The Dalai Lama The Meaning of Life

ISBN 13: 9780861711734

The Meaning of Life

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9780861711734: The Meaning of Life
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Using the traditional Buddhist allegorical image of the Wheel of Life and the teaching of the twelve links of dependent origination, the Dalai Lama deftly illustrates how our existence, though fleeting and often full of woes, brims with the potential for peace and happiness. We can realize that potential by cultivating a wise appreciation of the interdependency of actions and experience, and by living a kind and compassionate life. A life thus lived, the Dalai Lama teaches, becomes thoroughly meaningful for both oneself and for others.

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Review:

The Dalai Lama never shies away from the big questions. The Meaning of Life is a collection of lectures given in London in 1984 on the Buddhist worldview, before he had won the Nobel Peace Prize or become a bestselling author in English. Still, his message is essentially the same: practice nonviolence, cultivate altruism, and transform consciousness. In these lectures, the Dalai Lama begins with a painting of the wheel of cyclic existence, depicting the levels of karmic existence and symbols of the 12 links of dependent-arising. In other words, this painting, presented in seven color plates, is a visual summation of the basic tenets of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama draws on the painting to explain the 12 links of dependent-arising and then the path that leads to liberation from them. A nuts and bolts book, readers will enjoy it for its detail and for the broad range of questions elicited in listeners. --Brian Bruya

About 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.

Jeffrey Hopkins is Professor Emeritus of Tibetan Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia, where he taught Tibetan Studies and Tibetan language for more than thirty years. He received a BA magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1963, trained for five years at the Lamaist Buddhist Monastery of America (now the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center) in New Jersey, and received a PhD in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973. From 1979 to 1989 he served as His Holiness the Dalai Lama's chief interpreter into English on lecture tours in the U.S., Canada, Southeast Asia, Great Britain, and Switzerland. He has published more than twenty-five books, including Meditation on Emptiness, a seminal work of English language scholarship on Tibetan Madhyamaka thought, as well as translations of works by Tsongkhapa, Dolpopa, and His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. At the University of Virginia he founded programs in Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Studies and served as Director of the Center for South Asian Studies for twelve years.

Richard Gere is an internationally renowned film actor, social activist, and philanthropist. Gere was the Co-Founder and Chairman of Tibet House and joined the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet to more effectively engage both national and international forums of influence. He founded the Gere Foundation in 1991. It is the mission of the Gere Foundation to alleviate suffering and advocate for the people of Tibet. As a small grant-giving organization, the Foundation supports groups which are dedicated to the cultural preservation of Tibet, to providing HIV/AIDS care, research, and treatment, and to those organizations addressing human rights violations throughout the world.

Richard Gere is an internationally renowned film actor, social activist, and philanthropist. Gere was the Co-Founder and Chairman of Tibet House and joined the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet to more effectively engage both national and international forums of influence. He founded the Gere Foundation in 1991. It is the mission of the Gere Foundation to alleviate suffering and advocate for the people of Tibet. As a small grant-giving organization, the Foundation supports groups which are dedicated to the cultural preservation of Tibet, to providing HIV/AIDS care, research, and treatment, and to those organizations addressing human rights violations throughout the world.

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