120 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all on a spiritual quest.
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...
Published on November 16, 1999 by G.Evans
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book on Basic Ethics
I went to his gathering in Portland where he shared the contents of this book verbally in a distilled form. Much of the talk was identical to passages in the book. He recommends that the religions have tolerance and respect for each other. He shares an ethic that is fairly modern and shows how much he has changed since his earlier times. The message is very basic,...
Published on November 18, 2007 by William Bagley
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120 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all on a spiritual quest.,
84 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Holiness' most powerful, cogent and compelling work yet,
By A Customer
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.
It is tempting to write the Dalai Lama off as an oddity - especially given the way he seems all too ready to cosy up to celebrities. But reading this book, you begin to get the feeling that there really is something going on inside his head. In none of his other books have I been able to detect the intelligence, the cogence and the incisiveness that is so obvious even through the sometimes mangled translations when you see him in the flesh.
As a would-be Catholic I can also say that the Dalai Lama's spiritual teachings are as relevant as any from within my own tradition. Is there any way the Pope could make him a Cardinal!?
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, Relevant, and Valuable,
This review is from: Ethics for the New Millennium (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. Reflecting on this book, and its measured discussion of how each of us simply seeks happiness and avoidance of suffering, caused me to reflect on how often each of us reduces the happiness of others and impose suffering through rudeness, harm by omission (not sharing useful information) and in other more aggressive ways.
On a global scale, and very consistent with other social science works on the complexity and inter-connectedness of the world, the book clearly addresses the urgent need for major world powers to understand that our existing life style and its damage to world resources is both unaffordable and suicidal. This book on ethics applies to Nations and to organizations, not just to individuals. It is a very elegant "dummy's guide to survival in the 21st Century."
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for some inner peace?,
In the first chapter, the Dalai Lama critiques Western civilisation in the most lucid and convincing ways. He speaks of the anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration that plague Western people's minds and causes them to suffer mentally and emotionally even though they live in relative comfort and technological advance. To his mind, this gap between outer appearance and inner reality implies confusion regarding morality and what it constitutes.
The Dalai Lama does not dispute the importance of Scientific enquiry but if we were to go to a nuclear physicist, he says, and say: "I am facing a moral dilemma, what should I do?", he or she would suggest we look elsewhere for an answer. Science is unable to tell us how we ought to act in a moral sense.
The Dalai Lama calls for a spiritual revolution. The essence of this spiritual call is acting out of concern for the well-being of others. But it also entails changing ourselves so that we become more readily disposed to do so. Thus, in essence, he calls for compassion, a lot of it. But why? Why should I become compassionate? Because by becoming so, I become more at peace with myself, happier, less prone to suffering. However, it is not easy to become compassionate overnight. So, he recommends a number of ethics that can help us so that we become more readily disposed to show compassion.
The first ethic is Restraint; and to put this quite vividly, I shall use an example he gave: the undisciplined mind is like an elephant! If left to blunder around without control, it will wreak havoc. But the best description was that if we do not restrain our selfish, negative thoughts, we effectively alienate ourselves from ourselves!
The second ethic is Virtue; this is quite simply really. Just give lots of love, be patient and tolerant, forgive, and be humble! That's all. No seriously, there are a couple of tips to help you do that.
The third ethic is Compassion. This is a kind of motivational goal; a higher spiritual state in which compassion arises without any effort, is unconditional, undifferentiated, and universal in scope.
The book extends to beyond these three ethics to societal ethics, and it also contains a chapter on Peace and Disarmament. Also, the early part of the book dwells on the nature of our consciousness.
This is the first book I have read by the Dalai Lama and is probably not going to be the last. If you're searching for some inner peace, I certainly don't think this book would harm it. But try not to read it all in one go!
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely important book that should be widely read,
It is easy, given the Dalai Lama's easy, conversational style of writing, to miss some very, very important concepts. Nearly every page of this book offers a startling insight - but you have to take your time, slow down, and notice what is being said. It is well worth the time.
