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The Compassionate Life

The Compassionate Life - The Dalai Lama,  David Kittelstrom (Editor) In The Compassionate Life, the Dalai Lama XIV describes a method for honing one's capacity for compassion for all sentient beings. If you have spent time around Buddhists trained for much of their lives in the monasteries of the East, you will have noticed the tremendous joyful equanimity with which they face the world, in sharp contrast to our typical Western irritability. This peaceful approach to the world is the product of tremendous concentrated efforts to retrain the mind.

Much of the wisdom in this book is tremendously consistent with the work of cognitive therapy. I think to be really useful, this book must be read over and over and used as a guide to daily practice. I certainly plan to come back to it to work on altering my perspective to one that is kinder, gentler, and less judging.

Some of the book is very didactic and relates to traditional Buddhist texts, but at other times, when the Dalai Lama speaks of his own practice, it is very accessible and even amusing. I particularly liked the line where he notes that whenever he starts to feel self-important, he has only to consider computers, and then he is humbled.