The Essential Dalai Lama: His Important Teachings

The Essential Dalai Lama: His Important Teachings

  • $30.00
    Unit price per 
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.

Book Specification

Item Code: IDI876
Author: Rajiv Mehrotra
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 0143101307
Pages: 258
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.4"X 5.3"

Book Description

Back side of the book

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the pre-eminent spiritual teacher of our times. He reaches out across nations, religions and ideologies, even as he embodies the highest aspirations of the Buddhist Path. His writings and ideas have impacted millions worldwide; to many he is a living Buddha. This substantive selection brings together the best, most important and useful of his teachings and insights.

Edited by Rajiv Mehrotra, a personal student of His Holiness, the book focuses on the Buddhist and secular perspectives which form the basis of the Dalai Lama's engaging and universally accessible philosophy-the techniques of achieving a happy, ethical and enlightened life, even as we can and must make a difference to a world plagued by individual and collective suffering. It enables us to understand ourselves and see our lives afresh, from work and relationships to meditation and religious practice. Articulated in his characteristically appealing voice, The Essential Dalai Lama combines practical advice and techniques with a compassion that transforms us.

This is the perfect compilation for all admirers of His Holiness's writings and for anyone yet to be introduced to his compelling wisdom.


The Foundation for Universal Responsibility is honoured, blessed and privileged to offer this introductory collection of writings by one of the great spiritual teachers and philosophers of our time Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.

While drawing upon his training and primary commitment to the Tibetan Buddhist Mahayana Gelupa tradition this collection essentially offers the Dalai Lama's teachings and perspectives on Buddhism, its interface with other traditions, the cultivation of universal ethical values and the pursuit of happiness.

The Dalai Lama reaches out to a global following with a vision that is transforming, secular and accessible to all. The essence of his teachings lies in powerful methods of training the mind and a wisdom that juxtaposes a profound expression of compassion bred from insights into patterns of inter-connectedness that lead inevitably to an activist sense of universal responsibility. His vision touches potent personal chords and invigorates our common humanity.

Buddha hood is not the exclusive preserve of the historical Buddha, but a state of insight and being, accessible to all humans. Though the Dalai Lama himself is at pains not to stake such a claim, describing himself as merely a 'simple Buddhist monk', millions of his followers, both Tibetans and others, regard him as a 'Living Buddha'. He is revered as a reincarnation of the compassionate Buddha, Avalokteshwara, the fourteenth incarnation in the line of Dalai Lamas-bodhisattvas, who choose to reincarnate to provide spiritual and temporal leadership to Tibetans and to teach and serve all humanity.

Being ascribed the qualities of a Buddha has not obliged the Dalai Lama to play out that role to nurture an image he must serve. People identify with him because he is intensely human and quick to acknowledge that he is fallible and that his own quest is a long journey only just begun. He has not hesitated, for the sake of appearances, to acknowledge that he experiences emotions such as anger every day, or that, on occasion, on seeing a beautiful woman, he has to remind himself that he is a monk.

The methods and the wisdom that His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches draw upon not just scriptural authority but the passion, the clarity and the power that can only come when accumulated wisdom carries with it the eloquent authority and conviction of lived experience, belief and logic. To this day the Dalai Lama, even as the pre-eminent Buddhist teacher, continues a rigorous, daily personal practice of receiving new teaching on traditions and techniques, from other lamas and teachers, that can and must be handed down only through personal oral transmission. It is a powerful and real humility that drives his continuing quest for perfection and insight into the true nature of a reality that penetrates all delusion. He himself continually engages in and evolves the very practices that he teachers. Because he himself is open about acknowledging his own mundane emotions and experiences is able to empathize and relate to us the better, we who are deep in the illusions of samsara.

He combines rationality, humanism and religious tradition as the foundations for the moral responses to the great challenges of our century. He has sought to learn, and wants Buddhism also to learn, from the modern discoveries of science and through closer contact with other faith traditions of how, together, a deeper understanding of the ultimate nature of reality and ultimate truth (if there is one) might emerge.

