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Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World Hardcover – December 6, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An impressive guide for teaching religious tolerance and respect to readers of all ages."
--Kirkus Reviews

"This wise, humane book, an original work rather than a collection of talks, is an incisive statement of His Holiness’s thinking on ways to bring peace to a suffering world. "
--Publishers Weekly

Book Description

HMH Hardcover, 2011
Previous ISBN 978-0-547-63635-1
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; None edition (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547636350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547636351
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I always learn something from reading/listening to H.H. the Dalai Lama. It doesn't matter that I'm not Buddhist. It doesn't matter that when listening to him, sometimes I struggle a bit with his accent (perhaps this is good, as I listen more closely). I always learn--and go away with the resolve to be a bit kinder, a bit more compassionate.

This book is no exception. It was a book I could only read a few pages of...before needing to think and contemplate what I read. I suppose I could have read it all in one night, but then I wouldn't have gotten as much out of it. It reminded me a lot of Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (Borzoi Books) Which I also highly recommend if you want to explore Compassion more.

The title, "Beyond Religion" may be off-putting to some--especially Americans who tend to love to identify their belief in God. Even though Western Europe may have more self-professed atheists/agnostics, the point is not that God is not necessary...but that there are certain values/ethics which do and should go beyond whatever religion one professes to believe. These are universal ethics...universal truths...such as compassion. If we, as a World, would look at the vast inequality which exists today and would operate out of a universal ethic of compassion--we'd have less inequality, less hunger, less wars, less problems.

In one part of the book, H.H. says he is sympathetic to Marxist/Socialism due to all of the inequality he sees--and I realize this might be off-putting for some. Please, go beyond it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In ninth grade religious school, I attended a weekly class in ethics, a class oriented toward discussing, wrestling with and debating contemporary ethical issues. That experience had a lasting impact upon me, leading me to begin a lifelong process of defining and redefining my values, and attempting (too often unsuccessfully) to live in accordance with them. Inevitably then, I was drawn to read BEYOND RELIGION: ETHICS FOR A WHOLE WORLD.

BEYOND RELIGION by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, addresses the need for us today to commit "to developing and applying inner values in our daily lives." Due to the waning influence of religion in the western world, to a loosening of ethical standards in the media, and the lack of responsible values-oriented parenting in millions of families, many of us lack a moral center of gravity, and are easily swayed by external influences.

Even those who are religious may not have internalized their values. Such internalization is not gained through commandments directed at the superego and beginning "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not." Rather, it involves the embracing of one's values at a cellular level, so that they penetrate into our very core and become an inner foundation directing every action.

Ethics may be one facet of religion but we do not have to subscribe to a particular religion in order to cultivate a personal and social ethical orientation. The Dalai Lama - although he does present Buddhist precepts in regard to ethical action, levels of understanding and kinds of generosity - takes a nonsecular approach. Clearly, and with a rare blend of simplicity and profundity, he delineates attitudes and practices that can enable us to live more consciously, compassionately and ethically.
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Format: Hardcover
Beyond Religion is a great book for people who would like to have a spiritual life or develop a spiritual path without participating in a religious tradition. The practice of religion is dwindling in the world, and the Dalia Lama, as always a visionary, believes it's time for the world to move beyond religion to a system of ethics and compassion. The great thing about Buddhism and the Dalia Lama is that they both are adept at teaching concrete physical, mental and verbal practices that help us transform our minds and behaviors. It's one thing to simply say that we must all be more compassionate and equanimous, but in Beyond Religion the Dalia Lama tells us what we can do to strengthen these qualities within us and why it is helpful to do so. One does not have to be a Buddhist to grasp these principals, but a strength of the Buddhist tradition is that it has developed many practical exercises over two millennia for training the mind and developing our spirit.

One of the most interesting things the Dalia Lama says in this book is that almost all the world's problems can be traced back to a failure of individual morality. If we can all develop and strengthen our inner values then we truly can transform the world.

I would recommend Beyond Religion to people who were not very familiar with Buddhism, but were interested in developing a spiritual path-- especially outside of a religious tradition-- and in training their mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third book I have read by the Dalai Lama. Each time, I'm kinda thinking... will this book really have anything new that I haven't read in the previous books? And then I discover that the answer is unequivocally... yes. This Dalai Lama is a thinker and spiritual leader who has added greatly to my understanding and appreciation of life.
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