dalai Lama's disarming candor, his deep empathy for his student's quest, and his wisdom--garnered not just from texts and scriptures, but also from an active engagement with life--offer invaluable insights to us all on how we may find true happiness in our lives.
A longtime student of the Dalai Lama, Mehrotra has collected more than 25 years of his interviews with the Tibetan spiritual and political leader. The discourses on happiness, compassion and the commonalities among religions, edited from notes and transcripts, cover ground familiar to those acquainted with the Dalai Lama's prolific output, but the general reader may be disoriented by the spiritual master's in-depth exploration of complex Buddhist concepts about phenomena, consciousness and shunyata (emptiness). The author, an Indian public television talk show host and secretary/trustee of His Holiness' Foundation for Universal Responsibility, has edited several previous books on the Dalai Lama and is able to ask detailed, sometimes esoteric questions about Buddhist ideas and practice. The responses reflect the Dalai Lama's longstanding interest in the intersection between Buddhism and scientific inquiry as well as his knowledge of the various Mahayana philosophical schools. While this book may not always be accessible to beginning students of Buddhism, frank reflections after the spring 2008 protests in Tibet and elsewhere update readers on the current thinking of this Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Despite the promise of simplicity made by the title, most readers interested in the Dalai Lama's thoughts would be better served reading his own books. (Feb.)
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January 31, 2009
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