The Dalai Lama has argued that religion must be willing to modify its understanding and assumptions, if the empiricism and instruments of science prove some of its myths and assumptions are wrong. If the latest techniques of photography prove that Mt. Meru does not exist here on earth we must accept that. It does not mean, however, that just because science cannot validate the principle of reincarnation, for instance, that it is false. If the Bible evokes a more proactive idea of service than the Buddhist concept of the Bodhisattva, indeed Buddhism can learn from it and celebrate it as he does. The Dalai Lama engages in a weeklong dialogue each year with eminent scientists from around the world. It is an opportunity to learn form them, and for them to learn from him. He has introduced the study of science in the monk's curriculum. For him and his flock of minks there are frequent in depth exchanges with practitioners of other faiths that include visits to their places of pilgrimage and experiments with some of their practices.

As a teacher his word is not absolute, his path not the only one. In the tradition of the Buddha himself he discourages formal conversion to Buddhism unless it follows careful consideration deeply driven by an inner compulsion and imperative, and only when there is no felt alternative. He encourages us to learn from Buddhism and practice those principles that appeal to us without necessarily becoming a Buddhist.

The Dalai Lama urges that surrender to any teacher, including himself, must follow intense scrutiny of the master and careful consideration by the student. The teacher does not necessarily embody perfection. He is in human form. The teaching must meet the dictates of logic, reason and common sense before it is accepted and practiced. It is only in the highest stages of practice, initiation and transmission, after the teacher and the aspirant have truly tested and evaluated each other, often over lifetimes, that real surrender and a deep bonding between the two takes place. The karma of the teacher and student, more aptly described as guru and chela, are then intertwined and becomes a sacred relationship.

Buddhism is often perceived as a somber, austere philosophy of negation. The Dalai Lama, embodying its highest aspirations, it a living testament to its philosophy of a full, joyous life of action. His ever smiling face and deep infectious laughter are his most persuasive teachings.

His Holiness rarely formally sits down to write. He 'writing' are invariably edited transcriptions of oral teachings. They are usually simultaneously translated into several languages and later transcribed and edited for publications, and this compilation draws upon these sources. His Holiness usually speaks of and teaches more complex ideas in Tibetan, frequently breaking out into what he describes as my broken English when he feels the need to establish a more direct rapport with his audiences or, occasionally, when he feels his translator has missed a significant nuance. Over the decades, certainly in the early years of his public life, this role was performed by a number of different editors and translators and often, the language and the rhythm of his writings seem at variance. Ultimately there is no substitute for being in the physical presence of a great master. His Holiness communicates with, and has an impact on, those privileged to be in his physical presence at numerous levels, and in ways no printed word can capture.

We present this compilation that it might point the reader in a direction that will whet an appetite for real impact of listening to a living master.

This book celebrates and commemorates one of the great embodiments of humanity and the human potential to be truly human, as we celebrate his seventieth year in this life on earth on 6 July, 2005.


Preface xi
I The Vision
Words of Truth 3
The Quest for Human Happiness 5
Our Global Family 13
Compassion 17
Universal Responsibility 26
II Buddhist Perspectives
Introduction 35
Laying the Groundwork 45
The Buddha 62
Four Noble Truths 69
Karma 78
The Bodhisattva Ideal 86
Interdependence 97
Dependent Origination 107
Awareness of Death 113
III The Practice
Creating the Perspective for Practice 127
Refuge:The Three Jewels 136
Meditation:A Beginning 138
Transforming the Mind Through Meditation 144
Environment/Symbols/Posture/Breathing 152
The Nature of the Mind 158
practice of Calm Abiding 164
Generating the Mind of Enlightenment 171
Eight Verses for Training the Mind 177
Meditation on Emptiness 184
Tantra-Deity Yoga 189
Relying on a Spiritual Teacher 196
IV A World in Harmony
Ethics and Society 213
Science and Spirituality 226
Buddhist Concept of Nature 231
A Wish for Harmony 234
Buddhist Perspectives on the Teachings of Jesus 238
The Sheltering Tree of Interdependence 246
Copyright Acknowledgements 252
The Foundation for Universal:
Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

We Also Recommend