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An unprecedented event: a beloved world religious leader proposes a way to lead an ethical, happy, and spiritual life beyond religion and offers a program of mental training for cultivating key human valuesTen years ago, in his best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religiousAn unprecedented event: a beloved world religious leader proposes a way to lead an ethical, happy, and spiritual life beyond religion and offers a program of mental training for cultivating key human valuesTen years ago, in his best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles. Now, in Beyond Religion, the Dalai Lama, at his most compassionate and outspoken, elaborates and deepens his vision for the nonreligious way. Transcending the mere “religion wars,” he outlines a system of ethics for our shared world, one that gives full respect to religion. With the highest level of spiritual and intellectual authority, the Dalai Lama makes a stirring appeal for what he calls a “third way,” a path to an ethical and happy life and to a global human community based on understanding and mutual respect. Beyond Religion is an essential statement from the Dalai Lama, a blueprint for all those who may choose not to identify with a religious tradition, yet still yearn for a life of spiritual fulfillment as they work for a better world....

Title : Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World
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ISBN : 9780547636351
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
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Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World Reviews

  • Barry Graham
    2019-02-28 21:53

    The Dalai Lama is one of the most misunderstood public figures, and he is misunderstood in two major ways. His fame as a spiritual teacher, combined with the warmth of his huge personality, makes it possible for people to enjoy his presence without actually hearing what he says, and so many of his fans experience him as a cuddly enabler along the lines of Thich Nhat Hanh or Deepak Chopra. In actuality, he is as far from Oprah Winfrey as fire is from ice. He is a deeply serious, tough-minded practitioner and teacher of a shockingly harsh and demanding religious discipline.But many of those who understand this still overlook another side of him - that he is one of the greatest political philosophers of the last hundred years. He is at least the equal of Martin Luther King, and, just as King's political importance eclipsed his importance as a philosopher and theologian, The Dalai Lama's religious celebrity often seems to drown out his brilliance as a political thinker.A decade ago, his book Ethics for a New Millenium showed that he belonged on the same shelf as David Hume. Now this book, a sequel of sorts, lays it on the line with its title. Not No Religion, or As Well as Religion, but Beyond Religion. This book, less than 200 pages, is The Dalai Lama's best and most cohesive so far, containing all of the wisdom of his previous books while going further - going beyond.His style is straightforward. His genius presents itself as common sense, like a less literary George Orwell. Early on, he cheerfully debunks two of the most popular misconceptions about Buddhism - that it is about magic, and that it rejects the material world:When it comes to obtaining certain, direct results, it is clear that prayer cannot match the achievements of, for instance, modern science. When I was ill some years ago, it was certainly comforting to know that people were praying for me, but it was, I must admit, still more comforting to know that the hospital where I was being treated had the very latest equipment to deal with my condition!Still describing himself as "a man of religion," he goes on to show that the gap between religion and science is illusory, and that to the eye that sees clearly, one leads naturally to the other. He suggests that ethics and compassion are supported by science. The medicine he prescribes for the ills of our world is not medicine that most of us want to take: seeing ourselves in everyone, and forgiving those who have hurt us, no matter how badly (he cites a man who forgave and became friends with a man who shot and blinded him) - but it is the only medicine that might save us and the planet. This is a book of terrible, profound, urgent clarity.

  • Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
    2019-03-21 18:28

    I love the Dalai Lama. Every time I hear him in an interview I smile from ear to ear, I can't help myself. But I have read several of his books and each and every one was difficult to get through. I listened to this audio, which helps me actually finish books like these, but I had a hard time focusing on what was being said. My mind kept wandering every which way. Funny thing since a lot of this was, of course, about meditation practice, which is all about focusing the mind! I had to laugh at myself many times through this because invariably he would be talking about focusing the mind while mine was happily off somewhere else.......I would think "Crap! Stephanie he said FOCUS!"RewindRewindRewindOh, I give up.

  • Dan
    2019-03-02 18:35

    This book on a secular approach to ethics by the Dalai Lama caught my eye when I was browsing the new books section of my library. Acknowledging the shortcomings of religious approaches and the problems caused by the inherent conflicts of religion, the Dalai Lama turns to humanist principles and calls for a secular approach to ethics. In the later chapters, he addresses the overlap between secular humanism and Buddhist principles - a topic that has long been of interest to me.This is a very good book, and I completely endorse the subject manner and approach. So, why only 3 stars? The topics were only superficially addressed. Only passing reference was made to recent developments in fields such as neuroscience and evolutionary biology that support the positions staked out. I would highly recommend this to someone who has not had much exposure to these topics, but for those who are familiar with it, this presents nothing more than a pleasant, and generally well written, walk through familiar grounds.

