In the introduction to this paperback, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spells out four of his personal beliefs:

1. Universal concern is essential to solving global problems.
2. Love and compassion are the pillars of world peace.
3. All world religions seek to advance world peace, as do all humanitarians of whatever ideology.
4. Each individual has a responsibility to shape institutions to serve the needs of the world.

He goes on to say that morality, compassion, decency, and wisdom are the building blocks of all civilizations, but the growth of these positive values are hindered by our counterproductive emotions. The Dalai Lama sees ignorance as "the active misapprehension of the nature of things." It leads to lust, hatred, jealousy, belligerence, and other troublesome emotions as well as exaggerated notions of the self, others, and the physical world. But we can see ourselves as we really are through focusing our minds, turning to meditation, realizing that we do not exist in and of ourselves, balancing calm and insight, and noticing how everything depends on thought.

Self-knowledge opens the door to personal development and meaningful relationships. In the last section of the book, the Dalai Lama discusses feeling empathy, impermanence, and absorbing yourself in ultimate love. He concludes:

"Even though it is necessary in the beginning to have a strong will in order to develop love and compassion, will is not sufficient to develop these altruistic attitudes limitlessly. It is important to join the practice of love and compassion with the practice of insight. Even if you seek to help someone out of concern, without insight you cannot be very clear about what benefit will come of your efforts. A combination is needed: a good human heart as well as a good human brain. Working together, we can achieve a lot."