Great Books of the World – Part 14

“Never dwell on any negative or sad
incidences of the past.
Learn the lesson but forget the incidence!”

Ashok  Wahi
Writer and spiritual Guru

Living in the difficult times of the pandemic, we all need a glimmer of sunshine. This writer’s books will provide a smile, joy, and hope for better times soon. The author is revered around the world for his wisdom, spirituality, respect for the environment, love of science, his message of kindness and compassion, and his passionate promotion of world peace.

By now, no doubt, you know who is he, yes, it is His Holiness Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan People and of Tibetan Buddhism. He travels extensively, welcomed in all countries to give talks that are attracting crowds because he is a charismatic and passionate speaker. The Dalai Lama is able to transcend Buddhist teaching to reach people not even connected with any faith. His spiritual insights about daily living bring inner peace, compassion, peace, and justice. His teachings in “The Book of Joy” promise to make you smile and bring you lasting happiness.

HIS HOLINESS THE 14th DALAI LAMA, TENZIN GYATSO

He was born on 6th July 1935 into a farming family, in a small hamlet in Taktser, (Hongya in Chinese), Amdo, in northeastern Tibet, China. His name was Lhamo Thondup. At the age of two, he was recognized and named as the 14th Dalai Lama. The name, originally from Mongolia, means “Ocean”, and Lama originates from Tibetan, which means “the highest principle.” Although only two years old, he was taken from his family to live in the 1000-room Potala Palace in the capital city of Lhasa.

His childhood was spent in splendour but in isolation, being educated to be a spiritual and political leader of Tibet and as a godlike incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. At the age of 15, he became the ruler of six million people who were at war with the Chinese government, who wanted to annexe Tibet. The war was all-out and desperately unequal. After trying to negotiating for nine years, and fearing the final massacre of his people who would not let him be arrested and taken to China, he escaped one night into exile in India.

To be able to do so, he dressed as a guard, removed his glasses, and not seeing properly, climbed for three weeks over the tops of the nineteen-thousand-feet-high, snow-covered mountains to freedom. The Dalai Lama later explained his stoical behaviour:

“One of my practices comes from an ancient Indian teacher, an eighth-century Buddhist master, Shantideva, who thought that when you experience some tragic situation, think about it. If there’s no way to overcome the tragedy, then there is no use worrying too much. So I practise that.”

The other of Shantideva’s rules of wisdom states:

“If something can be done about the situation. what need is there for dejection? And if nothing can be done about it, what use is there for being dejected?” And I will practise that.

A typical Tibetan breakfast of bread and vegetable dahl 

A nourishing Tibetan noodle soup

In case you would like to know, the Dalai Lama likes vegetarian, simple fare; soups, noodles and vegetables, and momos, the famed Tibetan steamed dumplings, home-made bread, some multi-grain, some soft white, a Tibetan rice and yogurt pudding, fruit salad, and ice-cream. Before a meal, there is prayer: “Viewing this meal as a medicine, I shall enjoy it without greed or anger, not out of gluttony nor out of pride, not to fatten myself, but only to nourish the body.”

The renowned Tibetan dumplings, momos

Today, aged 85, he is considered a living Bodhisatta, an emanation of Avalokitesvara. The Dalai Lama is also a leader of the Gelug school, which is the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Taktser in Tibet

The Dalai Lama’s work includes also women’s rights, along with his teaching on Tibetan Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, and Dalai Lama’s Kalachakra teachings and initiations are international events. The Dalai Lama’s lifelong interest in science and technology goes back to his childhood in Lhasa, Tibet. He would repair watches and clocks, disassemble and reassemble large clocks and motorcars and telescopes. Once, when he was observing the full Moon through his telescope, he realised that it was a lump of rock with many visible craters, and not a heavenly body emitting its own light as he had thought.

The Dalai Lama sees the important common ground between science and Buddhism in having the same approach to challenge dogma on the basis of empirical evidence that comes from observational analysis of phenomena.

He received the Nobel Prize in 1989, and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2006. Time magazine named the Dalai Lama one of the “children of Mahatma Gandhi and spiritual heir to non-violence.”

He lives in exile in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India. For many years, even decades, Dalai Lama cultivated a friendship with many scientists, especially neuroscientists, to gain insight into the workings of the brain. As he is intensely interested in sciences, many top academics working in quantum physics, cosmology, psychology, and said neurosciences were and are regularly invited, firstly to his Potala Palace, a former British hill station in Lhasa, and now to his retreat in Dharamshala, or he travels to their meetings in Washington DC, USA, or other places in the world.  Those meetings and intense discussions resulted in the Dalai Lama founding The Mind and Life Institute to investigate the workings of sciences and Buddhism which while using different methodology is having a similar aim – to investigate nature and reality, cognitive neuroscience, physics, and to publish books (several so far) on those subjects.