  • Sara Jo Easton
    2019-03-14 20:28

    I am a Goodreads First Reads winner of this book. This is a great book for anyone interested in philosophy who wants a book as entertaining as it is intellectually challenging. Each new concept is backed up with anecdotes from the Dalai Lama's life, told "half-jokingly" in a way that doesn't fly over your head. I finished the book several hours ago, and I'm still thinking about everything His Holiness said about our common humanity and the place ethics has in society. Thank you for the great read!

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-07 01:49

    This book is part of a larger movement by progressive religious leaders - one that makes the argument for ethics outside of the constructs of religious teachings. I really appreciated the time the Dalai Lama spent defining "secular", a term which, all too often, has a negative connotation. His reasoning and practical approach to implementation was intriguing. While Humanist principles assert ethics (and morality) without religion, I'm left to wonder how accepting the larger religious community would be to the concept? Ultimately, does the why really matter if we're working to the same end?

  • Jud Barry
    2019-03-09 17:40

    All my life I have been told by "religious" people that religion is necessary for morality. I have never believed this, mostly because my own parents were every bit as moral as they were secular.Also, growing up I absorbed the "enlightened," civic faith of the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. in the ability of a body of citizens to govern itself without being ruled by a set of religious doctrines. All that was needed was the right framework (laws) and a willingness to work for the common good of all.But this seems to me to be less and less understood, in the U.S. anyway. Maybe it just seems that way because I live in the hyper-religious South. It has recently seemed less and less likely that anyone be very effective in advancing the cause of the same kind of common-sense approach to religion and morals that our Founding Fathers took.Enter The Dalai Lama. In simple and engaging language, he goes beyond my fondest hopes by articulating a case for, if not the superiority of secular ethics, then at least its existence as a phenomenon that pre-exists religion. He bases his notion of secular ethics on a "spirituality" that "comes from our innate human nature as beings with a natural disposition toward compassion, kindness, and caring for others." Secular ethics are the water into which are intermixed the tea leaves of religion.In its first section, the book elaborates on this "quite simple" notion. The second section is a beginner's guide to the strengthening of one's sense of secular ethics through self-awareness exercises that draw heavily on the Buddhist meditative tradition.Maybe it's easier for a Buddhist--as a non-theist--to think in secular terms. Perhaps, but the Dalai Lama emphasizes the distinction between religious (metaphysical) beliefs and secular ones. Buddhism's metaphysical notions are very important to the nature of that religion, yet they do not prevent the Dalai Lama from recognizing secular values as values that everyone shares, regardless of the nature of our religious beliefs.

  • Natassia
    2019-03-04 01:47

    A breath of fresh air.

  • Kate Lawrence
    2019-02-27 23:24

    I agree with the Dalai Lama that only if the world's people succeed in finding common ground Beyond Religion is there a chance of working together for any kind of a sane future. I wondered what he was going to suggest, and found myself reading with interest. He describes compassion--the foundation of secular ethics--in detail, what it is and isn't (e.g. it isn't meekness). He shows why the practice of compassion and restraint is necessary for a sustainable environment, stable governments, as well as personal well-being, and why such efforts must be undertaken outside of religion to succeed globally. Training our minds not to wallow in destructive emotions like anger and greed is not that mysterious; it can be done by anyone willing to persevere. He gives convincing motivations and detailed practices to use in taking up this work. He comments on research showing that accumulating wealth beyond basic comfort does not bring happiness, and points out that war is now "outdated and illogical." Schools must be urged to give students training in how to develop patience and compassion; this is not being provided to most children by religion as it was in the past. Compassion training, in fact, is far more important than many of the subjects currently taught.Without explicitly saying so, he conveys a view I've long held: peace and environmental responsibility will have to come from the people, because our leaders will not lead. I especially appreciated his upbeat attitude: humans have practiced cooperation for centuries, we know how to do this, we CAN do this. "Let us all, old and young," he writes in closing,"strive together with vision, with courage, and with optimism." The Dalai Lama conveys a strong sense of possibility to turn things around; I hope this latest book of his will attract a wide readership.

  • Nhu
    2019-03-09 00:28

    suốt thời kì trung đại, tâm lí được nhìn nhận dưới góc độ tông giáo hơn là khoa học thì đây, bạn có thể tìm thấy tâm lí chuyên sâu dưới góc độ giảng giải về tính thiện của con người qua ngài dalai lama. bạn có thể đọc bản dịch tại trang holieu.org. ở bản dịch bạn sẽ được làm quen với các cụm từ mà tôi cho rằng trong thời gian tới sẽ không mấy xuất hiện trong văn bản việt nam: ổn cố, cung hiến, ơn ích, viễn kiến, phóng chiếu, căn cước nhân cách, chúng sinh phức hợp, sự thịnh mãn tâm trí, cứu cánh tự thân...ngài dalai viết về tính cơ bản của con người là hướng thiện, và con người, cho dù đã từng là một ác nhân vẫn có khả năng thay đổi từ bên trong. ngài cũng trình bày cách chúng ta chế ngự những nỗi sợ hãi để có được sự tự do tâm trí, cách thức chúng ta bố thí như một thực hành niềm vui và hạnh phúc. cách thức chúng ta hiểu một cách khôn ngoan con người vị kỉ của chúng ta bằng phép luyện tâm phân tích. một quyển sách khống chế con quái vật lười nhác và độc ác bên trong mỗi cá nhân để tìm đến sự an nhiên.

