Excerpt from Ethics For The New Millennium by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler, M.D., plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Ethics For The New Millennium

by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler, M.D.

Ethics For The New Millennium by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 1999, 237 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2001, 237 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Those who practice religion would, of course, be right to say that such qualities, or virtues, are fruits of genuine religious endeavor and that religion therefore has everything to do with developing them and with what may be called spiritual practice. But let us be clear on this point. Religious faith demands spiritual practice. Yet it seems there is much confusion, as often among religious believers or among non-believers, concerning what this actually consists in. The unifying characteristic of the qualities I have described as "spiritual" may be said to be some level of concern for others' well-being. In Tibetan, we speak of shen pen kyi sem meaning "the thought to be of help to others." And when we think about them, we see that each of the qualities noted is defined by an implicit concern for others' well-being. Moreover, the one who is compassionate, loving, patient, tolerant, forgiving, and so on to some extent recognizes the potential impact of their actions on others and orders their conduct accordingly. Thus spiritual practice according to this description involves, on the one hand, acting out of concern for others' well-being. On the other, it entails transforming ourselves so that we become more readily disposed to do so. To speak of spiritual practice in any terms other than these is meaningless.

Here the reader may object that while the transformation of character that such a reorientation implies is certainly desirable, and while it is good that people develop compassion and love, a revolution of spirit is hardly adequate to solve the variety and magnitude of problems we face in the modern world. Furthermore, it could be argued that problems arising from, for example, violence in the home, addiction to drugs and alcohol, family breakup, and so on are better understood and tackled on their own terms. Nevertheless, given that they could each certainly be solved through people being more loving and compassionate toward one another - however improbable this may be - they can also be characterized as spiritual problems susceptible to a spiritual solution. This is not to say that all we need do is cultivate spiritual values and these problems will automatically disappear. On the contrary, each of them needs a specific solution. But we find that when this spiritual dimension is neglected, we have no hope of achieving a lasting solution.

Why is this? Bad news is a fact of life. Each time we pick up a newspaper, or turn on the television or radio, we are confronted with sad tidings. Not a day goes by but, somewhere in the world, something happens that everyone agrees is unfortunate. No matter where we are from or what our philosophy of life, to a greater or lesser extent, we are all sorry to hear of others' suffering.

These events can be divided into two broad categories: those which have principally natural causes-earthquakes, drought, floods, and the like-and those which are of human origin. Wars, crime, violence of every sort, corruption, poverty, deception, fraud, and social, political, and economic injustice are each the consequence of negative human behavior. And who is responsible for such behavior? We are. From royalty, presidents, prime ministers, and politicians through administrators, scientists, doctors, lawyers, academics, students, priests, nuns and monks, such as myself, to industrialists, artists, shopkeepers, technicians, pieceworkers, manual laborers, and those without work, there is not a single class or sector of society which does not contribute to our daily diet of unhappy news.

Fortunately, unlike natural disasters, which we can do little or nothing about, these human problems, because they are all essentially ethical problems, can be overcome. The fact that there are so many people, again from every sector and level of society, working to do so is a reflection of this intuition: There are those who join political parties to fight for a fairer constitution; those who become lawyers to fight for justice; those who join aid organizations to fight poverty; those who care, both on a professional and on a voluntary basis, for the victims of harm. Indeed, we are all, according to our own understanding and in our own way, trying to make the world - or at least our bit of it - a better place for us to live in.

Reprinted from Ethics For The New Millennium by His Holiness The Dalai Lama by permission of Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 1999 by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Perfect Little World
    Perfect Little World
    by Kevin Wilson
    It might be the beginning of a tragic story: Izzy Poole falls in love with her mentally unstable ...
  • Book Jacket: Pachinko
    Pachinko
    by Min Jin Lee
    Pachinko has one of the best opening lines I've encountered in some time: "History has failed us, ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Summer Before the War
    by Helen Simonson
    Set on the cusp of World War I, The Summer Before the War exudes strength and spirit as a small town...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
June
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

A novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake that changed a family forever.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Typewriter's Tale
    by Michiel Heyns

    A thought-provoking novel on love, art and life fully lived.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport

    A masterful retelling of the Russian Revolution from the author of The Romanov Sisters.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

If every country had to write a book about elephants...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.