Cover image for How to practice : the way to a meaningful life
Title:
How to practice : the way to a meaningful life
Author:
Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho, Dalai Lama XIV, 1935-
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
231 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : Pocket Books, 2002.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780786243518
Format :
Book

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Summary

Author Notes

The exiled 14th Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935 to a peasant family living in a former Tibetan village. He was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous spiritual leader of his nation at the age of two and enthroned on February 22, 1940. In 1959 he and 100,000 followers fled the country following a failed revolt against the Communist Chinese forces that had occupied Tibet for almost a decade.

Since that time, the Dalai Lama has met with numerous world leaders and U. N. officials in a tireless effort to free his country and preserve the traditional Tibetan way of life. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and has been awarded honorary citizenships by many international cities and countries, as well as multiple honorary degrees and human rights awards. In 2007 the Dalai Lama received the United States Congressional Gold Medal. He has written many books and lectures around the world. His book, My Spiritual Journey, made the iBooks bestseller list in 2016. He is the author of the best seller, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, with the Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams.

(Bowker Author Biography) The Dalai Lama, spiritual & political leader of the Tibetan people & a Nobel Peace Laureate, has in the last decade become a global spiritual leader whose message of universal & individual responsibility has won worldwide acclaim.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Dalai Lama, a formidable teacher, presents a way that is the middle way, but not necessarily the easy way. Because the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism has a natural gift as well as the translating and publishing resources that makes his teachings accessible, it is easy to forget the rigor and depth of those teachings. Too, Buddhism so often appears in the West as a system of daily behavior and practice that it is also easy to overlook the compelling intellectual challenge it presents to the Western understanding of reality. His Holiness starts on familiar Buddhist ground (morality of action, suffering, compassion) and chapter by chapter adds doctrine and complexity until teachings from the heights of imaginative Tantra and Tibetan deity yoga are being explicated. For the uninitiated the climb is steep, and those seeking general ethical guidance would do better with an easier text (His Holiness has written those, too). For the serious, however, the Dalai Lama offers elegant clarity about the paradoxes at the heart of Buddhism including the central Heart Sutra itself, the teaching of form-is-emptiness and about the intellectual intricacy of Buddhist teachings. Tibetan Buddhism is considered the esoteric wing of Buddhism; this slice shows some layers of its complexity while whetting the spiritual appetite for more understanding, or what Buddhists would call the intention for enlightenment. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

How to be wise and good and to sustain oneself through meditation. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One: Three Ways to Practice Buddha's Enlightenment as a Model According to some Buddhist schools, Shakyamuni Buddha first became enlightened in India in the sixth century b.c., through practice of the path. Others, however, believe that Shakyamuni Buddha had achieved enlightenment long before and that in his sixth century b.c. incarnation the Buddha was merely demonstrating the path. In Tibet, we take the latter view, and followers learn from his example how to practice in order to achieve enlightenment themselves. In either case, we need to notice that: Shakyamuni Buddha was born into a life of pleasure as a prince in an Indian royal family. At age twenty-nine, upon seeing the suffering of the world, he gave up his royal position, cut his own hair, left his family, and took on the morality of a monastic, adopting a system of ethical behavior. For the next six years he engaged in ascetic meditation for the sake of achieving concentrated meditation. Then, under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, he practiced special techniques for developing wisdom, and achieved enlightenment. He went on to teach for forty-five years, and at age eighty-one, he died. In the Buddha's life story we see the three stages of practice: morality comes first, then concentrated meditation, and then wisdom. And we see that the path takes time. Gradual Change Developing the mind depends upon a great many internal causes and conditions, much like a space station depends on the work of generations of scientists who have analyzed and tested even its smallest components. Neither a space station nor an enlightened mind can be realized in a day. Similarly, spiritual qualities must be constructed through a great variety of ways. However, unlike the space station, which is constructed by many people working together, the mind must be developed by you alone. There is no way for others to do the work and for you to reap the results. Reading someone else's blueprint of mental progress will not transfer its realizations to you. You have to develop them yourself. Cultivating an attitude of compassion and developing wisdom are slow processes. As you gradually internalize techniques for developing morality, concentration of mind, and wisdom, untamed states of mind become less and less frequent. You will need to practice these techniques day by day, year by year. As you transform your mind, you will transform your surroundings. Others will see the benefits of your practice of tolerance and love, and will work at bringing these practices into their own lives. The Three Practices Buddha's teachings are divided into three collections of scriptures: The discipline of morality The discourses on concentrated meditation The manifest knowledge that explains the training in wisdom In each of these scriptures, the main practice is described as an extraordinary state that is created from the union of (1) "calm abiding" (concentrated meditation) and (2) "special insight" (wisdom). But in order to achieve such a union, first we must lay its foundation: morality. Order of Practice Morality, concentrated meditation, and wisdom -- this is the essential order of practice. The reasons are as follows: In order for the wisdom of special insight to remove impediments to proper understanding, and to remove faulty mental states at their very roots, we need concentrated meditation, a state of complete single-mindedness in which all internal distractions have been removed. Otherwise the mind is too fractured. Without such one-pointed concentrated meditation, wisdom has no force, just as the flame of a candle in a breeze does not give off much illumination. Therefore, concentrated meditation must precede wisdom. Single-minded meditation involves removing subtle internal distractions such as the mind's being either too relaxed or too tight. To do so we must first stop external distractions through training in the morality of maintaining mindfulness and conscientiousness with regard to physical and verbal activities -- being constantly aware of what you are doing with your body and your speech. Without overcoming these obvious distractions, it is impossible to overcome subtler internal distractions. Since it is through sustaining mindfulness that you achieve a calm abiding of the mind, the practice of morality must precede the practice of concentrated meditation. In my own experience, taking the vows of a monk called for fewer external involvements and activities, which meant that I could focus more on spiritual studies. Vows to restrain counterproductive physical and verbal activities made me mindful of my behavior and drew me to inspect what was happening in my mind. This meant that even when I was not purposely practicing concentrated meditation, I had to control my mind from being scattered and thus was constantly drawn in the direction of one-pointed, internal meditation. The vow of morality has certainly acted as a foundation. Looking at the three practices -- morality, concentrated meditation, and wisdom -- we see that each serves as the basis for the next. (This order of practice is clearly demonstrated in the Buddha's own life story.) Therefore, all spiritual progress depends on a foundation of proper morality. Copyright © 2002 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, Excerpted from How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by Dalai Lama XIV All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Jeffrey Hopkins, Ph.D.
Forewordp. vii
Introduction: The Need for Peace and Kindnessp. 1
I. The Basicsp. 17
1. Three Ways to Practicep. 19
II. Practicing Moralityp. 25
2. Identifying the Scope of Sufferingp. 27
3. Discovering How Trouble Starts and Stopsp. 43
4. Refraining from Harmp. 61
5. Extending Helpp. 73
6. Aspiring to Enlightenmentp. 95
III. Practicing Concentrated Meditationp. 115
7. Focusing the Mindp. 117
IV. Practicing Wisdomp. 135
8. Examining How Beings and Things Existp. 137
9. The Middle Wayp. 151
10. Mind and the Deep Nature of Mindp. 171
V. Tantrap. 183
11. Deity Yogap. 185
VI. Steps Along the Wayp. 199
12. Overview of the Path to Enlightenmentp. 201
Selected Readingsp. 225