  • Jenny Choi
    2019-03-14 18:24

    This book is worth reading for me. The author explains quite difficult concepts by using simple and easy expressions in order to help normal people understand better. Come to think of this book, It seems that wise men put their values into entire humanity beyond narrow perspectives, which is pretty challenging to me.

  • Tasmin
    2019-03-02 21:35

    Viele gute Denkanstöße. Man sollte dem Dalai Lama wirklich öfter mal Zuhören. Er hat wichtiges zu sagen.

  • Ben
    2019-02-24 22:48

    To some, this may be a surprising book and proposition coming from the modern 'father' of an ancient faith.* Not that Buddhism (in my experience and practice) must be faith-driven. Still, many may be surprised to hear a religious leader advocate and articulate universal morality and ethics free from faith-based or doctrinal foundations.The book is short, practical, well-reasoned, easy to follow, and includes positive prescriptions that can be carried out in the everyday lives of even busy secularists. (I was deeply affected by Hitchens' 'God is Not Great', which did not dislodge philosophical Buddhism's appeal to me, and this book reaffirms my comfort with that affection.)More than a few readers may be surprised by just how well-read the Dalai Lama is in contemporary neurology and recent science about the brain. Indeed, I look forward to contrasting his opinions here with those of a moral atheist like Sam Harris or a behaviorist like Steven Pinker. If you read more by His Holiness, I think you will be struck by how vigorous and stimulating his intellectual life is.And since he has such a distinct voice in writing and in speech, it must be hard for a narrator to find the 'voice' of the Dalai Lama in a short treatise like this. While Mr Sheen does a fine job, I found it a distracting listen at times perhaps because he is so well-known. A less high-profile reader may have been called for here.*NOTE - This review refers to the audio version of this book from Audible.

  • Doug
    2019-03-02 23:24

    Ethics-based approach to the idea of improving the condition of humanity by improving yourself first. Wrapped in pretty much a Buddhist philosophy without the religious aspects. Promotes moral/ethical principles that are mostly common to the teachings of the major religions, even if not their practice. Full of very sensible ideas, though nothing revolutionary.The writing style was simplistic, as if aimed at 12-year-olds, I thought. Whereas the content is more adult focused. So I'm not sure who it's really aimed at. Even aside from the style, I think the appeal will be limited to philosophically minded semi-religious or non-religious people. Strongly religious people would consider it too "secular" or too Buddhist (if they are not Buddhist). Anti-religious people would consider it too religious and/or spiritual. Personally, I thought the message was excellent, even if idealistic. I'm a bit of an idealist myself. If it were written at a more adult level, I would have given it 4 stars. The style made it tedious and annoying. But I did read it all the way through.

  • Diane
    2019-03-20 01:49

    Despite his deep faith, the Dalai Lama is convinced that the striving toward moral ethics and inner values cannot be met solely through religion in the secular world of today. With so many belief systems, a religion-based approach to ethics will never be universal, thus the need for a secular ethics. Secularism - respect for all faiths and no faith - and religion are not mutually exclusive. A good example of this would be Gandhi. deeply religious and all-embracing. I picked up this book primarily for the section on meditation. This is dealt with at the end of the book; of course, I enjoyed the thoughtful presentation leading up to this, but I was eager for something that would make meditation easier for me. Silly me!! As with most worthwhile things in life, he writes what I already know, "moderate effort over a long period is the key to success." He gives the reader tools to help us in our journey toward love and compassion and writes with a luminosity and clarity that makes me think we humans have a chance of achieving his vision for a better world.

  • Sunny
    2019-02-25 01:25

    I always enjoy listening to the Dalai Lama and his calming words. After the disappointment of realizing Martin Sheen was narrating the book I decided to read instead. He talks about the need for a system of ethics that doesn't depend on religion but instead depends on people's shared humanity and compassion, where people of many religions and none all live together and increasingly must work together to solve global problems. I appreciated how he spoke his own Buddhist religion and says even though it is his religion, it is not for everyone. The understanding that some religions work well for some and not others but can still be well respected by each other can bring us together instead of the opposite which happens often. The reason I gave it three stars is only because soon I found myself skimming the text because it became repetitive and a message he has talked about many times before.

