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The Wisdom of Forgiveness Paperback – August 2, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Riverhead Trade Paperback Edition edition (August 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594480923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594480928
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Do you hate the Chinese?" Chan asked the Dalai Lama when they first met in India in 1972. It was a live question, since Chan hailed from the country that had forced the Tibetan spiritual leader into exile and subjugated the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama replied immediately with the English word "no," then stated through an interpreter that he had forgiven the Chinese and did not blame China's people. Drawing on Buddhist principles, this book loosely discusses His Holiness's ideas on forgiveness, though Chan presents them gently through stories, not didactically as a step-by-step how-to manual. For example, one chapter arises in the context of the Dalai Lama's travels in war-torn Belfast, where he spoke about forgiveness to the families of victims of terrorist attacks. To research this book, Chan traveled with the Dalai Lama off and on for several years, spent time with him at home and conducted numerous interviews. Apart from the expected teachings on forgiveness, what comes through most clearly is the personality of the Dalai Lama himself: his humor, playfulness and joy. We learn that he had something of a temper as a young man and that he can't resist pulling men's beards. Somehow, the book's serious call to forgiveness becomes all the more engaging and possible because of the Dalai Lama's own lighthearted spirit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Incredibly touching. -- New York Post

What comes through most clearly is the personality of the Dalai Lama himself: his humor, playfulness and joy. -- Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

Thanks for a great read and valuable insight.
Barbara Gilday
I particularly like the way in which he uses his very words, such that one almost sounds like him if you read the text out loud.
It is a compelling read, packed with stories and anecdotes.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By abunaiyo on September 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Imagine for a moment that you have a good friend who just happens to be in the Dalai Lama's inner circle of friends. Now imagine that you have the opportunity to spend time with this friend, hearing about his travels and conversations with His Holiness, relishing every minute detail.

This is the feel that I got while reading Victor Chan's book. He presents a very personal account of his time spent with the Dalai Lama, unlike other books that tend to be more academic or intellectual. As a result, the reader is able to see the Dalai Lama in a different light. It's like viewing Mount Fuji from an angle different from the picture postcard; still the same beautiful mountain but with new angles and lines.

Some of Chan's descriptions border on the unbelievable. Did His Holiness really say that about the gun? And did he really say that about wanting to exact revenge on the Chinese soldier (if a certain situation arose)? And did His Holiness really say that to Oprah? These passages give "The Wisdom of Forgiveness" its uniqueness and color.

Some readers may criticize Chan's personal descriptions, especially his focus on his Chinese ancestry and how ironic that he, of all people, has become a close friend of His Holiness. I was not bothered by it; it seemed consistent with and relevant to his very personal account.

For those seeking general knowledge of the Dalai Lama, read "Freedom in Exile". To learn his world view, check out "Ethics For the New Millenium". But for a personal, sometimes surprising, and enjoyable account of the Dalai Lama, consider reading this book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There is a Hasidic story that tells how some devoted students followed their Rebbe (a Hasidic teacher and spiritual master) as closely as they could during the course of a day -- not only to classes and meals, but at home, shopping trips, in the bedroom, in the bathroom and the like. One of the students was asked what purpose this attention served during the times the Rebbe was not engaged in teaching. The Hasid replied that "I don't follow the Rebbe just to hear him teach. I follow him to learn how he ties his shoe-laces".

I was reminded of this story in reading Victor Chan's account of his meetings with H.H. the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Mr. Chan wants to impress upon the reader the force of associating with a holy person. There is much to be learned from the contact with such a person, with observing his demeanor, small talk, daily routines and attitudes towards others. Spiritual growth and inspiration can be imparted from these contacts, just as with formal teachings.

Mr. Chan first met the Dalai Lama in 1972 in a roundabout, virtually accidental way following his graduation from college. He subsequently became interested in Buddhism and Tibet, writing a travel guidebook to the latter, and gaining the confidence and friendship of the Dalai Lama. Mr. Chan's book, "The Wisdom of Forgiveness" consists of nineteen short chapters in which he accompanies the Dalai Lama on various journeys, interviews him repeatedly and at length, and shares in his day-to-day activities.

Thus, the book shifts from place-to-place as Mr Chan joins the Dalai Lama on trips to Ireland, Norway, on pilgrimages to Buddhist holy sites in India, and in the Dalai Lama's headquarters in Dharamsala, India.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Thompson on December 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I too am a loving fan of the Dalai Lama and have read 3 other books. I was particularly interested in reading this book as I ended a loveless friendship after 27 years and wanted to quelch the flames of resentment. The book is well written and a wonderful look at the wise heart of the Dalai Lama. I loved reading it! That said, this is not a self-help book. It reviews compassion as the path to forgiveness, but it doesn't tell you how -- that's up to the reader to find out through their own journey. It is an inspiring book and a heart-warming read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Massey on August 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There are so many books out featuring the Dalai Lama's face on the cover. But after reading even a few lines, it becomes apparent that this one is different. Like the holy man himself, this book has a warm heart. It's a surprisingly easy and wholly engaging read, a rich story rather than dense teachings weighted down by abstruse Buddhist terminology. Through the eyes of Victor Chan, friend and confidant of His Holiness, we are invited to become intimately acquainted with the Dalai Lama. We follow the leader of the Tibetan people as he travels extensively, encountering world leaders, visionaries and other highly appointed and influential individuals. We join Chan as the proverbial fly on the wall, gaining privileged access into the public and private world of one of the greatest men of our times. For those who are Buddhists and familiar with the teachings of the Dalai Lama, this book brings them just that much closer to gaining spiritual insight and a fuller understanding of a man they love. For the rest of us, it introduces a person whose wisdom is directly relevant to our lives, a man who speaks a universal language and offers hope for a world plagued with poverty, war and injustice. Chan deftly weaves each chapter with vivid anecdotes and lively dialogue. As a storyteller, he is first rate. He shows us how the Dalai Lama interacts and relates with others. We observe the monk's immense capacity for joy, his sense of playfulness and mirth, his humility and honesty. At the same time, we gain an inkling of the depth of his humanity; we learn of his personal spiritual milestones; we read accounts and are inspired by his unwavering commitment to the tenets of selflessness, peace, compassion, and forgiveness.Read more ›
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