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266 of 277 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Practice Peace and Kindness
This book by H.H. the Dalai Lama may be read by those wishing an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and by those wishing to begin or develop their practice.

The Dalai Lama attempts to answer the basic question: "How can people be happy?" His answer outlines a path of spiritual growth and practice. Although based upon Tibetan Buddhism, there is wisdom in the...
Published on March 28, 2002 by Robin Friedman

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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as some others
I seem to be the one dissenting opinion, but I have read almost everything written by and about His Holiness, and this is definitely the one I would recommend last. I felt it lacked the down-to-earth quality that I usually find in his work, that it included a lot of unnecessary detail and that listening to the cd was tedious and lifeless. Experienced practitioners will...
Published on August 24, 2003 by Marilyn Sullivan


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266 of 277 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Practice Peace and Kindness, March 28, 2002
By 
This book by H.H. the Dalai Lama may be read by those wishing an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and by those wishing to begin or develop their practice.

The Dalai Lama attempts to answer the basic question: "How can people be happy?" His answer outlines a path of spiritual growth and practice. Although based upon Tibetan Buddhism, there is wisdom in the book for anybody seeking spiritual growth, within or without any specific religious practice.

The book consists of six short sections. It begins with a brief discussion of the life of the Buddha which, as the Dalai Lama points out, encompasses the basic teachings of the Buddhist path: morality, concentrated meditation and wisdom. The Dalai Lama then explains the basis of each teaching in short chapters. It is good that the book gives its focus to moral practice -- curing anger, lust, hatred, and agression and wishing well to oneself and others.

Chapter III of the book discusses meditation practices and will introduce the beginner to the value of meditation and to several meditation techniques. The Dalai Lama stresses the need for consistent practice and for patience and for the need of controlling one's expectations.

There are several chapters which discuss the difficult but key Buddhist teaching of dependent origination. Much of this material the Dalai Lama also covers in an earlier book called "The Meaning of Life."

There is a concluding section on Tantra, a uniquely Tibetan practice. I think it is better for the average person to remain with the practices of morality and concentration described earlier in the book.

Some of the unique features of this book are the Dalai Lama's anecdotes of his life in Tibet before the Chinese Invasion of 1950 and of his teachers. There is a substantial discussion of sexuality in the book and of how it may be used (and abused) in the search for peace and kindness. (pages 192-196) There is a translation of the Heart Sutra, a key Buddhist text with a commentary by the Dalai Lama. (159-163)

I found the Dalai Lama's concluding paragraph captures much of the tenor and the value of this book (page 223):

"Though my own knowledge is limited and my experience is also very poor, I have tried my best to help you understand the full breadth of the Buddha's teaching. Please implement whatever in these pages appears to be helpful. If you follow another religion, please adopt whatever might assist you. If you do not think it would be helpful, just leave it alone."
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146 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddhism for Beginners, March 19, 2002
By 
E. Thompson (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am completely new to Buddhism and am thoroughly impressed by the Dalai Lama's clear, simple explanation. He effectively describes how even a complete Western beginner like myself can begin to end suffering by practicing. Throughout the book, the Dalai Lama's enlightenment and compassion shine off of the pages through modest stories of his life and experiences. The Dalai Lama starts out the book with the basics of Buddhist morality, moves on to the practice of meditation, and ends with the details of wisdom and tantra. There are images for meditation, lists of moral and amoral thoughts and deeds, and even a short explanation of the concept of emptiness.
Most striking of all is the Dalai Lama's comment at the very end of the book, "Though my own knowledge is limited and my experience is also very poor, I have tried my best to help you understand the full breadth of the Buddha's teaching." With these words, the Dalai Lama sets a startling example for the aspiring student by both showing humility and providing a reminder of the breadth and depth of Buddhist enlightenment. I higly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in beginning to follow the Buddhist path.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great deal of wisdom for people of all faiths, February 24, 2002
By 
Many people choose not to read the books by his Holiness the Dalai Lama because they believe that this will offend or counter their own religious beliefs. Quite to the contrast, everybody can take the simple practices of this book to better their everyday lives.
One line in this book has stood out in the my mind. "You should realize that difficult present circumstances are entirely due to your own past undisciplined actions, so when you experience a difficult period, do you best to avoid behavior that will add to the burden later on." (p 38). This is just one example of the suggestions given to living a more fulfilling life. I believe that he is right in his suggestion that money and posessions will not make a person happy in life. Each of us must discover what gives meaning to our life. To find this is really not that difficult as His Holiness reveals where it lies.
This book is highly recommended for anybody seeking personal and spiritual growth.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multi leveled book for practicing Buddhists, August 6, 2005
This review is from: How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life (Paperback)
This is not really an introductory Buddhist text, although the previous reviews suggest that some (but not all) non-Buddhists have gained by reading it. Rather, it's title exactly describes it - if you are a practicing Buddhist, it tells you "How To Practice".

