The passages in this book are drawn from numerous talks, discussions, interviews, declarations, teachings, and other writings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was compiled at the request of Philippe Jost, director of publishing at Les editions du Pre aux Clercs, Paris. As Frederique Hatier points out in the foreword, this spiritual leader of Tibet has always based his daily activity on kindness, compassion, and wisdom. In the first two chapters, he discusses his life and work. The four other chapters contain his views on:
• The World Today
• Faith, Science, and Religion
• The Inner Journey
• Life, Death, and Rebirth
Whether talking about the Earth or the animal kingdom; karma or rebirth; tolerance, joy, and respect for all of life; or the quest for inner peace, His Holiness opens our hearts and our eyes to the challenges which face us in our private and public lives. Here are a few sections from the book to give a sampler of the range and depths of his insights:
"Many of today's world leaders have great courage: the courage to do harm. They are ill-advised, too clever, or too skillful. I think bad political systems, by which I mean systems that are not founded on a desire for justice, are mainly due to a type of short-sightedness. When politicians see things only in the short-term they inevitably only see the short-term gains. That is how they develop the type of courage that is necessary to harm others."
A global family
"The world is becoming smaller and smaller. Nations are far more interdependent than before. Our generation has reached the threshold of a new era of human history: the birth of a global family. Whether we like it or not, all the members of our vast and varied human family have to learn to live together somehow. We need to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility, on both the individual and collective level."
Our happiness comes from others
"In this world, all qualities spring from preferring the wellbeing of others to our own, whereas frustrations, confusion, and pain result from selfish attitudes. By adopting an altruistic outlook and by treating others in the way they deserve, our own happiness is assured as a byproduct. We should realize that self-centeredness is the source of all suffering, and that thinking of others is the source of all happiness."