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Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion Paperback – March 31, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A rich feast for the mind… This is a singular meeting of two intellectual traditions--and two remarkable minds and hearts.” ―Daniel Goleman

“A fresh, unique exploration of many subtle issues… on psychology and Buddhism… Full of… unexpected humor and tender surprises… They gently probe each other's system of thought with striking intellectual rigor.” ―Shambhala Sun

“Their conversations touch on questions of emotional balance, anger, and the range and limits of compassion, but a brief review can hardly do justice to the range and depth of this fine book.” ―Library Journal

About the Author

Tenzin Gyatzo, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and the head of the Tibetan government in exile. The author of The Art of Happiness, among other books, he resides in Dharamsala, India.

Paul Ekman is the world's foremost expert on facial expressions, a professor emeritus at the University of California in San Francisco, and the author of Emotions Revealed. He has served as an adviser to police departments, antiterrorism groups, and animation studios, and Ekman's research inspired Lie to Me, the FOX TV series. He lives in northern California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805090215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805090215
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been looking for someone who really would build a bridge between psychology and Buddhism. In many talks, people seem to draw similarities between buddhism and psycholgy but Paul ekman has brought to light both the similarities and differences. He asks straight questions to Dalai lama who answers with no-nonsense approach. The areas of Hatred, Mindfulness and compassion are explored in great depth. Paul Ekman is true scientist with sincere motivation to help mental health realm by borrowing Buddhist concepts. He brings his own life experiences to light in the book which adds authenticity to the discussion. Psychology focuses mainly on psychopathology whereas Buddhism is for mainly geared for normal people seeking higher happiness. However there is lot of overlap and the books brings them to light. I wish Paul Ekman had shared more about his observation apart from the conversational style. Worth reading this interesting, open and lively discussion between honest and sincere people seeking truth.
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Format: Paperback
Ekman gets a whole 39 hours with the Dalai Lama, discussing the world of emotion. The two trade personal stories and research findings, basically talking like friends at the coffee shop. How are emotions triggered? What causes the big differences in intensity, duration, and quality of emotion between people? What aspects of emotional life are shared with animals? (This comes up a lot, and it's fascinating.) What kinds of emotion have survival value? How do moods shape and limit our fields of awareness? What works in overcoming our emotional blinders towards life?

Throughout the discussion these elder gents pull in brief testimonies from social scientists or Buddhist teachers. They think up whole new directions for psychological research. It's fruitful.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are familiar with the Mind and Life institute and the many books its produced (Destructive Emotions, etc), you will find many similiar issues covered. This book goes into those "Buddhist" topics in vaster detail, with emphasis on translating many Buddhist terms into a "Western Psychology" viewpoint. This is a must have book for a broad audience, including skeptics of Buddhism, any level of Buddhist practioner, Ekman/Darwin fans or anyone interested in psychology/self-help in general. Ekman and the Dalai Lama have a unique bond, and this book brings out a wealth of information in a conversasion type format. Throughout the book you will find many excerpts ranging from half a page to over a page long from the likes of B. Alan Wallace, Paul Ekman, Geshe Dorji Damdul, and many others. The only thing that might steer you away if you are looking for information only on body language/facial expressions, which Paul Ekman has written some books on.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book that sheds some light on some of the buddhism, as it applies to phycology. both The Dahli Lama and Dr. Eckman are very insightful and opinionated. there were a number of questions that get good answers about how the mind works and processes emotion.

This is a good book for Buddhists who want a insight from modern medicine on their practice. Also a good read for people who understand Phycology and want a to know what the whole Buddhist thing is about. Also it is a good read for anyone who is interested on how the mind works. it has some good food for thought, as well as does a good job of putting into words what is going on in our minds.

Be warned though, It is in Interview style with short essays interwoven for clarity and as they apply. it takes a little getting use to, but it is well worth it. It is like sitting down and listening to two extremely intelligent people talk at a coffee shop and having the time to look stuff up you don't get.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The ideas and opinions that are shared by the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman are absolutely invaluable. It is also a very good comedy album in some places because it is edited together pretty poorly. Richard Geere did not do an exceptional job of reading the lines...to be kind. It might have helped if he and Ekman had been in the same room. I guess we will never know.
If you are like me, you can get through the deficits to the real gems that are inherent in the conversations. I simply can't more strongly recommend it.
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Format: Audio CD
This augmented transcript of talk between these two men highlights several interesting ideas and the best and most helpful information comes out when they drop any pretense of being "learned" and just talk like a couple of guys. I listened to the audio book and Richard Gere plays the part of the Dahli Lama, affecting the speech pattern with a curious tone and pace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of us function like zombies, reacting to the external world without being aware of what we feel or how we are affected by our responses. Until we recognize the emotions that appear in our consciousness, we surrender to other powers. This program led by an enlightened psychology professor is an eye and mind opener to me. Awareness will bring us to acceptance then resolution of unfavorable emotions.

Understanding your feelings and how to deal with them can foster a balanced life and happier existence.
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Format: Paperback
This is not my first rodeo, and by that I mean that I have read other books written by the Dalai Lama and someone else. So I knew it would basically be a dialog.

I'll be honest—I had never heard of Paul Ekman before. I'm not a psychologist, and I have never taken a psychology course in college. I purchased this book because of the Dalai Lama's name. I did look up Paul Ekman, and he's certainly made a name for himself.

One critical review suggested that Ekman talked too much—that the book was mostly Ekman. This reviewer was only interested in what the Dalai Lama had to say. While it is true that Ekman does command much of the conversation, and it may seem a little one-side, he did come up with the agenda and questions. It's obvious that Ekman has studied and reflected upon these concepts himself. We should not discount what Ekman says simply because he is not the spiritual leader of Tibet. The whole point of their discussion was to blend science and Buddhist psychology—two very different approaches to similar concepts with a tremendous amount of overlap. From what I read, I felt Ekman was more than up to the task.

I won't say that I was riveted—the book was not a page turner. Reading this book required concentration and reflection. It was hard to wrap my head around some of the Buddhist concepts, like the mindfulness as the Dalai Lama described it. The subtleties can be tricky. So, I read perhaps five to ten pages a day.

I found the ideas interesting and relevant. When I was finished, I flipped through the pages only to realize how much pencil I used underlining and taking notes.

The only negative point of the book—for me—was that I found the interspersal of short articles throughout the book distracting.
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