Book Review

Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment by H. H. Dalai Lama, Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, Weston, MA, 2002; ISBN 0962342165, 186 pages, paperback, free distribution.

For those with an affinity for the Eastern classics, this commentary by the Dalai Lama on Atisha’s A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment and Tsong Khapa’s Lines of Experience revisits the bodhisattva path of compassion with lucid explanation for altruism in thought and practice. The Dalai Lama approaches these works, both presented in full, with gentle encouragement for study, analysis, reasoning, and debate, to realize what is true in life and to influence harmonious living. The chapter on “The Perfection of Wisdom” gives us the opportunity to discover Buddhism purified in the four seals: 1) All composite phenomena are impermanent; 2) All contaminated phenomena are unsatisfactory, or in the nature of suffering; 3) All things or events are empty or devoid of self-existence; and 4) Nirvana is true peace. Capturing a glimpse of these four tenets returns us to the perennial philosophy with veneration for the teacher, appreciation for the teachings and the circumstances that allowed us to know them, and also in fellowship with those who share the path. This book recharges the goal of altruism. — Robert Patton

(From Sunrise magazine, Fall 2007; copyright © 2007 Theosophical University Press)

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