The fifth volume of the Dalai Lama’s definitive Library of Wisdom and Compassion series, which has sold nearly 15,000 copies to date.
In Praise of Great Compassion, the fifth volume of the Library of Wisdom and Compassion, continues the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the path to awakening. While previous volumes focused on our present situation and taking responsibility for creating the causes for the happiness we seek, this volume is about opening our hearts to others and generating the compassion, joy, and fortitude to make our lives meaningful by benefiting them.
We are embedded in a universe with other beings, all of whom have been kind to us in one way or another. More than any other time in human history, we depend on one another to stay alive and flourish. We are sometimes oblivious to their kindness, or take it for granted, which leads to feelings of discontent. But when we look closely, it becomes apparent that we have been the recipient of great kindness and naturally we want to repay it.
To do this, we begin by cultivating a positive attitude toward others by contemplating the four immeasurables—immeasurable love, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity—and the altruistic intention of bodhicitta. We learn to challenge the deluded logic of the self-centered attitude that leads to misery and replace it with a more realistic perspective that helps us to remain balanced when we experience either happiness or suffering. This enables us to make all circumstances favorable to the path to awakening.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (b. 1935) is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. For sixty years, he was the also the political leader of the Tibetan people, first from the Potala Palace in Lhasa and then helping his compatriots adapt to the modern world from his residence in northern India. An advocate for science, ethics, and harmony among people of different faiths, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and travels widely in support of Buddhism, the cause of Tibet, and human happiness.
Thubten Chodron has been a Buddhist nun since 1977. A graduate of UCLA, she is the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey in Washington State. She is a popular speaker and author of numerous books, including Buddhism for Beginners.
“The Buddha’s journey to full awakening could have ended with liberation, but his infinite compassion in the face of the suffering of all beings led him to continue his journey by sharing what he had learned with others. In this fifth volume of the Library of Wisdom and Compassion, the Dalai Lama explores in depth just how central compassion and empathy are to the path to awakening. It’s a comprehensive look at the teachings on compassion in every Buddhist tradition and is wonderfully complemented by the reflections and meditation suggestions of his co-author, Thubten Chodron.”
– Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Change
“Another insightful volume in an important series, In Praise of Great Compassion is a deep and wonderful book that offers crucial lessons for our time—and for all time.”
– Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
“In Praise of Great Compassion is a welcome arrival that illuminates the interface between two Buddhist traditions, Mahayana and Theravada, through the common ground of compassion. These valuable teachings are a gift and a powerful message to the world.”
– Ajahn Sundara, Amaravati Monastery
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama, together with Bhik?u?i Thubten Chodron, lucidly present the Buddha’s teachings to a wider readership. The inclusion of different Buddhist traditions’ practices on the important topic of great compassion is especially welcome, and I am delighted to see a chapter on Chinese Buddhism and its introduction to the Seven Round Compassion Contemplation, as well as the Four Great Vows. These are powerful practices not only to develop compassion but also to eliminate one’s own karmic obstacles. May all beings benefit from this latest volume of the valuable Dharma series, the Library of Wisdom and Compassion.”