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Teachers: H.H. The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal Leader of the Tibetan people. He was born on July 6, 1935, in a small village called Taktser, in north eastern Tibet. Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wish-fulfilling Gem or simply Kundun, meaning The Presence.

The Dalai Lama began his education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctrate of Buddhist Philosophy) when He was 25. In 1950, when He was only 16, he was called upon to assume full political power when Tibet was threatened by the might of China. In 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced into exile in India after the Chinese military occupation of Tibet. Since that time, he has been residing in Dharamsala, North India, the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless work for Tibet. During his travels abroad, the Dalai Lama has made numerous appearances in interfaith services, imparting the message of universal responsibility, love, compassion and kindness. "The need for simple human to human relationship is becoming increasingly urgent.... Today the world is smaller and more interdependent. One nation's problems can no longer be solved by itself completely. Thus, without a sense of universal responsibility, our very survival becomes threatened. Basically, universal responsibility is feeling for other people's suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our enemy is entirely motivated by the guest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing that we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration".

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The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

With Howard Cutler

Why are so many people unhappy? How can I abjure loneliness? How can we reduce conflict? Is romantic love true love? Why do we suffer? How should we deal with unfairness and anger? How do you handle the death of a loved one? These are the conundrums that psychiatrist Howard Cutler poses to the Dalai Lama during an extended period of interviews in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living.

Howard Cutler develops the Dalai Lama's answers in the context of scientific studies and cases from his own practice, substantiating and elaborating on what he finds to be a revolutionary psychology. Like any art, the art of happiness requires study and practice--and the talent for it, the Dalai Lama assures us, is in our nature. --Brian Bruya

Listen to an audio sample online in MP3 format—click here.

Ethics for the New Millenium

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.

The Universe in a Single Atom

Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr, Einstein. Their insights shook our perception of who we are and where we stand in the world, and in their wake have left an uneasy coexistence: science vs. religion, faith vs. empirical inquiry. Which is the keeper of truth? Which is the true path to understanding reality?

After forty years of study with some of the greatest scientific minds, as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual, and philosophic study, the Dalai Lama presents a brilliant analysis of why all avenues of inquiry—scientific as well as spiritual—must be pursued in order to arrive at a complete picture of the truth. Through an examination of Darwinism and karma, quantum mechanics and philosophical insight into the nature of reality, neurobiology and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws significant parallels between contemplative and scientific examinations of reality.

This breathtakingly personal examination is a tribute to the Dalai Lama’s teachers—both of science and spirituality. The legacy of this book is a vision of the world in which our different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe, and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.

Healing Anger

Buddhist traditions unanimously state that compassion and love are the foundation of all paths of practice. To cultivate the potential for compassion and love inherent within us, it is crucial to counteract their opposing forces of anger and hatred. The Dalai Lama shows how patience and tolerance overcome the obstacles of anger and hatred. His Holiness presents the practice of the Six Perfections, the central role of bodhichitta, the twelve links of dependent origination, and offers a clear road map for the practitioner to achieve the goal of liberation. The techniques and methods are relevant for everyone—the Dalai Lama shows the power that patience and tolerance have to heal anger and to generate peace in the world.

How to Practice

An urge comes up, we succumb to it, and it becomes stronger. We reinforce our cravings, habits, and addictions by giving in to them repeatedly. Pema Chödrön guides us through this "sticky feeling" and offers us tools for learning to stay with our uneasiness, soften our hearts toward others, and ourselves and live a more peaceful life in the fullness of the present moment.

Audio CD

Essence of the Heart Sutra

A wonderful resource for studying and understanding one of Buddhism's seminal and best-known texts, the Heart Sutra. Masterfully translated and edited by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, this volume comprises the Dalai Lama's famous Heart of Wisdom teachings of 2001, including an overview of Buddhism, background material, as well as commentary on the text. The Heart Sutra is a presentation of profound wisdom on the nature of emptiness and selflessness, but these terms can be easily misunderstood. The Dalai Lama identifies misconceptions an shows how an understanding of emptiness leads not to nihilism, but to a view of reality and to a deep and compassionate understanding.

Live a Better Way

This series of lectures is good examples of how the Dalai Lama must be supremely accessible in thought and speech, and yet must also articulate the more abstract philosophical underpinnings of Buddhism as a "science of the mind." Within each chapter both aspects are in evidence. For example, in "A Journey to Happiness" we read the clear directive, "Some people feel that compassion, love and forgiveness are religious matters. This is wrong. Love and compassion are imperative. There is no way we can ignore these things, whether one is a believer or not." Near the end of the same chapter the thinking takes one of its abstruse turns: "In Maha-Anuttara Yoga Tantrayana, one unique practice is making a distinction among the gross, subtle, and innermost subtle levels of mind." The book's ultimate message of happiness through compassion is a vital one, but this collection is geared for the adept with a philosophical appetite and a considerable intellect, not for the general reader.

Audio CD