Of course, there is no single way to practice - in fact, there are at least 84,000 ways to practice spread over many traditions (Theravadan (SE Asia), Mahayanan (Zen, Pure Land), and Vajrayana (Tibetan). This book is primarily written for Tibetan Buddhists, but the guidelines are sufficiently broad that I have given this book to Zen and Theravaden Buddhists who found much to agree about.

The book is broken into three major sections - mirroring the three fold grouping often applied to the 8-fold path: morality, meditation and wisdom. The book also introduces the Tantric methods of Vajrayanan Buddhism.

Each chapter covers it's topic in a clear, concise fashion, and ends with a "Summary for Daily Practice". This helps tie the writing (which can be somewhat theoretical) into the title of the book "How To Practice".

The first section introduces the Four Noble Truths, and expands upon them and finally brings them to ground in practices such as such as the Four Wholesum Practices, the Six Perfections, etc.

The second section is a brief but very clear introduction to various types of meditation, including analytical and stabilizing meditation, etc. I have loaned the book to other practitioners and they agree that this is a great book to loan to beginners.

The third section is about Wisdom - the nature of reality and relative and ultimate truth (and for those of you who are really dedicated - emptiness). He ties all of this together with brief analysis of the Heart Sutra.

The book is only 220-odd pages long. This means it is just a brief overview. A Tibetan scholar (Geshe) will spend 18 years studying 1000's of pages covering these topics. However, in one way of looking at it the book is far too long. A student of Zen might say the whole answer is contained in one Koan or statement such as "Go Straight". And that too is the nature of Buddhism - it is both so huge and ulitmately so simple.

Myself? I am at amazon.com to buy 5 copies as gifts for new practitioners (generosity of Dharma - one of the 6 perfections). That means it gets my highest personal rating, as I wouldn't give away anything that didn't meet the highest standards.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creating Peace of Mind, March 14, 2002
By A Customer
This book demonstrates how ordinary daily activities can become a form of spiritual practice. It explains there are two basic ways to create happiness: External and internal. By obtaining material goods we find satisfaction externally. Through internal development, we develop even greater happiness. This book teaches that developing peace of mind helps us manifest both types of happiness. I also highly recommend a book of Buddhist wisdom titled 'Open Your Mind, Open Your Life' by Taro Gold, which is a great companion book to the works of the Dalai Lama.
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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as some others, August 24, 2003
By 
I seem to be the one dissenting opinion, but I have read almost everything written by and about His Holiness, and this is definitely the one I would recommend last. I felt it lacked the down-to-earth quality that I usually find in his work, that it included a lot of unnecessary detail and that listening to the cd was tedious and lifeless. Experienced practitioners will already be familiar with the information presented here, and those new to Tibetan Buddhism can find much more dynamic and practical presentations than this one (e.g. Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart; Path to Tranquility; Ethics for the New MIllenium, etc.)
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a Buddhist to read this book!, October 1, 2002
By 
Wendy Lin (Palo Alto, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Don't think that you should be interested in Buddism to read this book. This book is for people from all cultures, all religions, and ideologies. His Holiness The Dalai Lama is one of the more enlightened spiritual leaders we have in this world today. In his tireless work toward world peace, he has risen above the boundaries of religion, culture, race, and ideologies. In this book, the Dalai Lama has provided an instruction manual to live a meaningful and happy life. It is not quite a self-help book for people who are lost. It is more a direction for people who wants to explore deeper into this live that we are living. To me, it is more a philosophy than a religion. Read it, and come back to it a few years later. With your life experience expanding, you will find different things in this book to inspire you.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Forgiveness, and Compassion, December 4, 2005
I was lucky enough to see the Dalai Lama give a lecture in person. And, surprisingly, he's very funny! He had the entire rutgars stadium laughing!

