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review 2017-09-10 04:39
The Book of Joy
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World - Douglas Carlton Abrams,Desmond Tutu,Dalai Lama XIV

In 2015, Archbishop Desmond Tutu travelled to Daramsala for a week of conversations with the Dalai Lama on the topic of Joy and to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday.  The Archbishop and the Dalai Lama articulated 8 pillars to finding Joy in a sorrow-filled world: Perspective, Humility, Humor, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion, and Generosity. They discussed each topic and answered questions submitted by members of the public. The public conversations were facilitated by Douglas Abrams, video recorded (excerpts are available on YouTube), and summarized in The Book of Joy.  I randomly grabbed the audiobook off the new-book shelf because it looked interesting.


All too often when I listen to the Rabbi’s talk about the weekly Torah portion during services or when I listen to a TED talk, I go “that’s interesting, I’d like to think about it more” but if you asked me the main points later in the day, I couldn’t tell you.  I feel much the same way about The Book of Joy.  The discussions about how to achieve Joy in the face of both individual and world-level suffering were interesting, but it would take a lot more study for me to retain more than the broadest outlines of what was discussed.


The producers of the Audiobook made the decision to have separate narrators for each person speaking.  Douglas Abrams narrated his own role, and distinctive voices spoke for the Dalai Lama and Archbishop.  While I appreciated the ease of knowing who was talking, after watching a few video clips of the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama, I didn’t like that they picked readers with even stronger accents than the men themselves.  I also thought that Mr. Abrams was too blatantly adulatory and spent a bit too long dwelling on his own role in the dialogs rather than getting out of the way and letting the two stars speak for themselves. 


If you have a casual interest, I recommend looking for the videos of the meeting between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu or videos of other panel discussions with the two men.  If you are interested in a deeper understanding, plan to devote time to studying The Book of Joy and exploring the suggested meditations and exercises rather than just reading it.


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text 2017-03-03 20:59
What's waiting at the Library!
Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie
Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama - Dalai Lama XIV
Survivors: The Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind. Richard Fortey - Richard Fortey
Hot Lead, Cold Iron: A Mick Oberon Job Book 1 by Marmell, Ari (2014) Paperback - Ari Marmell
My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel - Elizabeth Strout
Trapped - Kevin Hearne


Yay!  Plenty of good stuff to read.


Have a wonderful weekend!

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review 2017-02-02 15:49
The Book of Joy
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World - Douglas Carlton Abrams,Desmond Tutu,Dalai Lama XIV

I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this novel. I had intended to savor this novel, to read it slowly and reflect upon different sections as I read it but no, I couldn’t stop myself. Once I started reading, I was immersed into this wonderful reunion in which these two powerful individuals talked openly about humanity, they shared of themselves and the world around them.


The reunion was held in the home of Dalai Lama and during their visit they also celebrated his 80th birthday. These two highly influential men have met a handful of times before and they were meeting for five days to discuss what true joy was, how to achieve it and what the Eight Pillars of Joy were. I enjoyed this novel tremendously, I enjoyed the humor and the tenderness that they shared between them. The way they joked with one another, the patting of each other after a humorous chuckle, the holding of each other’s hands and just waiting for the other person to speak, spoke volumes for the love and respect that they had for one another. It is a treasured friendship, one that is picked up immediately upon seeing one another and it brought smiles and laughs from the individuals that they were around including myself as I read. What I read intrigued me and enlightened me and I know that I will have to reread this novel to fully appreciate it.


The reason this novel is so important now is that the world is hurting, in every part of the globe there are individuals who are struggling and need to find joy. There is no need for sorrow, they both agree on this. They both agree that individuals need each other to find joy and the concept behind joy. These great leaders go into great details, humorous at times, about these concepts and it was interesting, their ideas and the stories that they share, both personal and about others. Douglas probes them deeper into their thoughts about humanity exploring issues such as sadness, acceptance, gratitude, compassion and humility. There were lots of different subjects, stories and these leaders shared their views openly and I appreciated Douglas’ effort and the heartfelt responses that he received in return.


My eyes started to cloud over, the tears streaming down my cheeks as the Archbishop gets ready to depart for the airport. Their time together is over for now. The jokes, the hand holding and the way that they smiled at one another is coming to an end. They are both fighting for peace, they are both getting up there in years, one is battling an illness, and one is restricted in where he can travel, who knows if they will ever see each other in-person again and they know this. This is a novel that should be read, one that should be reflected upon for there are many inspirations and views inside.

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text 2016-10-12 14:41
The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie $1.99
The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Power of Meow by Michie, David (June 16, 2015) Paperback - David Michie

Not so much fly-on-the-wall as cat-on-the-sill, this is the warmhearted tale of a small kitten rescued from the slums of New Delhi who finds herself in a beautiful sanctuary with sweeping views of the snow-capped Himalayas. In her exotic new home, the Dalai Lama’s cat encounters Hollywood stars, Buddhist masters, Ivy-league professors, famous philanthropists, and a host of other people who come visiting His Holiness. Each encounter offers a fresh insight into finding happiness and meaning in the midst of a life of busy-ness and challenge. Drawing us into her world with her adorable but all-too-flawed personality, the Dalai Lama’s cat discovers how instead of trying to change the world, changing the way we experience the world is the key to true contentment.

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text 2016-06-24 00:46
The message is love

I saw the Dalai Lama speak in Boulder, Colorado this morning. I couldn’t hear well and it seemed like every time he made an important point I only heard the grinding of an ice machine in the concession stand. Even so, I feel fortunate and grateful that I was able to attend.

Before he began, the city of Boulder presented him with a bicycle helmet—an appropriate gift for that college town. He put the helmet on, then he said it could represent protection against affliction on one’s life journey.

He spoke both in English and Tibetan (through his interpreter), and impressed me as both erudite and humble, both knowledgeable and inquisitive. He urged his fellow believers to practice a 21st century Buddhism, rather than one appropriate to the past—a very contemporary idea from a man born 81 years ago.

I won’t be lengthy and conclude with these words which I hope I took down correctly, “It is very important to understand that all world religions have the same message, and that is love.”

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