cover image Lighting the Way

Lighting the Way

Dalai Lama, Bstan-'Dzin-Rgy. Snow Lion Publications, $14.95 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-55939-228-0

Geared toward an audience of Western students just beginning to explore the Buddhist tradition, this new book from the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people explains that ""a fundamental confusion in our understanding of the world (including our own self) lies at the root of much of our suffering and difficulties."" Fortunately, in this manual, the Dalai Lama explains the Buddhist approach to dispelling this confusion clearly and engagingly. After providing an overview of the Buddha's Four Noble Truths and other Buddhist principles, the Dalai Lama then presents two short, classic Buddhist texts, ""Eight Verses on Mind Training"" and ""Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment,"" with a verse-by-verse commentary on their meanings and applications. Both texts provide the guidance Buddhists need to gain ""a genuine understanding of emptiness."" Once Buddhist practitioners achieve this comprehension of emptiness and also cultivate a profound compassion for other sentient beings, they develop bodhicitta, or ""the altruistic mind of awakening,"" but the Dalai Lama makes it clear that this point cannot be achieved without dedicated effort. The Dalai Lama engages readers by talking them through a ceremony to generate bodhicitta, encouraging non-Buddhists to ""participate in the ceremony as a means to strengthen your commitment to the ideals of compassion and altruism."" With its invitation to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, this lucid, accessible introduction to Buddhist concepts and texts is bound to light the way for many readers.