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Paperback Ethics for the New Millennium Book

ISBN: 1573228834

ISBN13: 9781573228831

Ethics for the New Millennium

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Don't miss His Holiness the Dalai Lama's classic book, The Art of Happiness, or his newest, The Book of Joy, named one of Oprah's Favorite Things. In a difficult, uncertain time, it takes a person of great courage, such as the Dalai Lama, to give us hope. Regardless of the violence and cynicism we see on television and read about in the news, there is an argument to be made for basic human goodness. The number of people who spend their lives engaged...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Practical, Relevant, and Valuable

Every single person, and especially those with the power to harm others through their corporate or government roles, should read this book. The Dalai Lama begins by recognizing that religion is no longer providing an ethical compass for the majority of us, and ends by recommending a world parliament of religions (just as some believe a world parliament of cultures is also needed to represents nations without states). At it's most fundamental, this easy to read and very practical book is about obeying the Golden Rule--or a variation of the physician's rule, "first do no harm." This is not a book for mantra lovers. At its most strategic level, the book focuses on the fact that the problems facing nation-states and entire societies cannot be solved in the absence of ethical restraint. Technology and law enforcement can address deviants in the minority, but not a majority that chooses deviance as a routine lifestyle. This is the first book I have encountered in my religious reading that actively respects all other religions as well as personal ethical systems apart from religion. In essence, the Dalai Lama calls for each person to restore their spiritual base, either by honoring their chosen religion, or by adopting a personal ethical philosophy that is consistent with the generic teachings of various religions. At a very personal level, as I read this book I saw clearly how my competitive and confrontational instincts, honed over a half century by a "dog eat dog" culture, have in fact hurt me and hurt others. I was reminded by this book that a Nobel Prize has been awarded to those showing that trust lowers the costs of business transactions--Fukiyama managed to get an entire book out of that one word. Reflecting on this book, and its measured discussion of how each of us simply seeks happiness and avoidance of suffering, caused me to reflect on how often each of us reduces the happiness of others and impose suffering through rudeness, harm by omission (not sharing useful information) and in other more aggressive ways. On a global scale, and very consistent with other social science works on the complexity and inter-connectedness of the world, the book clearly addresses the urgent need for major world powers to understand that our existing life style and its damage to world resources is both unaffordable and suicidal. This book on ethics applies to Nations and to organizations, not just to individuals. It is a very elegant "dummy's guide to survival in the 21st Century."

An extremely important book that should be widely read

Those familiar with the Dalai Lama's writings will see much that is familiar here. The concept and practice of compassion is presented as the foundation of ethics, and there is a great deal of discussion of how to implement a compassionate (and therefore ethical) lifestyle. However, this book should be very carefully read because there is a lot more to it than that. It is easy, given the Dalai Lama's easy, conversational style of writing, to miss some very, very important concepts. Nearly every page of this book offers a startling insight - but you have to take your time, slow down, and notice what is being said. It is well worth the time.One critical point is raised in the book that I wish had been explored in greater detail. The Dalai Lama expresses the opinion that the dominant culture of "unlimited economic growth" is a serious problem for all of us, both on a personal and societal level. Unfortunately, the unlimited economic growth model is something that is rarely, if ever, questioned today. Companies make money, and so do their shareholders, by growing - by selling more cars, more oil, more land, more whatever than they did last quarter. If they don't, the stock price goes down and heads roll. The problems with this economic model are so obvious in terms of the damage it inflicts on the planet and us as its inhabitants - yet we seem unable to even recognize it as a problem.This book deals with serious problems. It forces us to look at our assumptions and behaviors as individuals and as a society. Yet it does so in a way that is ultimately hopeful - the Dalai Lama is apparently a born optimist. And I would feel a lot more optimistic myself if only there was more than one of him.

Looking for some inner peace?

