From Publishers Weekly
Mehrotra assembles a Buddhist primer in this small collection of the Dalai Lama's thoughts on meditation, suffering, karma, enlightenment and other issues. Brevity is the book's greatest strength and greatest weakness: it is accessible, certainly, but the tiny topical sections do little more than scratch the surface of complex issues. His Holiness dispatches with compassion, a foundation of Buddhist thought, in a mere five pages; karmic consequences merit just three. And while the book aims for some practicality-including a chapter on how to meditate, for example-the approach is less hands-on than other Buddhist introductions. Although there are some gems scattered throughout, including a beautiful rumination on death as a spiritual practice, the book's unfocused structure does not make the most of these. All of the chapters have been cobbled together from the Dalai Lama's previous talks (with almost no information about where and when those talks occurred), meaning both that there is no truly original material here and that there is often little connection or flow between one chapter and another.
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About the Author
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Born on July 6, 1935, he was the 5th of 16 children from a farming family in the Tibetan province of Amdo. When he was two years old, he was proclaimed the tulku (rebirth) of the 13th Dalai Lama. At the age of 15, he was enthroned as Tibet's Head of State and most important political ruler, as Tibet faced occupation by the forces of the People's Republic of China. After the collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he was active in establishing the Central Tibetan Administration (the Tibetan government in exile) and in seeking to preserve Tibetan culture and education among the thousands of refugees who accompanied him. A charismatic figure and noted public speaker, His Holiness is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West. There, he has helped spread Buddhism and promote the concepts of universal responsibility, secular ethics, and religious harmony. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his distinguished writings and his leadership in the solution of international conflicts, human rights issues, and global environmental problems.