Ethics For The New Millennium

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9780743506311: Ethics For The New Millennium

Only during a time when we have so little faith in one another, so little confidence in the willingness of others to do what is right, can a strong voice emerge to dispel disillusionment and show us hope. It takes a person of great courage, such as the Dalai Lama, to face these times and say there is hope.

There is an argument to be made for basic human goodness. The number of people who spend their lives being violent or dishonest is tiny compared with the number of people -- the vast majority we don't hear about -- who would wish others only well. According to the Dalai Lama, our survival has depended and will depend on our basic goodness. "Much more effective and important than legislation is our regard for one another's feelings at a simple human level...Here, I refer to the capacity we all have to empathize with one another...to arrive at the inability to bear the sight of another's suffering." The Dalai Lama presents an ethical system that not only is based on common sense and reason, as opposed to religious dogma or punitive legislation, but has as its goal ultimate happiness for every individual.

The Dalai Lama demonstrates that human beings are better than we think we are, and that a society and a life that cultivate love and compassion are completely within our reach. If enough people operate from the understanding of their "original purity," a global revolution of peace will ensue.

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Review:

In a modern society characterized by insensitivity to violence, ambivalence to the suffering of others, and a high-octane profit motive, is talk of ethics anything more than a temporary salve for our collective conscience? The Dalai Lama thinks so. In his Ethics for the New Millennium, the exiled leader of the Tibetan people shows how the basic concerns of all people--happiness based in contentment, appeasement of suffering, forging meaningful relationships--can act as the foundation for a universal ethics.

His medicine isn't always easy to swallow, however, for it demands of the reader more than memorizing precepts or positing hypothetical dilemmas. The Nobel Peace laureate invites us to recognize certain basic facts of existence, such as the interdependence of all things, and from these to recalibrate our hearts and minds, to approach all of our actions in their light. Nothing short of an inner revolution will do. Basic work is required in nurturing our innate tendencies to compassion, tolerance, and generosity. And at the same time, "we need to think, think, think ... like a scientist," reasoning out the best ways to act from a principle of universal responsibility. Like a merging of the care and compassion of Jesus, the cool rationality of the Stoics, the moral program of Ben Franklin, and the psychology of William James, Ethics for the New Millennium is a plea for basic goodness, a blueprint for world peace. --Brian Bruya

About the Author:

HH the Dalai Lama, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and both temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, is one of the most beloved spiritual figures alive. He has written numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller The Art of Happiness. The Dalai Lama travels the world speaking on peace, giving Buddhist teachings, and meeting with political leaders. He resides in Dharamsala, India, as the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

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Dalai Lama, His Holiness the, Norman, Al
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Dalai Lama, His Holiness the, Norman, Al
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