But I digress. This book is truly beautiful. You know that feeling you get in your heart when everything is right with the world and you are filled with so much love that you want to explode? That's the feeling I get every time I read this book.

This really helped me find the path. With simple teachings of love, you are drawn right to the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. This book helps you cultivate selfless love, begin meditating (something I couldn't understand before this book), and ultimately live a better life.

This, like many of the Dalai Lama's books, is not meant exclusively for Buddhists. He hardly even focuses on The Buddha. Instead, The Dalai Lama draws from his personal experiences and all that he has learned in his lifetime to convey the need for love and peace in your life.

I cannot even begin to describe how remarkable this book is. Please read this!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAKE EACH DAY A SPIRITUAL PART OF LIFE'S JOURNEY, January 17, 2002
By 
Sandra D. Peters "Seagull Books" (Prince Edward Island, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a strong believer in Buddhist Philosophies, I have read the majority of the Dalai Lama's books and, to date, each and every one is deserving of a five star rating and more. His words of wisdom resound around the world and have been respected by many individuals regardless of their religion or personal beliefs.
This book demonstrates how our daily living can become a spiritual awareness and covers such topics as meditation and visual exercises. While the Dalai Lama's teachings are not always easy to implement adhere to, he would invariably point out that "life itself is not easy." Living a life of peace and contentment generally means taking a look inside one's self and weeding out the negative and self-defeating habits and attitudes. Like all the Dalai Lama's books, this one in highly enlightening and filled with important aspects of life that many individuals take for granted and never seriously stop to ponder. The book is highly recommended and worth a multitude of stars.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book....a little history, some practical exercises, but at times a little complex for me, January 16, 2006
By 
Quentin J. Lewis "bigqueue" (Leicester, Massachusetts USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life (Paperback)
I'm not sure if my title suggests that I like it or have reservations.....well, I thought it was a great read.

It has a good bit of history about not only Tibet, the Dalai Lama, but also a fair bit about Buddhism. This is ALL of course critical to understanding from where these ideals came from.

The Dalai Lama is very open, tolerant and in fact positive about people of other religions. In fact, he does in fact seem to be true to his introduction in that the book isn't so much trying to convert you to Buddhism as to convince you why these Buddhist values and practices are valuable to people of all religion. (and the Nihilist as well) He of course presents his arguments from the Buddhist perspective as you would fully expect.

OK, but after all the above glowing about the book, I have to admit that there were several chapters in the final third of the book that I mildly confusing. I think I was confused because many of the unfamilar terms and definitions he creates were getting lost and confused in my head.

I am a Christian, and while most of the low-level values (good and evil) are quite familiar to me.....some of the writings on meditation were quite new to me, yet very educational and interesting. But some of the other concepts....oh, like the definitions of the various types of suffering (suffering of change, pervasive suffering) were difficult for me to remember and ultimately made it difficult to follow some of the writings in those chapters.

I have to admit that this is probably totally my own fault as I had decided to sit down and read the book in a single sitting, and did so without stopping. (and no, I didn't have a gun to my own head, even with the above confusion, I did enjoy it totally...a second reading will probably clear it all up for me)

The end of the book seemed to pull it all together for me, and as I read it it allowed me to mull over all the concepts presented in the prior chapters. I highly recommend you read this book, particularly if you are yourself looking for meaning and more value for your life.
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How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life
How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by Dalai Lama (Paperback - August 19, 2003)
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