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The Meaning of Life

Buddhist Perspectives on Cause and Effect

Foreword by Richard Gere / Translated by Jeffrey Hopkins

Using the traditional Buddhist allegorical image of the Wheel of Life and the teaching of the twelve links of dependent origination, the Dalai Lama deftly illustrates how our existence, though fleeting and often full of woes, brims with the potential for peace and happiness. We can realize that potential by cultivating a wise appreciation of the interdependency of actions and experience, and by living a kind and compassionate life. A life thus lived, the Dalai Lama teaches, becomes thoroughly meaningful for both oneself and for others.

Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Born in northeastern Tibet in 1935, he was as a toddler recognized as the incarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and brought to Tibet's capital, Lhasa. In 1950, Mao Zedong's Communist forces made their first incursions into eastern Tibet, shortly after which the young Dalai Lama assumed the political leadership of his country. In 1959, Chinese forces occupied the city, forcing His Holiness to escape to India. There he set up the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, working to secure the welfare of the more than 100,000 Tibetan exiles and prevent the destruction of Tibetan culture. In his capacity as a spiritual and political leader, he has traveled to more than sixty-two countries on six continents and met with presidents, popes, and leading scientists to foster dialogue and create a better world. In recognition of his tireless work for the nonviolent liberation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In 2012, he relinquished political authority in his exile government and turned it over to democratically elected representatives. He is the author of numerous books, including The Good Heart, The Meaning of Life, The World of Tibetan Buddhism, and The Compassionate Life.

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (June 10, 2005)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861719518

"Studded with jewels...The Meaning of Life brings together the theory of Buddhist teachings and the practice of ordinary life. The Dalai Lama's exposition-thorough, gentle and precise-reflects the depth and breadth of his training, communicating the living quality of the tradition."

– Shambhala Sun

"Conveys his personal warmth and compassion."

– CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

"Here, the Dalai Lama has very skillfully examined the existential questions of meaning, purpose, and responsibility, showing how every aspect of our suffering can be ultimately uprooted through a profound understanding of our true nature."

– Jeffrey Hopkins in Eastern Horizon

More books from this author: Dalai Lama