Many scientists who met him, remarked how knowledgeable he is, and hungry to know more about the sciences. They liked the way the Dalai Lama greets people: he takes your hand and rubs it gently, he looks into your eyes, feels deeply what you are feeling, and touches his forehead to yours. Whatever feeling is in your heart and reflected on your face, it is mirrored in his.

The Dalai Lama’s view is well known:

“What science finds to be nonexistent, we should all accept as nonexistent, but what science merely does not find is a completely different matter.”

The meetings and dialogue are devoted to comparing the way science is using technology and the way Buddhism is using the human nervous system that is refined by meditation and rigorous mental and emotional training. Some of the dialogues raised the interests of and sponsorship of John Hopkins Medical University and the Georgetown Medical Center. The Institute is situated now in Charlottesville, Virginia. The meetings that are held open to the public attract crowds who listen attentively to the speaker, the Dalai Lama’s every word of wisdom.

In 2016, the dialogue of the Mind and Life Institute took place in San Diego, California, with 1200 attendees from 34 countries. “The notion that science and spirituality are somehow naturally exclusive does a disservice to both,” said one scientist.

“The purpose of spirituality in a secular world is that of a moral compass that tempers the destructive emotions that so often accompany our modern materialism. The more we pursue material improvement, ignoring the contentment that comes of inner growth, the faster ethical values will disappear from our communities. Then we will experience unhappiness in the long run, for when there is no place for justice and honesty in people’s hearts, the weak are first to suffer. And the resentment resulting from such inequity ultimately affects everyone adversely.”

“With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play in reminding us of our humanity. What we must do is balance scientific and material progress with the sense of responsibility that comes of inner development. That is why I believe  this dialogue between religion and science is important, for from it may come developments that can be of great benefit to mankind.”

The above quotes are the Dalai Lama’s, and I think that I should give you a few extracts from His Holiness’s several books, many about joy and happiness.

“Mind and heart. Materialistic values cannot give us peace of mind, So we really need to focus on our inner values, our true humanity. Only this way can we have peace of mind — and more peace in our world. A lot of the problems we are facing are our own creation, like war or violence. Unlike a natural disaster, these problems are created by humans ourselves.

I feel there is a big contradiction, there are over seven billion human beings, and nobody wants to have problems or suffering but there are many problems and much suffering, most of our own creation. Why? Something is lacking. As one of the over seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has a responsibility to develop a happier world. We need ultimately, to have a greater concern for others’ well-being. In other words, kindness or compassion, which is lacking now. We must pay more attention to our inner values. We must look inside.”

“In order to develop our mind, we must look at a deeper level. Everyone seeks happiness, joyfulness, but from outside –from money, from power, from big car, from big house. Most people never pay much attention to the ultimate source of a happy life, which is inside, not outside. Even the source of physical health is inside, not outside.”

The Dalai Lama’s Temple, Namgyal Monastery, his personal monastery in Dharamshala

“Personally, I am Buddhist, and I consider faith very important, but at the same time, the reality is that out of over seven billion people, over one billion people on the planet are nonbelievers. So we cannot exclude them. One billion is quite a large number. They are also our human brothers and sisters. They also have the right to become happier human beings and to be good members of the human family. So no one needs to depend on religious faith to educate our inner values”.

The Masrur Rock-Cut Hindu Temples in Dharamshala

“There’s a certain type of relationship that is highly valued. That is a relationship that’s characterized by a deep level of intimacy between two people, having one special person with whom you can share your deepest feelings, fears, and so on. People feel that unless they have a relationship of this kind that there is something missing in their lives. I believe that kind of intimacy can be seen as something very positive. Yes, I think, if someone is deprived of that kind of intimacy then it can lead to problems…”

“Empathy is important not only as a means of enhancing compassion, but I think that generally speaking, when dealing with others on any level, if you are having some difficulties, it is extremely helpful to be able to try to put yourself in the other person’s place and see how you would react to the situation. Even if you have no common experience with the other person or have a very different lifestyle, you can try to do this through imagination. You may need to be slightly creative. This technique involves the capacity to temporarily suspend insisting on your own viewpoint but rather to look from the other person’s perspective, to imagine what would be the situation if you were in his shoes, how you would deal with this. This helps you develop an awareness and respect for another’s feelings, which is an important factor in reducing conflicts and problems with other people. I find that relating to others on that level makes it much easier to exchange and communicate with one another.”

