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review 2017-12-30 15:00
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 10 - World Peace Day: Words of Wisdom
The Power of Compassion: A Collection of Lectures by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama - Dalai Lama XIV,Derek Jacobi

The Dalai Lama speaks about the Four Noble Truths, maximizing your inner strength, dealing with anger and death, the power of compassion, the challenges facing humanity today (including globalization, warfare, environmental protection, overpopulation), and the great world religions' core tenets (as oppposed to their elements that primarily responded to the needs of the historic societies in which they emerged).  As we're about to begin another new year, a perfect reminder of what matters (or should matter) to us -- and what doesn't -- and simple small things that each of us can implement in our own lives every day ... and short of His Holiness himself (who didn't originally set down these texts in English), there couldn't be any better person to read his words than Sir Derek Jacobi.



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text 2017-12-23 21:02
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #10: World Peace Day
The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom - Dalai Lama XIV

Book themes for World Peace Day: Read a book by or about a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or about a protagonist (fictional or nonfictional) who has a reputation as a peacemaker.


This is a re-read. It is one of those books that I like to dig out every now and then to re-visit and ponder over. The fact that it qualifies for one of the book tasks is an additional bonus.


From the Foreword:


The Book of Wisdom is an extract from the earlier publication of Power of Compassion – teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama given in May 1993 in London.

It is hoped that this extract – The Book of Wisdom – will bring His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message about the importance of love, compassion and forgiveness to a wider audience.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. In 1989 His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. Since 1959 His Holiness has been living in exile in India. Tibet continues to be occupied by Communist China.


The Office of Tibet, London

September 1999



Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is of no use, then you can discard it.

- His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama


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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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