cover image Live in a Better Way: Reflections on Truth, Love and Happiness

Live in a Better Way: Reflections on Truth, Love and Happiness

Dalai Lama, Bstan-'Dzin-Rgy. Viking Compass, $23.95 (202pp) ISBN 978-0-670-89671-4

The packaging of talks given by the Dalai Lama has become a publishing staple in the last decade. Here the Dalai Lama's student Singh, a university professor in India, has pulled together six talks delivered in New Delhi from 1988-1997. ""In order to practice Buddhism, you have to first know about the mind,"" begins this labyrinthine journey that is ostensibly aimed at all people, not just Buddhist practitioners. The lectures are good examples of how the Dalai Lama must be supremely accessible in thought and speech, and yet must also articulate the more abstract philosophical underpinnings of Buddhism as a ""science of the mind."" Within each chapter both aspects are in evidence. For example, in ""A Journey to Happiness"" we read the clear directive, ""Some people feel that compassion, love and forgiveness are religious matters. This is wrong. Love and compassion are imperative. There is no way we can ignore these things, whether one is a believer or not."" Near the end of the same chapter the thinking takes one of its abstruse turns: ""In Maha-Anuttara Yoga Tantrayana, one unique practice is making a distinction among the gross, subtle, and innermost subtle levels of mind."" The book's ultimate message of happiness through compassion is a vital one, but this collection is geared for the adept with a philosophical appetite and a considerable intellect, not for the general reader. (Feb.)