Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Author
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24 (192p) ISBN 978-0-547-63635-1
Reviewed on: 10/10/2011
Release date: 12/01/2011
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-547-64572-8
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-547-84428-2
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In this concise book packed with ideas, His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Toward a True Kinship of Faiths) continues his case for a universal ethics rooted in compassion. He argues that religion with its diversity can never provide an ethics for everyone in today’s interconnected global society, and he then makes a strong statement for adopting a “secular ethics.” Identifying the primary societal problem as “giving too much attention to the external material aspects of life while neglecting moral ethics and inner values,” His Holiness locates the initial responsibility for change in the individual; the book’s second half includes practical approaches for “ethical mindfulness” based on Buddhist mind training, such as counteracting destructive emotions, cultivating positive virtues, and meditation. Continuing his longstanding interest in the empirical bases for Buddhist findings, the Dalai Lama supports some of his observations through science. The book’s impressive scope in a short span also includes discussions of human nature, interdependence, justice, forgiveness, philanthropy, and the challenges society faces today. This wise, humane book, an original work rather than a collection of talks, is an incisive statement of His Holiness’s thinking on ways to bring peace to a suffering world. (Dec. 6)
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