As a newbie to Buddhism, i found the book overall easy to read with complex concepts such as emptiness and clear light simplified enough to grasp at a high level. The book has certainly increased my interest in Buddhism and is a welcome departure from other established religions.
Well-written and inspiring guide to practising Buddhism, with practical steps to take such as meditations, prayer, actions to take or avoid, and things to think about during your day. However, because it is an introduction to more or less all of Buddha's teachings, and all the steps to enlightenment, be prepared for a challenge! The book begins with explanations of Buddhist morality, and how to meditate. Then later chapters of the book focus on Buddhist wisdom, such as the extremely complex concept of 'emptiness'. Furrowed brows are guaranteed. As another reviewer pointed out, Douglas Adams referred to this concept as 'Simultaneous tea and no tea'. I love that analogy, but I still don't understand it really!
Fortunately, the Dalai Lama does not expect us to truly understand these philosophical concepts until we have practised morality and meditation for many years, but they are included so that the book can serve as a complete overview of the Buddhist path to Enlightenment. I recommend this book if you wish to commit yourself to Tibetan Buddhism, and wish to know where you may be going, and the basic steps of how to get there.
Encouragingly, the Dalai Lama regularly assures us that this stuff is not easy, and at the end of the book, he says that we should only do that which we feel would help us, particularly if we are from different faiths. This is an example of the kindness and understanding of the author of the book.
As well as having this book as an encouraging overview and reference, I recommend books by Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a Zen Buddhist monk. Choose a title that appeals to you, as I have yet to read a book by him that is not excellent. They are beautifully and clearly written, and concentrate more on mindfulness. In this way, you can get the benefit of two schools of Buddhist thought. For further explanations of the concepts introduced in 'How to Practise', I would recommend The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching
(NB - I would personally avoid books by Kelsang Gyatso, even though they seem to have glowing reviews. Gyatso is the leader of a Buddhist sect, that some have called a cult. Also, his books just aren't very good.)
I have many books written by the Dalai Lama and they are all excellent. This one is no exception either, and is beautifully written. For anyone who really does want to find their way to a meaningful life, this book will help them acheive it. I have now read it several times and with each reading discover something new, to help me to acheive that better, more meaningful way of life. If that is something that you are looking for, look no furhter than this book.
I really like this book. The Dalai Lama has managed to condense an enormous number of Buddhist teachings, including the Heart Sutra and Tantra, into a very practical guide. I think the book is suitable for both people new to Buddhism and those with a lot of experience.
For those new to Buddhism, the Dalai Lama gives a clear explanation of the basics and how to incorporate some of the changes into your life but don‘t worry the text is not over run with Buddhist terms and imagery. There’s enough substance for you to immediately start meditating and maybe inspire you to find out more.
For experienced practitioners I think it is a fabulous guide book to remind you of the path and the anecdotes from the Dalai Lama’s own life are inspirational.
I have sometimes found books by the Dalai Lama a little difficult to read but thoroughly enjoyed this one.