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Ethics for the New Millennium Paperback – May 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Reissue edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573228834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573228831
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In a modern society characterized by insensitivity to violence, ambivalence to the suffering of others, and a high-octane profit motive, is talk of ethics anything more than a temporary salve for our collective conscience? The Dalai Lama thinks so. In his Ethics for the New Millennium, the exiled leader of the Tibetan people shows how the basic concerns of all people--happiness based in contentment, appeasement of suffering, forging meaningful relationships--can act as the foundation for a universal ethics.

His medicine isn't always easy to swallow, however, for it demands of the reader more than memorizing precepts or positing hypothetical dilemmas. The Nobel Peace laureate invites us to recognize certain basic facts of existence, such as the interdependence of all things, and from these to recalibrate our hearts and minds, to approach all of our actions in their light. Nothing short of an inner revolution will do. Basic work is required in nurturing our innate tendencies to compassion, tolerance, and generosity. And at the same time, "we need to think, think, think ... like a scientist," reasoning out the best ways to act from a principle of universal responsibility. Like a merging of the care and compassion of Jesus, the cool rationality of the Stoics, the moral program of Ben Franklin, and the psychology of William James, Ethics for the New Millennium is a plea for basic goodness, a blueprint for world peace. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"This is not a religious book," asserts the Dalai Lama about a volume that's his most outspoken to date on moral and social issues. "My aim has been to appeal for an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles." The Dalai Lama adopts this approach because, he notes, the majority of humanity ignores religion, the traditional vehicle for ethics, yet observation shows him that happiness, which he discerns as the prime human goal, depends upon "positive ethical conduct." The entire book, written in simple, direct prose, reflects this sort of step-by-step reasoning, taking on color and drama with numerous anecdotes drawn from the Tibetan leader's personal experience. Methodically, the Dalai Lama explores the foundation of ethics, how ethics affects the individual and the role of ethics in society. He resorts often to Buddhist principles (as in employing the idea of dependent originationAthat nothing arises or exists of itselfAto demonstrate the interrelatedness of all life), but also to native Tibetan ideas and, occasionally, to secular thought or that of other religions. The book represents no radical departure from his previous work, but it does present a number of forceful views on issues ranging from cloning to vivisection to excess wealth ("the life of luxury... is unworthy"), as well as personal flavor not seen in his books since his autobiography, Freedom in Exile. The Dalai Lama refers, for instance, to his unwillingness to sell his watch collection for money to feed the poor as an example of ethical limitation. With its disarmingly frank, kindly manner and authoritative air, the book is what one would expect from a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and could appeal as widely as the Dalai Lama's current bestseller, The Art of Happiness. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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I love the way the Dalai Lama writes.
A. Shihab
Extending the hand of compassion, however, makes one a better human being, and that makes you happy.
Ima Reader
To wrap up, please read this book or listen to it as an audiobook.
Sarah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 126 people found the following review helpful By G.Evans on November 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Looking back over the last 5,000 years, it appears to me that all religions have focused on the preservation of their own particular brand of cultural and social ethics under the name of religion and by and large have ignored the more important and universal spiritual ethics that underlie all religions. The same can be said of many New Age courses that have sprung up like mushrooms all over the globe, where the emphasis appears to be more on gaining power and getting what you want out of life as opposed to an inner spiritual evolvement. This has bothered me for some time. However, reading the Dalai Lama's "Ethics for the New Millenium" was like a breath of fresh air and a home coming where I can rest my own inner beliefs which up until now, I have not found an example of in any other author. We teach our children dogma, we teach them ritual, we teach them salvation in one form or another, but do we ever teach them simple spiritual ethics, for example, don't steal. I don't mean the obvious, as in stealing someone else's possessions, I mean theft on a more personal scale, as in stealing somebody's time, somebody's energy by either moaning and bringing them down with our own sorry tales or getting other people to do things for us when we are too lazy to do it for oursleves. Or, in the name of frienship, inviting a whole lot of people to a dinner party, not because they are truly our friends, but because we ourselves are bored or want to look popular. It is to these inner disciplines that the Dalai Lama looks and it is about time too. If more people adopted the principles he advocates in this book, there might just be a chance for peace, both in the microcosm of the family unit and in the macrocosm of the world at large. The void, the emptiness that many societies try to fill with a hamburger, might instead be filled with inner serenity and confidence as opposed to frutration and depression.
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84 of 89 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Having read with great interest a lot of the Dalai Lama's other books, I found this one easily the most compelling. The language is simple and direct which has the effect of making some very complex ideas easy to understand. The Dalai Lama emerges as someone with a thorogoing understanding of human nature. But whereas his image is generally of someone who is limitlessly patient and benign, in this book he clearly shows that he has both depth and edge.
The Dalai Lama makes a very clear connection between human happiness and what he calls inner discipline. He also makes clear that it is not really meaningful to speak of compassion except in the context of self-restraint. This shows that Buddhism is much more than the feel-good religion it is sometimes taken for in the west. It also shows that Buddhist ethical thinking is much closer to traditional Judeao-Christian and even Catholic social teaching than one might suppose. In fact when this is taken on board it becomes much easier to understand the Dalai Lama's near insistence that people stick to the religious tradition of their own culture.
One of the most remarkable things about this book is his assertion that each of the major faith traditions are effective means of attaining human happiness. Stranger still for a major religious leader is his statement that, although religion is helpful, it is not actually essential if we are to be happy. What is essential is that we develop what he calls our basic human qualities. The first of these are love and compassion, but he also talks a lot about patience, tolerance, generosity and humility - each of which presuppose a degree of self discipline.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Every single person, and especially those with the power to harm others through their corporate or government roles, should read this book.
The Dalai Lama begins by recognizing that religion is no longer providing an ethical compass for the majority of us, and ends by recommending a world parliament of religions (just as some believe a world parliament of cultures is also needed to represents nations without states).
At it's most fundamental, this easy to read and very practical book is about obeying the Golden Rule--or a variation of the physician's rule, "first do no harm."
This is not a book for mantra lovers. At its most strategic level, the book focuses on the fact that the problems facing nation-states and entire societies cannot be solved in the absence of ethical restraint. Technology and law enforcement can address deviants in the minority, but not a majority that chooses deviance as a routine lifestyle.
This is the first book I have encountered in my religious reading that actively respects all other religions as well as personal ethical systems apart from religion. In essence, the Dalai Lama calls for each person to restore their spiritual base, either by honoring their chosen religion, or by adopting a personal ethical philosophy that is consistent with the generic teachings of various religions.
At a very personal level, as I read this book I saw clearly how my competitive and confrontational instincts, honed over a half century by a "dog eat dog" culture, have in fact hurt me and hurt others. I was reminded by this book that a Nobel Prize has been awarded to those showing that trust lowers the costs of business transactions--Fukiyama managed to get an entire book out of that one word.
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