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Wisdom of Forgiveness

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When Victor Chan first visited the Dalai Lama in the 1970s, he assumed that, since he is a member of the race responsible for destroying Tibet, the Dalai Lama would treat him with disdain. Instead, they developed a close relationship, out of which Victor was able to pose some of the most personal questions ever asked of or answered by the Dalai Lama. From the conversations in The Wisdom of Forgiveness, we discover under which circumstances the Dalai Lama believes he could be capable of violence; how the experience of profound spiritual insight feels in the body and mind; how he learned to love those who anyone else would consider an enemy; what his personal fears are; what the heart of a holy man looks like in medical tests; and how a highly developed spiritual person experiences pain. The Wisdom of Forgiveness takes these two friends on journeys from India to Ireland; from the former Czechoslovakia to a pilgrimage to Buddhist holy sites. If you ve ever wondered why we love the Dalai Lama so much, this books makes it clear by placing us in the presence of a great being. So being able to forgive your enemies can make a difference to one s spiritual progress? I asked the Dalai Lama. Yes, yes, there is no double, he replied. It s crucial. It s one of the most important things. It can change one s life. To reduce hatred and other destructive emotions, you must develop their opposites compassion and kindness. If you have strong compassion, strong respect for others, then forgiveness is much easier. Mainly for this reason: I do not want to harm another. Forgiveness allows you to be in touch with these positive emotions. This will help with spiritual development. - from The Wisdom of Forgiveness
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About the Author

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Laureate, and the exiled leader of the Tibetan people. He is the author, with Howard C. Cutler, of the million-copy bestseller, The Art of Happiness, and The New York Times bestseller The Art of Happiness at Work. Victor Chan teaches at the University of British Columbia, Institute of Asian Research.


In our day, no spiritual authority from the East has had more to say, or has received more popular acclaim, than the exiled Dalai Lama of Tibet. Despite appearances, this book is less his work than that of his Chinese-born friend Chan, who for more than 30 years has been assembling his recollections and memories of the Tibetan leader. For Chan, the Dalai Lama's gift lies in his understanding of forgiveness: "[Forgiveness] can change one's life." Chan has a good ear for dialog and a sense of scene, and his unobtrusive writing sets the stage for the Dalai Lama's words of peace and compassion. For most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Do you hate the Chinese?" Chan asked the Dalai Lama when they first met in India in 1972. It was a live question, since Chan hailed from the country that had forced the Tibetan spiritual leader into exile and subjugated the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama replied immediately with the English word "no," then stated through an interpreter that he had forgiven the Chinese and did not blame China's people. Drawing on Buddhist principles, this book loosely discusses His Holiness's ideas on forgiveness, though Chan presents them gently through stories, not didactically as a step-by-step how-to manual. For example, one chapter arises in the context of the Dalai Lama's travels in war-torn Belfast, where he spoke about forgiveness to the families of victims of terrorist attacks. To research this book, Chan traveled with the Dalai Lama off and on for several years, spent time with him at home and conducted numerous interviews. Apart from the expected teachings on forgiveness, what comes through most clearly is the personality of the Dalai Lama himself: his humor, playfulness and joy. We learn that he had something of a temper as a young man and that he can't resist pulling men's beards. Somehow, the book's serious call to forgiveness becomes all the more engaging and possible because of the Dalai Lama's own lighthearted spirit. One Spirit Book Club alternate. (Aug. 12) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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