  • David Gross
    2019-03-07 19:31

    Aristotle noted that ethics differs from other branches of philosophy, “in not being a subject of merely intellectual interest — I mean we are not concerned to know what goodness essentially is, but how we are to become good people, for this alone gives the study its practical value.” This did not turn out to be a good prediction of how this branch of philosophy would develop in the philosophical tradition that followed Aristotle in the West.Another philosophical tradition was nurtured in India several hundred years after Aristotle’s time, at Nālandā university, and was very influential to the philosophy associated with Mahayana Buddhism, for instance the Gelug-pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism of which Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, is a world-renowned spiritual leader. In his new book, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World, he sketches an ethical philosophy worthy of Aristotle’s description. I’ll try to summarize it here.The Dalai Lama is not skilled in English, but this book has been very lucidly and precisely translated by Thupten Jinpa, and so although it deals with some subtle and difficult psychological and philosophical concepts, the language barrier does not present difficulties.Secular Ethics In the first half of the book, the Dalai Lama outlines his understanding of ethics and why he thinks that secular ethics in particular is a thing worth pursuing.Ethics, in his view, does not need to be grounded in religious practice or in a religious belief system, though he finds religion valuable and thinks that it can add to our understanding of ethics. By secular ethics he doesn’t mean ethics that is anti-religious, but merely not religious — potentially parallel to but not based on religion. Such an ethics is potentially more powerful than religious ethics because it can make universal claims that might appeal to people across cultures regardless of their religious affiliations, and it can also appeal to people who are nonreligious.The Dalai Lama believes that a secular ethics can be built on two fundamental principles: 1) all people share a common human experience, and 2) we are all linked in a dense web of interdependence. The general conclusion to draw from this is that one cannot be aloof from one’s fellows, and that the natural and proper outlook towards them ought to be one of empathy (since they are like us) from which follows compassion.The Pursuit of Happiness One part of human experience that we all share is that we are largely motivated by the avoidance of suffering and the pursuit of happiness. In this, we’re all in the same boat. This common ground is such an important part of our natures, and so universal, that it is potentially a stronger and fundamental bond than the various things that divide us, like nationality, race, language, class, ideology and so forth.Given that avoidance of suffering and pursuit of happiness are so fundamental, the Dalai Lama (like Aristotle before him), delves into what happiness consists of. Some components of happiness are wealth, health, and friendship. But it seems to be more complex than that, since it is easy to find examples of people who have an excess of any or all of these things and are still unhappy, or where people have a lack of any or all of these things and are still content. There seems to be something deeper involved, a sort of internal attitude towards what fortune brings us, that is the real key to happiness. In various parts of this discussion, this is translated as “peace of mind,” “inner peace,” “inner resiliance,” “inner strength,” and “mental composure.”The more you have this, the happier you will be, and though the more transient things like wealth, health, and friendship are also helpful — in moderation — they can actually be harmful to the happiness of people without this variety of inner peace, since — especially in excess — such things can provoke a kind of craving or anticipatory insecurity that induces suffering.Two other things that are important to genuine happiness are 1) a sense of purpose, and 2) a feeling of connectednessCompassion Empathy is natural to people. We seek out situations in which we can observe others or hear about their lives in such a way that we can empathetically feel some degree of their sorrows and triumphs. Much of our social life concerns this, and also much of literature, drama, film, television, and the like.We are hard-wired to feel empathy, and also compassion. The Dalai Lama thinks this may be partially because we are helpless for such a long period (relative to other species) as infants. We are only alive as adults because someone was patient and compassionate enough to take care of us when we were young. Without a strong mechanism for empathy and compassion somewhere in our minds, our species wouldn’t last long.And this isn’t restricted to the parent/child context, of course. We frequently seek out compassion from others, and we also may find it satisfying to show compassion. The first beneficiary of the compassion that we show for others, perhaps unintuitively, is ourself. This is partially because compassion is a good avenue for acquiring the sense of purpose and feeling of connectedness that the Dalai Lama suggests are important to genuine happiness. He also asserts that compassion “reduces our fear, boosts our confidence… brings us inner strength… [and] gives us respite from our own difficulties.” It can also contribute to health and friendship, two of the earlier-mentioned components of transient happiness.So, while compassion is other-focused, it is also in our own individual (enlightened) self interest — what he calls “wise selfishness,” in contrast to short-sighted or narrowly-focused “foolish selfishness.”Our natural, ingrained compassion is typically limited in scope — it applies most strongly to those closest to us (family, close friends), and fades off as people become more distant, less well-known, and less similar in superficial attributes like accent, custom, and race. It is often also conditional on reciprocity or on the recipients of our compassion going along with our plans.A second, more universal and unconditional form of compassion is based on the object of compassion’s personhood itself — that universal part of human nature we all share, such as our common avoidance of suffering and pursuit of happiness — without regard to who they are or what they’re up to. This sort of compassion doesn’t come naturally but must be deliberately cultivated. Compassion and Justice The sort of compassion-centered ethics that the Dalai Lama is building is sometimes attacked by people who prefer a justice-centered ethics. Compassion promotes tolerance and forgiveness and discourages retribution, and so the critics believe that it tends to work to the advantage of unjust wrongdoers and thereby increases the amount of injustice in the world.The Dalai Lama responds to this by saying that the sort of compassion he is promoting is not