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Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World Hardcover – December 6, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews

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Hardcover, December 6, 2011
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Editorial Reviews


"An impressive guide for teaching religious tolerance and respect to readers of all ages."
--Kirkus Reviews

"This wise, humane book, an original work rather than a collection of talks, is an incisive statement of His Holiness’s thinking on ways to bring peace to a suffering world. "
--Publishers Weekly

From the Inside Flap

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 values
Ten 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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; None edition (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547636350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547636351
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born in 1935 to a peasant family in northeastern Tibet and was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. The world's foremost Buddhist leader, he travels extensively, speaking eloquently in favor of ecumenical understanding, kindness and compassion, respect for the environment, and, above all, world peace.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I always learn something from reading/listening to H.H. the Dalai Lama. It doesn't matter that I'm not Buddhist. It doesn't matter that when listening to him, sometimes I struggle a bit with his accent (perhaps this is good, as I listen more closely). I always learn--and go away with the resolve to be a bit kinder, a bit more compassionate.

This book is no exception. It was a book I could only read a few pages of...before needing to think and contemplate what I read. I suppose I could have read it all in one night, but then I wouldn't have gotten as much out of it. It reminded me a lot of Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (Borzoi Books) Which I also highly recommend if you want to explore Compassion more.

The title, "Beyond Religion" may be off-putting to some--especially Americans who tend to love to identify their belief in God. Even though Western Europe may have more self-professed atheists/agnostics, the point is not that God is not necessary...but that there are certain values/ethics which do and should go beyond whatever religion one professes to believe. These are universal ethics...universal truths...such as compassion. If we, as a World, would look at the vast inequality which exists today and would operate out of a universal ethic of compassion--we'd have less inequality, less hunger, less wars, less problems.

In one part of the book, H.H. says he is sympathetic to Marxist/Socialism due to all of the inequality he sees--and I realize this might be off-putting for some. Please, go beyond it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World is the latest written contribution of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama in his efforts for building a more compassionate and peaceful world. An awareness of the fundamental interconnectedness between ourselves as individuals and the societies to which we belong is his major theme.

His Holiness begins by explaining that secular religion is no longer providing a moral compass for the world, that it is no longer adequate as a basis for ethics. For one thing, many people in the world no longer practice any form of religion. Furthermore, as people of the world become more interconnected in an age of globalization and multicultural societies, ethics based on religion would only appeal to some but would not be meaningful for all. He recognizes that the ultimate source of our global problems lies at the level of the individual. If the individual lacks inner moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate or effective. Likewise, any religion-based answer to the problem of neglected inner moral values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate. What His Holiness suggests in Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be acceptable to everybody-those individuals of faith and those without- a new secular approach to universal ethics that gives a tolerant respect to religion.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In ninth grade religious school, I attended a weekly class in ethics, a class oriented toward discussing, wrestling with and debating contemporary ethical issues. That experience had a lasting impact upon me, leading me to begin a lifelong process of defining and redefining my values, and attempting (too often unsuccessfully) to live in accordance with them. Inevitably then, I was drawn to read BEYOND RELIGION: ETHICS FOR A WHOLE WORLD.

BEYOND RELIGION by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, addresses the need for us today to commit "to developing and applying inner values in our daily lives." Due to the waning influence of religion in the western world, to a loosening of ethical standards in the media, and the lack of responsible values-oriented parenting in millions of families, many of us lack a moral center of gravity, and are easily swayed by external influences.

Even those who are religious may not have internalized their values. Such internalization is not gained through commandments directed at the superego and beginning "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not." Rather, it involves the embracing of one's values at a cellular level, so that they penetrate into our very core and become an inner foundation directing every action.

Ethics may be one facet of religion but we do not have to subscribe to a particular religion in order to cultivate a personal and social ethical orientation. The Dalai Lama - although he does present Buddhist precepts in regard to ethical action, levels of understanding and kinds of generosity - takes a nonsecular approach. Clearly, and with a rare blend of simplicity and profundity, he delineates attitudes and practices that can enable us to live more consciously, compassionately and ethically.
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