Book Review: The Dalai Lama’s Big Book of Happiness

The Dalai Lama is a renowned figure in the world and religious leader of Buddhism. He is from Tibet originally and due to the Chinese role in the region had to escape as a young boy to India. The Dalai Lama considers India his home as he has grown up there and received many blessings from India. This book is a collection of speeches and Q&As from the late 2000s to early 2010s. They are separated into topic areas ranging from happiness, compassion and forgiveness, reality and wisdom, inner and outer peace, and non-violence and secular ethics. If you are unfamiliar with the Dalai Lama I recommend you watch a few of his clips on YouTube. He is a very funny and kind individual.

I found his thoughts to be very simple and practical. This book is not about Buddhism or religion merely the topics he lists out and quite frankly the Dalai Lama is a supporter of the ideals that all religions hold in common. Whether it is love, peace, compassion – the message is all about the promotion of these ideals. He recognizes that in some places religion is becoming less prevalent and notes that modern education must account for this in the teaching of “secular ethics.” It is an interesting thought and something that schools have never had the responsibility or need to teach in the past. At first glance, this seems ridiculous and I can hear the uproar in local communities – but I interpret this to mean teaching basic things like kindness and compassion. We need to teach children how to interact with others in positive and meaningful ways.

The Dalai Lama also recognizes that often times we view the world and other religions through our own biased lens. His example is that if he only views other religions from his Buddhist lens then he will miss the very important and powerful lessons that other religions and beliefs teach. He must approach those with the same openness to seek to understand the principles in which they are conveying. He discusses many topics but these two pieces stood out the most to me as I read.

I encourage you to think about the universal values that all religions teach us and how we can apply those to our everyday lives and pass those onto others.

Read more book reviews:

Book Review: Thinking for a Change

Book Review: Commit to Win

Saban: The Making of a Coach – Book Review


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