Spiti River, Himachal Pradesh, the Himalayas, a sign of serenity…

I will leave the last word, respectfully, to His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

LOVE IS THE CENTER OF HUMAN LIFE

“Love and compassion are the ultimate sources of human happiness,
and our need for them lies at the very core of our being.”

AS YOU SOW, SO YOU REAP

“Happiness comes from kindness.”

“Happiness cannot come from
hatred or anger.”

LOVE SPRINGS ETERNAL

“The foundation of all spiritual
practice is love.”

MEDITATION

“Meditation should form
the basis for action.”

CAUSE AND EFFECT

“One’s own actions create
one’s life situation.”

REAPING THE BENEFITS

“The reason why we seek to behave
in a good manner is that it’s from good
behavior that good fruits are derived.”

GIVE AND TAKE

“By showing concern for other people’s
welfare, sharing other people’s suffering,
and helping other people, ultimately one will
benefit. If one thinks only of oneself and forgets
about others, ultimately one will lose.”

CARING FOR OTHERS

“Most of the good or beneficial
effects that come about in the
world is based on an attitude of
cherishing others.

The opposite is also true.”

SELF – IMPORTANCE

“Tolerance and patience with courage
are not signs of failure but signs of victory.
Actually, if you are too important, that’s a real failure.”

THE POWER OF LOVE

“A good heart is both important
and effective in daily life.”

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE
EVOLVED INDIVIDUAL

“We need human qualities such as
moral scruples, compassion, and humility.

These qualities are accessible only through
forceful individual development.”

THOUGHTS  SHAPE  EVENTS

“All things first originate in the mind.
Things and events depend heavily on motivation.”

THE  KEY  TO  SUCCESS

“Determination, with an optimistic attitude,
is the key factor for success.”

All the books below are those on which this post is based.

The quote at the beginning comes from the book by Ashok Wahi. It is a spiritual self-help book. You can find his blog Musings of a Wanderer on WordPress.

96 thoughts on “Great Books of the World – Part 14

  1. Another of your enlightening posts Joanna. It is so well written and I am a big fan of HH Dalai Lama 🙏

    My Gurudeva, Paramahansa Yogananda, also talked so much about the commonality of science and spirituality and I love that.

    Thank you so much for reading and quoting from my book. I am a humble seeker Joanna, who loves to share his experiences. I am no guru 🙏🙏

    I have quoted HH a lot in my book 🙏🙏

    Pls do share the link to my blog in your post : ashokwahi.Wordpress.com

    And the book link on Amazon is: https://www.amazon.com/Pillars-Abundant-Life-Ashok-Wahi/dp/1543707343

    Have a joyous weekend Joanna 😊

    Like

  2. This was an interesting read, Joanna. Apart from Dalai Lama’s teachings on love, empathy, deep intimacy and internal source of happiness, his interest in science and technology was amazing.

    Devout Hindus also pray before meal. His concern about non-believers gives an idea of tolerance that Hindus also follow.

    In fact, all the four religions, e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, follow the centrality of Dharma, an eternal path to righteousness, virtue and morality, in their teachings. Dharma is nothing but a way of life. That’s why we don’t forget to visit religious places of other three religions as well, without any hesitation, to pay our respects.

    Coming back to Buddhism, right from my childhood, I remember the four noble truths of Buddha- the suffering, its cause, its end and the path to its end. The fourth one is called Nirvana, or moksha (salvation), the ultimate goal that devout Hindus also seek.

    Gently rubbing of hands and touching forehead with his, give me an idea of Reiki through which universal energy is supposed to be transferred for healing purpose. In all, the post is full of life teachings that I adore personally and that one should follow for the overall wellness of mind and body.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful write-up 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you, Ben, for your extensive comment, very kind.

    Joanna

    Like

  5. Thank you, KK, for your enlightening comments, which no doubt, will be also of interest to many readers from outside India. My particular one would be that everything starts in the head, as our first thought, that then leads to action. Praying before a meal was common in every household here, it is still in some. Visiting temples, cathedrals, and other places of worship are essential not only because of their exquisite architecture but also for the feeling of serenity and unworldliness that make us more, oddly enough, human.
    Thank you.