I love the way the Dalai Lama writes. "Ethics for a New Millennium" reads beautifully and quite accessibly. I did have to put the book down once in a while though to fully take in the implications of what the Dalai Lama has written. This book is about ethics which the Dalai Lama thinks are important for all humans in our wish and quest to be happy and to avoid suffering. The book is not about magical solutions or about Buddhism (no magic, no mystery, as he puts it). However, a number of Buddhist concepts are explained in the book, because it seems the Dalai Lama cannot find their exact equivalents in Western thought. In the first chapter, the Dalai Lama critiques Western civilisation in the most lucid and convincing ways. He speaks of the anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration that plague Western people's minds and causes them to suffer mentally and emotionally even though they live in relative comfort and technological advance. To his mind, this gap between outer appearance and inner reality implies confusion regarding morality and what it constitutes.The Dalai Lama does not dispute the importance of Scientific enquiry but if we were to go to a nuclear physicist, he says, and say: "I am facing a moral dilemma, what should I do?", he or she would suggest we look elsewhere for an answer. Science is unable to tell us how we ought to act in a moral sense.The Dalai Lama calls for a spiritual revolution. The essence of this spiritual call is acting out of concern for the well-being of others. But it also entails changing ourselves so that we become more readily disposed to do so. Thus, in essence, he calls for compassion, a lot of it. But why? Why should I become compassionate? Because by becoming so, I become more at peace with myself, happier, less prone to suffering. However, it is not easy to become compassionate overnight. So, he recommends a number of ethics that can help us so that we become more readily disposed to show compassion.The first ethic is Restraint; and to put this quite vividly, I shall use an example he gave: the undisciplined mind is like an elephant! If left to blunder around without control, it will wreak havoc. But the best description was that if we do not restrain our selfish, negative thoughts, we effectively alienate ourselves from ourselves!The second ethic is Virtue; this is quite simply really. Just give lots of love, be patient and tolerant, forgive, and be humble! That's all. No seriously, there are a couple of tips to help you do that.The third ethic is Compassion. This is a kind of motivational goal; a higher spiritual state in which compassion arises without any effort, is unconditional, undifferentiated, and universal in scope.The book extends to beyond these three ethics to societal ethics, and it also contains a chapter on Peace and Disarmament. Also, the early part of the book dwells on the nature of our consciousness.This is the first book I have re

Essential reading for all on a spiritual quest.

Looking back over the last 5,000 years, it appears to me that all religions have focused on the preservation of their own particular brand of cultural and social ethics under the name of religion and by and large have ignored the more important and universal spiritual ethics that underlie all religions. The same can be said of many New Age courses that have sprung up like mushrooms all over the globe, where the emphasis appears to be more on gaining power and getting what you want out of life as opposed to an inner spiritual evolvement. This has bothered me for some time. However, reading the Dalai Lama's "Ethics for the New Millenium" was like a breath of fresh air and a home coming where I can rest my own inner beliefs which up until now, I have not found an example of in any other author. We teach our children dogma, we teach them ritual, we teach them salvation in one form or another, but do we ever teach them simple spiritual ethics, for example, don't steal. I don't mean the obvious, as in stealing someone else's possessions, I mean theft on a more personal scale, as in stealing somebody's time, somebody's energy by either moaning and bringing them down with our own sorry tales or getting other people to do things for us when we are too lazy to do it for oursleves. Or, in the name of frienship, inviting a whole lot of people to a dinner party, not because they are truly our friends, but because we ourselves are bored or want to look popular. It is to these inner disciplines that the Dalai Lama looks and it is about time too. If more people adopted the principles he advocates in this book, there might just be a chance for peace, both in the microcosm of the family unit and in the macrocosm of the world at large. The void, the emptiness that many societies try to fill with a hamburger, might instead be filled with inner serenity and confidence as opposed to frutration and depression.

His Holiness' most powerful, cogent and compelling work yet

Having read with great interest a lot of the Dalai Lama's other books, I found this one easily the most compelling. The language is simple and direct which has the effect of making some very complex ideas easy to understand. The Dalai Lama emerges as someone with a thorogoing understanding of human nature. But whereas his image is generally of someone who is limitlessly patient and benign, in this book he clearly shows that he has both depth and edge.The Dalai Lama makes a very clear connection between human happiness and what he calls inner discipline. He also makes clear that it is not really meaningful to speak of compassion except in the context of self-restraint. This shows that Buddhism is much more than the feel-good religion it is sometimes taken for in the west. It also shows that Buddhist ethical thinking is much closer to traditional Judeao-Christian and even Catholic social teaching than one might suppose. In fact when this is taken on board it becomes much easier to understand the Dalai Lama's near insistence that people stick to the religious tradition of their own culture. One of the most remarkable things about this book is his assertion that each of the major faith traditions are effective means of attaining human happiness. Stranger still for a major religious leader is his statement that, although religion is helpful, it is not actually essential if we are to be happy. What is essential is that we develop what he calls our basic human qualities. The first of these are love and compassion, but he also talks a lot about patience, tolerance, generosity and humility - each of which presuppose a degree of self discipline. It is tempting to write the Dalai Lama off as an oddity - especially given the way he seems all too ready to cosy up to celebrities. But reading this book, you begin to get the feeling that there really is something going on inside his head. In none of his other books have I been able to detect the intelligence, the cogence and the incisiveness that is so obvious even through the sometimes mangled translations when you see him in the flesh. As a would-be Catholic I can also say that the Dalai Lama's spiritual teachings are as relevant as any from within my own tradition. Is there any way the Pope could make him a Cardinal!?
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