In the Dalai Lama's own words: 'It is my hope that the reader of this small book will take away a basic understanding of Buddhism and some of the key methods by which Buddhist practitioners have cultivated compassion and wisdom in their lives. The methods discussed have been taken from three sacred texts of Buddhism. I would like to stress at the outset, however, that one doesn't have to be a Buddhist to make use of these meditation techniques. Meditation is merely the process whereby we gain control over the mind and guide it in a more virtuous direction. Meditation may also be thought of as a technique by which we diminish the force of old thought habits and develop new ones. Yet the techniques themselves do not lead to enlightenment or a compassionate and open heart. That is up to you, and the effort and motivation you bring to your spiritual practice.'
A paperback reissue of last year's hardcover makes His Holiness the Dalai Lama's wisdom a bit less expensive: "Just as musicians train their hands, athletes their reflexes and techniques, linguists their ears, scholars their perceptions, so we direct our minds and hearts." And so with his characteristic deftness, here he builds bridges from the realities of everyday life to sublimely spiritual pursuits. This compilation, based on teachings delivered by His Holiness in New York in 1999, is founded upon a weaving of two ancient Buddhist texts. These are made accessible here in part by Vreeland's skillful editing and in part by the unflagging style of the Dalai Lama, who continues to spread his message of loving compassion beyond the borders of Buddhism. Readers who savored his The Art of Happiness and Ethics for the New Millennium will likely be ready to take these next steps into practical approaches for everyday living that are supremely grounded in Buddhist philosophy, but extend an open heart to all types of believers and nonbelievers as well. While not a manual in the traditional Western sense of highly sequenced steps, this book is a treasury of teachings that point clearly to a better way to live. Exquisite, perfectly matched photographs round out such chapters as "The Desire for Happiness," "Karma," "Compassion," "Calm Abiding" and "Wisdom." Many books today receive the Dalai Lama's blessing, but this one issues a special invitation to receive ancient wisdom through the mind and heart of a modern spiritual master.