Book Reviews - The Dalai Lama speaks
by Sharukh Vazifdar
Ocean of Wisdom - Guidelines for Living, Published By: The Dalai Lama Jaico Publishing House, Pages:132 Price: Rs 195
Anything purported to be said by the Dalai Lama has a ready audience, so it is no surprise that this book has made it to the bookstands, even though it does not do justice to His Holiness’s spiritual prowess.
Guidelines for Living are excerpts from various talks the Dalai Lama has made at various universities, monasteries and interfaith services around the world. The extracts are skimpy, many consisting of just a few lines, none longer than two pages. While this makes it easy to dip into any page, it also stops any subject from being discussed in depth.
That apart, there is still some value to be got in becoming acquainted with His Holiness’s broad plurality and innate compassion. He talks about how war, especially nuclear war, is gravely destroying humanity. The solution to war is for us to realise universal brotherhood and unity. It is in our best interest that there are no victors in war. Love, compassion and kindness towards others should be our philosophy. It is only when we develop these qualities towards others that we can develop them for our self as well. Only when we put others before ourselves do we realise true happiness and compassion.
The Dalai Lama strongly supports the need for diversity in the case of religions, types of governments and belief systems. This is because he believes that none is better than the other and each individual has his own preferences. He also talks about the Buddhist viewpoint on Tibet and the role of dharma and karma and how it affects our life.
All through the book one can sense an intense atmosphere of tranquillity and acceptance even while discussing negative topics. At the end of the book, like a true spiritual master, he mentions, “Now if these words are helpful for you, put them into practice. But if they aren’t helpful, then there’s no need for them.”