meant to be a meek, turn-the-other-cheek variety, but a strong and sometimes confrontational one — something like Gandhi’s program, I think.He does counsel nonviolence, and a “hate the sin but love the sinner” attitude toward wrongdoers. This would not satisfy critics who think that retribution is a valid goal of justice, but it does leave the other commonly-cited objectives — deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and restitution — available.A compassionate approach to wrongdoers has the advantage that it leaves open the possibility for reconciliation and reform. An approach that prioritizes vengeance or retribution tends to restrict the outcomes to either vanquishing a resentful foe, or failing to do so and thereby inviting further retributive injustice — neither of which bode well for the future.Forgiveness is an important part of this. It comes from this distinguishing the deed from the doer, but also from imagining how you look at yourself when you have done something wrong that you regret — unless you’re unhealthily neurotic, you don’t identify yourself with your misdeed and you don’t think of yourself as permanently tainted by your sin. Motives or Consequences? In the Dalai Lama’s framework, ethics is largely a matter of the motives you have when you take action, rather than of the actual consequences of the action. Consequences are too subject to unpredictible factors to be a firm basis for ethics.But good intentions alone are not enough. You must also cultivate “discernment” in order to translate your good intentions into beneficial actions. This means learning what actions are really beneficial, what consequences are most likely to follow from certain actions, and so forth. Only reality-based good intentions are really compassionate.But on a day-to-day basis, you make far too many decisions to subject each of them to careful scrutiny and to follow all of your actions forward through all of their possible consequences. For this reason, you should develop ethical heuristics that can carry some of the weight — that way, when you do encounter situations that require careful ethical discernment, you will have enough mental energy to do the job. (You may recognize this as also a line of thought Adam Smith pursued in The Theory of Moral Sentiments.)There will be times when your ethical heuristics aren’t up to the task — for example, when they contradict each other in a moral dilemma. Here is how the Dalai Lama uses discernment to find the best way forward in such cases:I always start by checking my motivation. Do I truly have others’ well-being at heart? Am I under the sway of any disturbing emotions, such as anger, impatience, or hostility? Having determined that my motivation is sound, I then look carefully at the situation in context. What are the underlying causes and conditions that have given rise to it? What choices do I have? What are their likely outcomes? And which course of action, on balance, is most likely to yield the greatest long-term benefit for others? Making decisions in this way, I find, means they are not the cause of any regret later on.From here, he briefly mentions some pressing global issues, in a fairly superficial way. His point though, is that in each case, what may seem like structural problems in our institutions and governments and such are really ethical problems in the people who make up these bodies, and that we aren’t going to solve these problems with changes at the organizational level unless people become more ethically educated and motivated. (And who is educating and training people in ethics these days? It seems like just about everybody has dropped the ball.) How to Cultivate EthicsPart two of the book is more of a practical how-to. How does one develop compassion and discernment?The Dalai Lama believes that it is a three-stage process, with each stage building on the one before it: 1) restraint — don’t harm others, 2) virtue — cultivate positive values, 3) altruism — live selflessly. These three things apply to our actions, thoughts, and motives. The tools we can use to achieve these stages are heedfulness, mindfulness, and awareness. Heedfulness is a sort of state of alert and caution, knowing that we may have habits or tendencies to violate these goals of restraint, virtue, and altruism, and that we need to be on guard. Mindfulness seems to mean keeping these goals in mind and seeing how they apply to whatever situation we are in. Awareness is a sort of introspection with the design of rooting out impediments to self-control.“Conscience,” as an independent mental faculty that acts as a sort of ethical lodestone, is something unfamiliar to Dalai Lama’s philosophical heritage, he says. In its place is a conscientiousness motivated by self-respect and by consideration of others’ opinions. These respond to personal misdeeds in a way analogous to “conscience” — self-respect says “this deed is unworthy of me” and consideration-of-others says “and I’ll be poorly thought-of for doing it.” Destructive Emotions and Drives People are motivated by a variety of emotions and drives. Most of these are healthy in moderation but can cause problems if they become pathologically exaggerated. Others, like hatred, are not good even in small amounts. The destructive emotions (or exaggerations of otherwise-healthy emotions) come in three categories: anger (e.g. hatred, emnity, malice, irritation, agitation, hostility, temper), attachment (e.g. greed, lust, craving, desire), mixed (e.g. envy, jealousy, pride, intolerance, prejudice, anxiety, guilt).All destructive emotions share the trait of distorting our perception and of making it more difficult for us to practice virtues like compassion. What can we do about this?First off, we can adopt a mental attitude of opposition to destructive emotion — which is more easily done when you reflect on their negative consequences — and we can cultivate certain antidotes. “For example, the main antidote for anger is forbearance, for greed is contentment, for fear is courage, and for doubt [such as anxiety or guilt] is understanding.” Other examples are patience, self-discipline, generosity, and forgiveness (the Dalai Lama describes some of these virtues in detail). Most important is compassion, which can cover a multitude of sins.And secondly, we can further develop our emotional awareness. This means learning the triggers that set off destructive emotions, our emotional habits, how to recognize the physiological signs of being under the influence of destructive emotions, and so forth. How to Get from Here to ThereAll of this may seem easier said than done. In the final chapter of his book, the Dalai Lama lets us in on the secret. Becoming more ethical, like learning other difficult skills, takes attentive practice and a lot of time. The practice he recommends is meditation, and he suggests and very briefly sketches several varieties of meditation that strengthen particular skills (like heedfulness, mindfulness, and awareness) that are important to ethical development.

