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Dalai Lama On What Matters Most: Conversations on Anger, Compassion, and Action [Paperback]

Dalai Lama & Noriyuki Ueda

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Book Description

15 Sep 2013

In conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In April of 2006, the prominent Japanese cultural anthropologist Noriyuki Ueda sat down with the Dalai Lama for a two day conversation. This book is based on that long and lively conversation in Dharamsala.

In this little book, the two men explore whether there is a place in religious practice for anger against social injustice, the role of competition in spiritual life, conditional versus unconditional love, and the soullessness of materialism.

One of the real pleasures of this book is the Dalai Lama's uncharacteristic candor. For example:

'I am not only a socialist but also a bit of a leftist, a Communist.'

'I hold the position of a high monk, a big lama. Unless I exercise self restraint, there is every possibility for me to exploit others.'

He also argues that rather than suppressing anger, Buddhism embraces using anger to precipitate social change. In other words anger can be an important spiritual practice. This book offers a unique perspective on the Dalai Lama's political and spiritual views. And it guides the reader through the complex reality of what it means to practice compassion in the here and now.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Book Description

Conversations on Anger, Compassion and Action. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Noriyuki Ueda is a well-known Japanese author, lecturer and social anthropologist. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Short Read for Anyone Seeking Answers in a Troubling World 16 Nov 2013
By Scott Haraburda - Published on
Another book on Buddhism and its meanings about life. Dalai Lama on What Matters Most: Conversations on Anger, Compassion, and Action is a two-day interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in December 2006 by Dr. Noriyuki Ueda. The author is currently a Professor at the Centre for Liberal Arts and the Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan.

The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the 14th in the line of Dalai Lamas. The first was born in 1391. Each is believed to be the reincarnation of his predecessors. Born in 1935 and installed as the Dalai Lama in 1940, he ruled Tibet until the Chinese invasion in 1950. He fled to India in 1959. However, he’s the leader of the Tibetan government in exile centered in Dharmsala, India. And in 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent efforts to liberate his homeland.

With well over 100 books, much has been written about his life and his teachings. So, what’s different about this book? I couldn’t find anything different, even though it’s a transcription of an interview and could serve as historical document for future research.

Still, throughout this book, one can find useful teachings that could help explain the meanings in life. The first set of messages involve what Buddhism can offer. We read about a conversation stating that we need a compassionate society because we are social animals. Further, many in society today believe that money is the most fundamental thing in our life. For them, though, money can’t console them when they’re in a desperate situation. This leads to a society becoming aggressive. Unrecognized by them is that “human affection is much stronger and more useful than money.”

Second set of messages in this book involve compassionate anger. We should understand that “religion based on faith alone can end up as mysticism.” To move beyond faith, we should become skeptical about its teachings since this produces questions, which lead to answers through investigations. Only after we know something, we can truly accept and believe in it. Anger is not always a bad thing. If it’s based or motivated by compassion with the desire to correct a social injustice and doesn’t seek to harm anyone, it’s a productive thing.

Third set of messages involve love. If we judge everything on a material level, we won’t be able to recognize any other values. The most important things in life include these human values, along with having (and being) compassionate friends. When people treat others like property, that’s attachment and not love.

Although this book didn’t contain anything new, it still contains useful information. Yet, if you want to know more about the Dalai Lama and his teachings, I recommend you read the following books instead: 1) the 1998 interview with Dr. Howard C. Cutler in the book The Art of Happiness; 2) its updated book in 2009 The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World; or 3) the 2003 book containing his talks in London as edited by Dominique Side A Simple Path: Basic Buddhist Teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama on What Matters Most contains valuable information about life and what we should do to realize meaning. A good short read for anyone seeking answers in a troubling world.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not available to download on all e readers, including most kindles. 6 April 2014
By Darksong - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I strongly suggest checking to see if you can read this on your e reader before buying it. Even though I own a kindle and have the kindle for pc, I can't read this on either.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read! 18 Jan 2014
By pdqkemp - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Everyone should read this book. This book has opened my eyes so much, I wish everyone I knew read it.
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it 28 Jun 2014
By mary - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
wonderful book, I was intrigued with both the insights of the Dalai Lama and the author.
5.0 out of 5 stars always good to read 18 Jun 2014
By Lisa Wrabek - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Informal revelations of the Dalai Lama's humor and insights. Easy, fast reading for busy people who want to get enlightened quickly.
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