His Holiness the Dalai Lama is celebrated as Buddhism’s preeminent spiritual master and teacher, embodying the highest aspirations of this rich tradition that is more than 2,500 years old. With both profundity and simplicity, he has carried the nuanced teachings of the Buddha to the far corners of the globe, and in the process has touched and transformed millions of lives. Like the Buddha himself, the Dalai Lama, with his ever-smiling face, reaches out to people in ways that connect to their individual mental dispositions, abilities, and everyday realities. Buddhism, which never seeks to proselytize, has been made accessible by the Dalai Lama to both non-Buddhists and Buddhists alike so that we may all learn from one of the most valuable strands of our shared heritage. This fascinating book brings together extracts from some of His Holiness’s most powerful writings and talks. As he explains the elements of the Buddha’s teachings and the basic practices of meditation, he also engages and reconciles the innovations of modern science with Buddhist perspectives. Ultimately, His Holiness calls for the celebration of diversity and the recognition of interdependence that breeds a sense of Universal Responsibility—which must govern all of our relationships in this increasingly fragmented world. Serving as the perfect introduction to the Dalai Lama’s philosophy, both Buddhist and secular, In My Own Words is just the book for gleaning insights into the mind of one of the world’s greatest spiritual icons.
Mehrotra assembles a Buddhist primer in this small collection of the Dalai Lama's thoughts on meditation, suffering, karma, enlightenment and other issues. Brevity is the book's greatest strength and greatest weakness: it is accessible, certainly, but the tiny topical sections do little more than scratch the surface of complex issues. His Holiness dispatches with compassion, a foundation of Buddhist thought, in a mere five pages; karmic consequences merit just three. And while the book aims for some practicality-including a chapter on how to meditate, for example-the approach is less hands-on than other Buddhist introductions. Although there are some gems scattered throughout, including a beautiful rumination on death as a spiritual practice, the book's unfocused structure does not make the most of these. All of the chapters have been cobbled together from the Dalai Lama's previous talks (with almost no information about where and when those talks occurred), meaning both that there is no truly original material here and that there is often little connection or flow between one chapter and another.