    Joanna

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “If something can be done about the situation. what need is there for dejection? And if nothing can be done about it, what use is there for being dejected?” And I will practice that.” These were the biggest takeaway for me from your today’s post on the Dalai Lama. It was a lovely read as always, complete with the mesmerizing pictures. I used to live near Dharamshala in the 1st decade of my life, but somehow I never realized it’s importance. I’m feeling a bit regretful for that. But I remember visiting a nearby monastery and had loved the experience. I love reading quotes and this post was full of them!
    Also, on a side note, I have a question for you. Are you non-vegetarian, vegetarian, or a vegan?

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Thank you,9, for your generous comments. Glad that you have adopted a “take-away”, it should help us to maintain equilibrium in the deceitful world of today. One day you will be able to travel back to the Himalayas and see Dharamshala with new eyes.
    When you read the wisdom notes, please note that they are deceptively “simplistic”, they are simple but then truth always is.

    As to my eating habits, I don’t eat anything with a pulse; I am vegetarian.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Did you check out my reply to your comment on my poem on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I thought you just left – liked by one person. Which is fine, I understand it.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you, Joanna, for the details. I fully agree with you. I’m happy that you go so deep in such aspects as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You are welcome!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. By now, KK, you know that we have a lot in common.
    Thank you.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I must say that food does look really nice.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Wonderful, of course. Another unexpected twist and turn but much worth read. I noted the compassion for the all (believers and non-believers working together, which must be the case for a healthy society); the connection between science and faith, which but look at the same concepts of how and why only from different perspectives or methods; the evolution of the self that allows for a betterment of society. This is a nice starting place for those interested in Dalai Lama and/or Buddhism. This is something I would probably want to read again and again. Like how you broke of the sections and the ending with philosophical and spiritual core values. And this is very good too:
    “The other of Shantideva’s rules of wisdom states:

    “If something can be done about the situation. what need is there for dejection? And if nothing can be done about it, what use is there for being dejected?” And I will practise that.”

    I guess, what I’m trying to say is: this is all excellent. Thanks for sharing. Love how your blog is a place to learn!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Lovely share, Joanna. I was fortunate to see the Dalai Lama in South Florida several years ago. When he walked into the stadium, the energy changed. Such a gentle soul. I did not know his escape story, nor did I know he was so interested in the intersection of science & spirit. I love and respect him even more now, owing to you. I hope your posts are blessings to you, dear Joanna, as much as they are to all of your readers. 🌞

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Dear Benjamin, I think we have to set up The Mutual Admiration Society! I love your sophisticated, insightful poetry and the
    eloquence of your reviews, and you like to learn. Thank you very much
    And all my blessings to the Indian guru and his wisdom.

    Joanna

    Like

  17. I take it, you would like my friendship, Ben? OK, then, I am easy going. Thank you for inspecting the Tibetan cuisine. I know that
    there a few Tibetan restaurants in London, one quite central, so perhaps in summer, you could take your family there while on a trip to London ( The Science Museum?).

    Joanna

    Like

  18. Thank you, Ben, appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  19. Thank you again, Benjamin.

    Joanna

    Like

  20. I am reading the blog…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Dear Lisa, you are such a Sweetheart, and a Blessing to me, Thank you! I think, whatever some people might feel about Buddhism,
    he is spreading morally right wisdom and can be read as such, a guru, whatever one’s fate.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you again. I did look up your beautiful winter landscapes, but for some reason couldn’t leave a comment. Will try again.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you, Loku. I am looking forward to your always interesting comments,

    Joanna

    Like

  24. Absolutely! Love is love! And thanks for your kind words! 🌞

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Thank you for your persistence! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  26. …or I meant faith! Qh, those foreigners! Munggling English language, Shakespeare turning on his grave! Apologies, Lisa.

    Joanna

    Like

  27. You realize all of these great books are becoming a must-read list.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Thank you, Jacqui, That’s the aim when you write Literary Series!

    Joanna

    Like

  29. Dear joanna,
    Thank you for your article on his holiness the Dalai Lama.
    What a man.
    I discovered it a long time ago, I was 23 (I’m 47).
    At the time my beloved grandmother was in terrible shape, and I was desperate. I turned to the Buddhist community in my city, to find answers and extinguish this grief that was ravaging me.
    I practiced a lot, discovered the teachings of the Boudha, went many times to a community in Dagpo (in the Dordogne). It helped me enormously, and even today I feel all the benefits of this permeation of Tibetan Buddhist teachings.
    I practice as I can, but what I keep most important to me is this practice of empathy, to be in love, and to always be aware of the impermanence of life, life is movement …. but I know you know what I’m talking about;)
    I thank you because his holiness is an illustrious man, one of the last great mystics given to us to hear, to follow and to love.
    Unfortunately I never met him, although he often came to France.
    In this way, I had the chance to meet Sister Emmanuelle, it was in Bordeaux in the Saint-André cathedral, when she entered the building, this tiny very old lady who walked weakly had an incredible effect on me. , a charisma, a fantastic aura, a purely unreal solar presence as she seemed to be walking on clouds. I will never forget this woman, there are people like The Dalai Lama or Sister Emmanuelle who are beacons in our nights of doubt and sorrow.
    thank you Joanna, you bring us to the best, you open the doors to the knowledge of the beautiful and the good.
    Je t’embrasse très fort ❤️💖🙏🏼
    Corinne

