Select one of the keywords
Living Wisdom: With His Holiness the Dalai Lama    by Don Farber & The Dalai Lama order for
Living Wisdom
by Don Farber
Order:  USA  Can
Sounds True, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The benign visage of the Dalai Lama looks out from the cover of this box set. Open it and find a small, 145-page book, Living Wisdom with His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Study Guide of classic lessons on The Six Transcendent Perfections; a music CD of Tibetan chants and original compositions; a 47-minute DVD of Don Farber's more than 400 images set to music; 36 cards, each with a photo of His Holiness on one side and a contemplation from his teachings on the other; and a cardboard mini-easel for display of a daily contemplation.

The images show the Dalai Lama in a range of settings and moods - from solemn, thoughtful and devout to amused and thoroughly joyful. Contemplations on the back of cards include this on Patience: 'To take upon the suffering of others - that is the practice of compassion. To give others your own joy and happiness - that is the practice of love'; and on Ethics: 'When discipline is imposed from the outside, it may be problematic. But when it comes from the inside ... This is discipline imposed by our own mind, with an understanding of the consequences and the benefits of our actions.'

The Study Guide opens on a letter from the Dalai Lama on the Buddha's purpose. He emphasizes the importance of the Transcendent Perfections, elaborating in the guide on the practice of generosity, ethics, patience, joyful exertion, meditative concentration, and wisdom. In his Foreword, Don Farber describes his own spiritual journey and his photography of Tibetan Buddhist events. He expresses the hope that this box set 'will offer people a genuine experience of receiving teachings from His Holiness' and mentions that a substantial portion of royalties will go to help refugees, through the Tibet Fund.

The DVD shows a remarkable series of images of the Dalai Lama and of Tibetan life, set to traditional music. I especially liked the contrast of pictures that show His Holiness in modern Western settings, including (many with Richard Gere) in New York. In all the images, those in the Dalai Lama's presence look serene and very touched by his proximity. The poignant ending shows an audience with a community of Tibetans in Pasadena, where - once the great man leaves - attendees place white scarves on his chair and touch foreheads to it. This valuable kit for spiritual seekers makes an impressive gift for someone you care about - my copy goes to my elder son, once I've read, listened to, and contemplated it a few more times.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews