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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Ten years ago, in the best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles. With Beyond Relgion, he returns to the conversation at his most outspoken, elaborating and deepening his vision for the nonreligious way—a path to lead an ethical, happy, and spiritual life. Transcending the religion wars, he outlines a system of ethics for our shared world, one that makes a stirring appeal for a deep appreciation of our common humanity, offering us all a road map for improving human life on individual, community, and global levels.…

Overall Book Review:

Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World is a revealing and harmonious campaign for the need of secular ethics. Here, The Dalai Lama shares his reasoning for the requisite of ethics that penetrates the scope of religious beliefs and infiltrates itself in a broader more laical fashion:

In such a world, I feel, it is vital for us to find genuinely sustainable and universal approach to ethics, inner values, and personal integrity-an approach that can transcend religious, cultural, and racial differences and appeal to people at a sustainable, universal approach is what I call the project of secular ethics.”

Written in first person, with a few firsthand accounts of his life, The Dalai Lama’s rationalization is divided into two sections:  the first explaining what he means by secular ethics and why it’s needed; the second, a suggested theorem for implementing it.

The Dalia Lama’s understanding and excitement for modern science, both within the behavioral and physical fields is illuminating. His education, experiences, and array of contacts within the theologian and scientific community add to his context of speaking and explaining his point of view.

Readers will notice his view on compassion, and why it is a needed attribute.

It is clear that something is seriously lacking in the way we humans are going about things. But what is it that we lack? The fundamental problem, I believe, is that at every level we are giving too much attention to the external, material aspects of life while neglecting moral ethics and inner values. By inner values, I mean the qualities that we all appreciate in others, and toward which we all have a natural instinct, bequeathed by our biological nature as animals that survive and thrive only in an environment of concern, affection, and warm-heartedness-or in a single word, compassion. The essence of compassion is a desire to alleviate the suffering of others and to promote their well-being. This is the spiritual principle from which all other positive inner value emerge.”

A thought-provoking read, and one that breeds a philosophical dialogue with self, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World will hopefully not go unheeded, as it is an interesting examination for any human regardless of chosen faith or lack of one.

Note: Read in book format and listened to on audible.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Secondhand brief mentions of war, nuclear destruction, and violent abuse; mention of past incident of violence; aggressive behavior in animal; remembrance of teacher who reserved a whip for himself and his brother, brother was whipped; mention of Nazi reign; extended scene, whole chapter dedicated to punishment of violent crimes/ justice of crimes, discussion of death penalty, wars/war crimes, effects of wars; story of child injured by gun; genocide; many mentions of death, violence, and destruction.

Sex/Nudity:  Mention of gender and reproduction; comment on baby sucking on mother’s breast; comment on children running naked in the streets due to poverty; a few brief mentions of sexual exploitation.

Mature Subject Matter:

Government corruption/injustice, social/racial inequality, poverty, war(s), natural disasters.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

 Mention of substance abuse; the word “opium” is mentioned.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.