Book 2 – Ancient Wisdom, Modern World. Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
If you ever wanted to read a book written by the Dalai Lama and weren’t sure which one, THIS is the one. It’s the first of his books that I ever read and to this day it has changed my entire life.
I have a hard time explaining the book though because on one hand it is simply written and easy to read and yet on the other hand it is intricately complex and delves deeply into the very vein of our existence. It breaks down the realities of our world and not only teaches us how to cope with them but opens up our minds to look at these realities in a whole different light. This different light makes it easier to cope with reality and helps us to live in it.
This was my first ‘Buddhist’ text although it is not all about Buddhism at all. It introduced me to that spiritual path and it was a path that spoke to me in a way that I instinctively understood it. As I read this book the first time, even the second time, it was like he had written it just for me because so much of what he said made such simple yet complex sense to my mind and soul.
This book not only changed my life, it changed how I lived it. From the way I react, act, and think about the world I live in and what I need to do to change that world for the better. It made me more grateful and compassionate and understanding of the world I see every day.
Every day I remember – and sometimes have to stop and remind myself – about life lessons on acceptance that I learned from the Dalai Lama and his faith. Things like accepting that the person who just cut me off in traffic and caused me to slam on my brakes maybe didn’t see me. Or maybe is so caught up and poisoned by disappointment in life that he only sees his own ugly face in the mirror every night and hates himself for it, which makes me sad for him and so I forgive him.
It was very hard to pick just a few passages to share with you but here goes…
“Modern industrial society often strikes me as being like a huge self-propelled machine. Instead of human beings in charge, each individual is a tiny insignificant component with no choice but to move when the machine moves.” (Speaking of the Modern Society)
“We begin to see that the universe we inhabit can be understood in terms of a living organism where each cell works in balanced cooperation with every other cell to sustain the whole. If, then, just one of these cells is harmed, as when disease strikes, that balance is harmed and there is danger to the whole.” (Speaking of Dependent Origination)
If there was ever a book that made me say ‘Everyone MUST read this book’, this is it.