  • George
    2019-03-16 17:24

    Beyond Religion is another one of those special books that are written with the idea in mind to make the world a better place. Its author? A man who has dedicated his life toward travelling the world and spreading his messages of peace, tranquillity, and the capability of humanity.It is, in one way of thinking, the culmination of the Dalai Lama's understanding of modern society and culture. It is also the product of his life as a spiritual leader. This book contains one man's empathy and compassion for every human in the race. It is his literary fountain of wisdom.So what are his ideas? Being a Buddhist leader, you would think that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama would use any opportunity to promote his own religion and talk to its followers. The interesting thing is that it is not what he does. He disregards expectations from outsiders -- regularly in fact -- and promotes something that is, as the title of his book suggests, 'beyond' any religion. His discourse is on 'Ethics for a Whole World'.And his beliefs are centred in the goodness of human beings; in compassion, love, empathy, and how those three qualities can lead to fulfilled lives. Whether you are a consciously spiritual person or not -- argues the author -- you still wish to pursue happiness and want to be led away from suffering. In this way, the Dalai Lama is really an advocate of the common good; he is an expounder of the essence of universal humanity.'We need to recognise two things,' says the Dalai Lama. 'The first is that religion is not the only way to pursue a spiritual life. There are indeed ways of living the fulfilling and contented lives we all desire which do not require religious belief. The second is that in order to build a harmonious and peaceful world, we require more than just tolerance and understanding between the various religions. We also need mutual tolerance and understanding between believers (of whatever faith) and non-believers – between those with religion and those without.'That is just a taste of the teacher's message. The book explores the musings of the Dalai Lama, and expands upon his view that 'the most promising avenue [towards happiness] is to be found in a system of secular ethics grounded in a deep appreciation of our common humanity'.'Common humanity'. This is absolutely key to the ideas discussed in the book. The thought that we are all, to some degree, equal; that we are united in our humanity and share deep and universal qualities between us. The Dalai Lama implores us -- as human beings living in the 21st century -- to try to open our minds to ethics that would lead us all to having more fulfilled lives, and would contribute to the ideal goal of world peace -- peace in a world in which there are nuclear weapons which could eradicate us all in minutes.The thinker is never one to condemn humanity though; he is dedicated to focusing on the positives. There are points in which is highlights religious sectarianism, deplores warfare and consumer society, and offers a critique to a way of life in which many are comfortable, but he is never scathing, offensive, or patronising. He simply wishes us to think more!On of his main concerns, though, seems to be the lack of ethical education -- education of the 'heart' -- in modern educational systems. 'I always try to to reach out to young people and spend some time with them,' he says. It is his 'hope and wish' that, 'one day, formal education will pay attention to what I call education of the heart'. He relevantly also explains that 'it is now down to the youth of today to make a better world than the one which has been bequeathed to them. Much rests upon their shoulders'. This is another focus of the great man - on youth, on the future, on reaching out to the younger members of our society and to try to help them to build better prospects for themselves and for all.He asks: 'What greater folly could there be than to spend [our] short time [on this earth] lonely, unhappy, and in conflict with our fellow visitors?' His answer: 'Far better, surely, to use our short time in pursuing a meaningful life, enriched by a sense of connection with and service toward others'. I wouldn't want to argue against that perception.And one of the most beautiful aspects of this book is that it is written for the common human being too. Never are the ideas dressed up as complicated, or written with a certain particular audience group in mind; the book is actually very accessible to anyone, and the thinkings explored are made to be as uncomplicated and exoteric -- and relevant -- as possible. This book is a brilliant gateway to anyone who has ever asked questions about life; who has wanted to know more, and to improve their happiness. It is also great for question stimulation - reading it will make you think reflectively and calmly and offer solutions to every day problems that tend to reach everyone. It is also a book that aims at respecting all religions and offering a pathway that can be taken by anyone - whether they are religious and theistical or not at all. It is, in short, marvellous. Don't be afraid of trying this one out because -- if you do try it -- you will definitely be rewarded with profound insight and a greater sense of what is right, or wrong, when it comes to determining the happiness and goodness of life. So far, of the twenty-first century, just over a decade has gone; the major part of it is yet to come. It is my hope that this will be a century of peace, a century of dialogue – a century when a more caring, responsible, and compassionate humanity will emerge. This is my prayer as well.-His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

