Reviewed by Spark Reader Hilda Kalap, Feb 2014
This pocket book written by prominent Japanese cultural anthropologist Noriyuki Ueda records wisdoms and surprising truths from his two-day conversations with the Dalai Lama, one of the world’s best-known spiritual leaders.
Although the book’s focus is on Buddhism and its relevance in today’s world, the subjects the two men discuss are universal human themes – war, money, education, poverty and creating a better world.
The Dalai Lama’s self-proclaimed main objective in life is to creative a more compassionate society and a compassionate humanity and the book is sprinkled throughout with his quotes and guidance on how that can be attained. For example: “A person who has become like a machine has no room left to cultivate affection or compassion for others,” and “compassion must be implemented in the form of social service, that’s very crucial.”
He expresses his deep wish for the innate compassion and kindness we all have not to become obscured but to be continually promoted as the foundation of daily life, through education.
There are often surprises. The Dalai Lama is repeatedly critical of those who are blindly faithful and discourage others who want to investigate things for themselves. He questions the “many Tibetan monastic institutions where, the monks perform rituals without knowing anything about their meaning .... the ritual is just a means to earn money”.
He also advocates for anger and competition as long as the anger is motivated by compassion or a desire to correct a social injustice and does not seek to harm others and the competition allows us to lift each other up, to help each other, so that everybody ends up on top.
A truly uplifting read.
The Dalai Lama on What Matters Most – Conversations on Anger, Compassion and Action
Published by Coronet www.coronethouse.co.uk