One critical point is raised in the book that I wish had been explored in greater detail. The Dalai Lama expresses the opinion that the dominant culture of "unlimited economic growth" is a serious problem for all of us, both on a personal and societal level. Unfortunately, the unlimited economic growth model is something that is rarely, if ever, questioned today. Companies make money, and so do their shareholders, by growing - by selling more cars, more oil, more land, more whatever than they did last quarter. If they don't, the stock price goes down and heads roll. The problems with this economic model are so obvious in terms of the damage it inflicts on the planet and us as its inhabitants - yet we seem unable to even recognize it as a problem.
This book deals with serious problems. It forces us to look at our assumptions and behaviors as individuals and as a society. Yet it does so in a way that is ultimately hopeful - the Dalai Lama is apparently a born optimist. And I would feel a lot more optimistic myself if only there was more than one of him.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My god and Your god are equal,
By A Customer
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ever Suckers,
Nevertheless, within 30 pages, the Dalai Lama has created with precise and accessible language, a framework for understanding those things that seem ever to torment us: the divide between religion and spirituality, the mystery of causation and existence, the quandries of material progress and scientific achievement amid depression, stress and anxiety. You'd hardly believe such things could be negotiated so quickly and effortlessly, but that is a Western sucker's bet, and this genius of a man has done that and so much more.
I hesitate to give any further clues as to what he writes so clearly. Yet I can assure you that upon completing this book you will feel so much more a part of the world of humanity, that you might even be ashamed at your previous distance. That sounds hokey, for sure. But then isn't there always something reassuring about the hokey?
I loved this book. Now I feel like going out and dancing with strangers.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty and simplicity to calm the racing mind.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Ethics for the New Millennium (Paperback)Don't let the simplicity of this book overshadow the power of its message: "When the driving force of our actions is wholesome, our actions will tend automatically to contribute to others' well-being. They will thus automatically be ethical." With the courage to point out that religion is not a requirement for ethical behavior, the Dalai Dama discusses virtue, compassion, and our spiritual connection to the world. He does so as a simple and honest man without holding himself as holier than anyone else. Describing how humans can make a constructive difference on the planet, he appeals to people to tap their highest potential and to go for their personal goodness, despite the social currents that discourage one from doing so.
This is a book about discovering your ethics rather than just acting out cultural norms. If you appreciate simplicity of style and communication based on real substance, allow me to also recommend "WORKING ON YOURSELF DOESN'T WORK" by Ariel and Shya Kane. In an age of widespread doubt, these two books are refreshing reminders that the principles underlying a fulfilling life are both simple and practical.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An uplifting, intellectual work,
I think that this presentation is especially important for US culture. We need to get away from the self-centered "Me" way of thinking, and move towards "We." To stop being so selfish and start taking other people into account. You don't need a bible or someone shouting from a pulpit to tell you how to be kind and giving. It's a part of our human nature, and it's a bit of common sense thinking.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The discipline of a practical spirituality,
The Dalai Lama points to a neglect of our "inner dimension" as the fundamental cause of the disharmony of our societies. And so this book, and his call for a spiritual revolution, is a "call for a radical reorientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self. It is a call to turn toward the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognises others' interests alongside our own." He is not claiming that all we need to do is to cultivate spiritual values and then these societal problems will automatically disappear. He acknowledges the need for specific solutions to each of our problems, but "when this spiritual dimension is neglected, we have no hope of achieving a lasting solution"
Reading his wisdom and his clarity on matters that I intuit, but can't speak of with such certainty, brought a sense of relief and peace. It is an easy read, in the sense that his language is simple and clear, but it is tough in that he reminds us of the discipline and commitment it takes to develop our character and disposition to act out of concern for others, and make the rest of our life as meaningful as possible.
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Ethics for the New Millennium by Dalai Lama (Paperback - May 1, 2001)