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Dear Corinne, by now I should not be surprised by your heart-touching review because you did write about your love of yoga, traveling through India, and your extensive knowledge of so many subjects, yet, I am greatly moved by your deeply held beliefs, your understanding of the immense value of spirituality in today’s urbanised, industrialised, technology-obsessed world, and I thank you.

    Joanna

    Like

  31. It’s noteworthy to write about him. He is the genius soul in the Earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thank you, Kamal, for your kind comment, greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  33. Thank you again.
    Just to add, your exceptional ability to write reviews on art, shouldn’t be wasted. We have had here a nun of the order that didn’t allow

    Just to add, your exceptional ability to review art in your blog shouldn’t be wasted. We had here a nun who belonged to an order that didn’t allow for speaking most of the time, yet because of her astonishing knowledge of art, she was allowed to record TV posts
    as it gave huge financial support to the monastery. It wasn’t only the knowledge but her unique interpretation that was so in demand, and I think, yours also would be. Couldn’t you get an agent? Yesterday’s post about not a well-known painter and your poetic essay on the beauty and the magnetic power of the sea is an example to show to an agent.
    Do it, Corinne, while the iron is hot! (English expression for urgency needed).

    Love,

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  34. My comment seems to have gone missing 🤔

    Like

  35. I think that WordPress can only show a certain number, and as I have so many comments, you can see yours when you press -passed or forward buttons at the end of the current selections. Your comment was first or second so it will be a long way down,

    Joanna

    Like

  36. Dear Joanna,
    The hearts and the sister energies always end up meeting, it is what fascinates me, if we exchange, it is that there is surely no chance …
    I am very happy with our ties, they are precious !
    Bien fort
    Corinne

    Liked by 3 people

  37. Thank you Joana for your encouragement, I have already had requests for artists, it’s very impressive because it’s a big responsibility, I have an artist that I adore and who has a huge personality, and one day she told me I will only accept comments or an expression of my art from you …
    It’s very nice, but when I do it I do it without being told to, it comes out, because it needs to come out of me.
    I’m going to continue doing this kind of article because I’m very comfortable talking about it, I feel in my place, it’s quite strange …
    for as long as i didn’t study art history, it’s just a huge attraction.
    I thank you for all your encouragement
    Thanks for existing Joanna
    Bien fort
    Love,
    Corinne

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Thank you, Corinne, you do deserve only the best because you are naturally talented. I think you need a TV to fully realise your potential.

    Love,

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  39. I am very lucky, Corinne to have met you!

    Love,

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  40. “ Even if you have no common experience with the other person or have a very different lifestyle, you can try to do this through imagination. You may need to be slightly creative. This technique involves the capacity to temporarily suspend insisting on your own viewpoint but rather to look from the other person’s perspective, to imagine what would be the situation if you were in his shoes, how you would deal with this. This helps you develop an awareness and respect for another’s feelings, which is an important factor in reducing conflicts and problems with other people. I find that relating to others on that level makes it much easier to exchange and communicate with one another.”

    The above words are the best part of this post because I think like that. I am working on “The Gondwanaland” on the same way. Your blogs unite my ideas on a single point, yeah! “We will make it together”.

    Your unique way of presentation inspires me a lot. The way you write your blogs is valuable and human. I hope more people should read and learn your blogs.

    Each quote is itself ” a food for thought” , I am gonna check and use them. Thanks to Ashok Wahi I have some ‘not good’ memories of past. I live in present.

    Today and yesterday, I had continuously two exams so, I could not read your post gabychops. 😔Sorry for that.

    Thank you for taking time for your valuable feedback on my posts.Thank you so much 🤗 Joanna.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Dear Loku. thank you for reading my post, and there is never any urgency when you can find the time to do so. I greatly appreciate your interesting and generous comments. I hope, you have passed your exams and can enjoy a little bit of freedom. I love your intelligent blog of the future leader and will wait with anticipation for every new of your posts.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Thank you again, Loku, I really appreciated It!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  43. You are welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

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