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Book Review| My Spiritual Journey by The Dalai Lama

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Hi guys, welcome back. Today we are going to do another fun color with me and book chat. So, grab your coloring book and let’s get started.

This color with me is a median between the first two. I recorded this video with the time-lapse feature on iphone for over 6 hours and slowed it down to about 5 minutes. In the comment section below, let me know if you prefer the longer, medium or shorter video type. As always, I’ll post the completed version of the pages we color together on the ReadingOnTheRun blog.

As an avid reader of the RTOR blog you, dear friend, may already know, I love reading personal accounts by brave souls from worlds I know very little about. This read is a perfect fit. My Spiritual Journey by the fourteenth Dalai Lama is a personal account of his childhood memories, journey as a Monk leading up to becoming the Dalai Lama as well as his hopes for humanity and Tibet. It is beautifully written in translation with his co-writer Sofia Stril-Rever.

One of my favorite pieces in the book discusses compassion and love as the basic human need from conception throughout life. It proposes altruism as the solution to this need. This is certainly an argument to consider during this trying time in our world🌍. Wikipedia defines Altruism as the principle and moral practice of [selfless] concern for happiness [and well-being] of others. Simply put, doing things for others is more valuable than selfish pursuits.

“By accustoming your mind to a universal altruism, you will develop a feeling of responsibility for others and the wish to help them overcome their suffering effectively.” ~ Dalai Lama

Confession: Throughout this book I depended on Google to fill the gaps in my knowledge. Before parting the pages, I researched Tibet (an autonomous region within China), Monk (a member of a religious community of men typically under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience) and Buddhism (a faith that was founded 2500 years ago in India)

The Dalai Lama is a Tibetan spiritual and political figure. A position rather than a specific person. In Tibetan culture this figure provides spiritual guidance in the faith of Buddhism and lives as a Monk once appointed. This book is written by the most recent Monk holding the position making him the fourteenth appointed on February 22, 1940. The people of the Buddhist faith believe that the Dalai Lama is reincarnated upon death therefore the same soul/spirit has lived in all of the fourteen men holding this position. Reading this book, I’ve learned that this history is extensively complex, inclusive of how these faiths have affected the relationship of Tibet and China.

The fourteenth Dalai Lama explains how, the thirteenth Dalai Lama chose not to appoint his successor before passing therefore the believers were forced to search the community for where his soul could have gone. There is a system to this which is outlined in the book. The, now, fourteenth Dalai Lama was instinctively able to identify with the possessions of the recently passed thirteenth Dalai Lama which qualified him for the position. After other testing and evaluation, he was appointed as a child and moved into the palace to begin his study. He describes his current schedule as meditation, meetings, laughter, more meditation and more meetings. Apparently as a child he was a prankster and enjoyed playing with the palace staff instead of studying.

The book begins with the fourteenth Dalai Lama summarizing his life’s commitments as follows in the short except:

“My first commitment in life, as a human being, is the promotion of human values and those qualities of spirit that are key elements in a happy life, whether of an individual, a family, or a community...

My second commitment in life, as a Buddhist Monk, is the promotion of harmony among the different religions...

My third commitment in life, as the Dalai Lama, is the cause of Tibet, which concerns me very particularly...”

Therefore, the book is broken up into three parts themed by these three outlined “commitments to life” previously described, stretched over eight chapters, complete with a forward and afterword. The forward is written by the co-writer, interpreter for the Dalai Lama (translated to English from Sanskrit).

Chapter Summary:

Forward: Listening to the Dalai Lama’ Appeal to the World

Part One: As Human Being

1. Our Common Humanity

2. My Lives Without Beginning to End

Part Two: As a Buddhist Monk

3. Transforming Oneself

4. Transforming the World

5. Taking Care of the Earth

Part Three: As the Dalai Lama

6. In 1959 the Dalai Lama Meets the World

7. I Appeal to All the Peoples of the World

Conclusion: I place mu hope in the Human Heart

I gathered that this Dalai Lama is a bit unconventional in the way he interacts with the world, other world leaders and through mainstream media. His unconventional methods also extend to considering appointing a woman Dalai Lama before his passing, which is effectively unheard of in the culture. This read is enjoyable, light and informative. The chapters are short, well written and easy to digest. It was most interesting learning about the process of “finding” the next Dalai Lama once the previous one has passed away and I particularly fancied his sense of humor, humility and warmth.

Giveaway: Win my copy of My Spiritual Journey by The Dalai Lama

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As Always, Happy Reading Friends!





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