  • Nic Ayson
    2019-03-11 21:41

    Hmmm.. a tricky one to rate. Whilst it all makes perfect sense, and without wanting to be as bold to claim I have, nor do I even imagine I am living a life of spiritual enlightenment, compassion and forgiveness there was nothing really groundbreaking to read here. It all made perfect sense, but none of it was delivered in a way which I would then go forth to make great fundamental changes in my life. Overall, all concepts delivered in this book would, if the world was to live by them, make the universe a far better place to be in. They are presented in a nice neat simplistic style of language that is accessible to all so it makes for a rather easy read. The challenge perhaps to us all is to remember that a fulfilling and worthy life that is meaningful and full of connection need not be so terribly complex. If we can let go of some of our old ways and habits of our daily thoughts and actions - to make simple changes one day and moment at a time, we could potentially all live in a far more harmonious world.

  • Caitlin
    2019-03-11 21:38

    This is my first reading of the Dalai Lama. I always knew he is an amazing person, but reading his own words, written with knowledge, humor and humility, only impresses his wisdom on me more. The Dalai Lama's subject is to help his readers find a way to develop compassion from a secular position. He sees that agnostics or atheists are not off the hook for having positive human qualities of compassion, loving kindness, forgiveness and a healthy sense of justice. The Lama really seems to respect all faiths and although he does pull from Tibetan and Indian sources of spirituality, he is not saying that these are better than other religious traditions, or even scientific ones. He is using his own experience and studies. The best part of the book is his instructions on how to meditate. He gives a general principle for meditation, and then talks about specifics: such as emptying the mind in a focused way, not a falling asleep way, meditating in a way where you are calling out and confronting your "afflictive" emotions in order to lessen their impact, and to develop the positive thoughts and emotions. I have never meditated before. But the Lama really encouraged me to try, and I am going to, following his prescriptions. My mind is full of "afflictive" emotions and non-stop thoughts and sometimes I struggle with focus, which leads me to procrastination. But meditation has been practiced for millennia. The Lama gave clear instructions, let's see if I can put them to some use!

  • Chibineko
    2019-02-25 17:28

    Since I recently started a whole slew of religion courses for my degree program, I thought that this book would be a good supplement to read. After all, the Dalai Lama is a very well spoken man and I've read other things by him that I've liked. This book follows right along with those other writings in that I was hypnotized by this book.I wasn't even 10-20 pages into the book before it became very clear that this book is destined to become a recommended book for various religion and philosophy classes. Everything is pretty laid out and while (like another reviewer has noted) the book would be more easily read by religious students (either in college or self-taught), it's laid out to where the average person could pick the book up and be able to follow along. The book will definitely make you think about religion, ethics, your place in the world, and how you can affect things. The book is not for people wanting a light or easy read, nor for people who just want something they can read and then throw it to the side guilt-free. You will question your way of life after reading this book, even if just a little. I know I ended up questioning my own sense of compassion and charity after reading this book. If you're a fan of the Dalai Lama, get this book. If you're a student of philosophy or religion in any context, get this book. If you want something to make you think, get this book. (In other words, get this book.)(ARC provided by Amazon Vine)

  • Trevor Price
    2019-03-03 20:26

    It's important to clarify that by secular the Dalai Lama doesn't mean anti-religion or excluding religion, but rather cross-religion. He proposes an ethical framework that can be used as a common value-based language regardless of one's religious views, yet that allows any given practitioner of religion to plug his/her own religious/moral core into the slots.Compassion, unsurprisingly, is the central value from which all other values flow, and His Holiness lays out a persuasive case that such an ethical framework is indeed robust and universal. I suspect that those whose religious tradition is dogmatic or conservative might suppose that such a framework would be spineless, passive, and/or bland.Au contraire, asserts the author. For instance, standing up for what is right is an important principle to which he devotes some time. In my own religious tradition, it seems that many are willing to stand up for their beliefs, yet fail greatly in doing so with self-awareness and effectiveness. However, counsels the author, when we learn to center ourselves on compassion, we can then manage to "stand up" with grace and integrity when necessary.I liked this book. It makes me want to check out some of his other work.

  • Dustin Voliva
    2019-03-16 20:31

    The Dalai Lama knows inspiration and spirituality. He has both in spades. His claim that ethics needs to be defined outside of religion is something I believe is most certainly true. However, Dalai Lama XIV would have us mostly believe it based on faith alone. He quotes friends and scientists, sometimes naming them, sometimes not,but never does he back these quotes with anything more. As he writes, the Dalai Lama is not a scientist and this is mostly a humble plea to begin encouraging humanity to look beyond the walls we build up around ourselves.He ends: "Within the scale of the life of the cosmos, a human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a visitor to this planet, a guest, who has only a finite time to stay. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time lonely, unhappy, and in conflict with our fellow visitors? Far better, surely, to use our short time in pursuing a meaningful life, enriched by a sense of connection with and service toward others."You can't argue with that.

  • Adem
    2019-03-17 01:33

    This book was very fluid in presenting and explaining the ethics that the Dalai Lama believes will help people realize happiness and ultimately a more compassionate world. The book is divided into two parts, the first is dedicated to explaining the importance of the ethics he presents, while the second elaborates on how one can develop these qualities for her or himself. I personally found this book to be wonderful at accurately explaining and bringing alive concepts that many of us are familiar with but do not very often think about concretely. The Dalai Lama used vivid examples which helped me visualize abstract ideas, making for an easier and more enjoyable read. The high approachability of this book made it an easy task to digest its message, which I found to be a very important one for myself. For that reason, I recommend it to anyone who is interested in self-development or gaining insight in the realm of ethics.

  • David
    2019-03-02 20:39

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama (his official title) asserts that religion, by itself, may not be adequate to answer all of the questions the 7 billion people on earth may have. He further asserts that we can live ethical lives without religion - amazing considering who he is. Of course, much of the book is peppered with Buddhist beliefs and practices which are, in turn, seen in other world religions. Living ethically - whether informed by religion or not - means seeking happiness, being contented, being patient, valuing others. In our interconnected world living ethically is probably a requirement. His Holiness the Dalai Lama concludes the book with a lesson on meditation and a sense of optimism for the world.Interesting quote: make money like a capitalist but spend it like a socialist.

  • Kye
    2019-02-28 23:37

    Confession: this was my first-ever audiobook, so I had to contend with a pesky audio-learning curve. Martin Sheen delivers the content in a way that conjures the author's essence through inflection and emphasis. I liked the way I could hear both voices at once. His holiness created this curriculum veritas for those of us who, having awakened within a global society, sometimes stumble over the fresh new ground toward oneness. Resolved: I will start over from the beginning, listening in 45 minute sessions with my morning tea. I will pretend that the Dalai Lama himself is sitting in front of me, speaking just to me. And I will take notes, because I really need to get all of this.

  • Nancy
    2019-02-23 23:35

    I listened to this book as I walked to work. It really put me in a great mood, ready to face the trials of the day. It is very clearly written and truly inspiring. I liked the exercises at the end. I will be putting them into practice as I sit in the mornings. I just wish that more people in the world would come to understand our commonalities. It would go a long way to bringing peace to our communities and the planet.

  • Alisha Hanson-Glatzel
    2019-03-03 17:45

    Maybe I'm just not evolved spiritually enough for books like this. I'd be reading, he would say something that brought back a memory and soon I have no idea what he is talking about because I haven't been paying attention at all. I had the same problem with A New Earth. I found the last section about meditation really helpful and inspirational. I might have to read this again when I become enlightened some day.

  • Z
    2019-03-13 17:25

    A simple, self-evident (to me, at least), yet potentially revolutionary and offensive idea: religion is not necessary for a moral life or a moral world. The abolition of religion is not necessary for a moral life or a moral world. Instead, we can start with the most basic things we as humans have in common: we all have basically the same biological and emotional needs. This can be the basis for compassion, which can be the basis for ethics...

  • Amy
    2019-02-22 18:50

    The Dalai Lama explained things in easy to understand language, pulling information for religion and science when appropriate for the discussion. His explanation of mind training techniques were simpler than the ones you get in CBT workbooks. I like that he thinks that all emotions are necessary to experience to be fully human. We shouldn't deny or ignore anger or jealousy, to do so is unhealthy, but learn to deal with them differently.

  • Tim
    2019-03-19 21:45

    Good advice for everyone, marred slightly for the secular humanist by the fact that this leader of one of the world's religions seems to be under the impression that he has single-handedly invented secular humanism. That said, if all the world read and, importantly, heeded every single word in this book, the world would be a much better place for it.