Two spiritual giants. Five days. One timeless question.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Read more...
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Two spiritual giants. Five days. One timeless question.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships--or, as they would say, because of them--they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.
In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?
They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our time and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy.
This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecendented week together, from the first embrace to the final good-bye.
We get to listen as they explore the Nature of True Joy and confront each of the Obstacles of Joy--from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which provide the foundation for lasting happiness. Throughout, they include stories, wisdom, and science. Finally, they share their daily Joy Practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.
The Archbishop has never claimed sainthood, and the Dalai Lama considers himself a simple monk. In this unique collaboration, they offer us the reflection of real lives filled with pain and turmoil in the midst of which they have been able to discover a level of peace, of courage, and of joy to which we can all aspire in our own lives.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Cultivating joy was the subject of a five-day conversation between the Dalai Lama and Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa, held in 2015 at the former's residence in exile in Dharamsala, India. The two Nobel Peace Prize recipients argued for a "true joy that was not dependent on the vicissitudes of circumstance," writes Abrams, who moderated the rare meeting between the two friends on the occasion of the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday. Highlighting the men's playful joking and delight in each other's company, Abrams carefully balances their strong voices during intense discussions on the many obstacles to joy (including fear, anger, and adversity) and ways to cultivate greater well-being, using as a framework the "eight pillars of joy" (perspective, humility, humor, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity). Throughout, Abrams skillfully incorporates information about each leader's life and work, basic Buddhist principles undergirding the Dalai Lama's perspectives, and current scientific research. The dialogue intentionally focuses on areas of common ground accessible to readers of any faith or none, though Christians can be assured that Tutu's contributions are infused with his deep love of God. This sparkling, wise, and immediately useful gift to readers from two remarkable spiritual masters offers hope that joy is possible for everyone even in the most difficult circumstances, and describes a clear path for attaining it. (Sept.)
Directions for life's journey
The silence after the holiday rush gives us an opportunity to reflect and review the year that was. These new books offer spiritual insight from a variety of perspectives sure to enlarge our own.
FOOTBALL AND FAITH
From a storied run in college football to difficult times in the NFL, Tim Tebow has weathered his share of setbacks, all made that much harder by being in the public eye. In Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms, Tebow shares stories from his life, then offers parallel tales of friends who have overcome adversity and lessons from Scripture that point toward a relationship with God as the bedrock of true character. He’s a very affable guy, and the book, co-written with A.J. Gregory, is both personal and uplifting. Shaken is a perfect read for someone in need of a latte-sized shot of courage.
COMPANIONS IN JOY
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu have had a long and deep friendship, though health issues and political interference have intervened to keep them apart over the years. The two were able to meet for a week with writer Douglas Abrams, and they spent the time discussing the sources of and obstacles to joy. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World is the result of those talks. Combining Tibetan Buddhist thought, Christian wisdom and science that shows the benefits of faith and meditation, there’s much to consider here; the truest moments, though, are scenes of the two men together, holding hands or touching one another’s cheeks in deep affection, and constantly joking, teasing and laughing. The analysis easily takes a backseat to their demonstration of joy in action.
Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life opens with a scene of such arresting violence it’s impossible to turn away. The bestselling author makes a proposal many will find uncomfortable: Maybe the only way to find union with God is to become fully broken. That doesn’t mean self-harm, but looking at the ways life is already breaking us daily and instead of resisting or turning away, moving into the brokenness. Her vivid descriptions of farm life portray God as manifest in open spaces, but the smallest human interactions ripple outward among others as well; as a result, Voskamp reads like a heady cocktail of Cheryl Strayed and Strong’s Concordance. We can’t have communion without threshing grain and crushing grapes; a hard truth, but through it, so much is possible.
RETHINKING THE TRINITY
Many churches suggest a hands-off approach to the Holy Trinity on the basis that it’s an unknowable mystery. Richard Rohr is having none of that, thank you. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation, co-written with Mike Morrell, posits a Trinity that has more to do with science, the natural world and our increasing need for human connection than the two guys and a dove (or wind or tongue of flame) many of us know. Rohr’s insistence on God’s total inclusion of all beings would be radical enough, but he goes so far as to bend the three faces of God from a triangle into a spiral, a regenerating force. He writes, “In the eternal scheme of things, we discover that all God wants from you is you.” And you are, in fact, the fourth chair in this bridge game; Christian or not, faithful or not, like it or not, that force is a part of us, just as we are of it. Read The Divine Dance, and be prepared to lose a little sleep; it’s that exhilarating.
THE WISDOM OF THE STOICS
If the word “stoic” conjures up images of living on crackers and water, think again. The Stoics were philosophers dedicated to the study of self-mastery, not self-abnegation. Take a little time to familiarize yourself with the tenets of Stoicism, and you’ll find advice that’s shockingly contemporary. Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman’s The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living is a daily reader; each page offers a quote from Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius or a second string of their predecessors, followed by tools for reflection and action. Perception, Action and Will are the three disciplines the Stoics focused on, and they are the focus here as well. Many successful people have cited the wisdom of the Stoics, with its intensity of focus and discarding of the unnecessary, as key to success in life and business. Mastering one’s emotions is hard enough without trying to do it on an empty stomach; put down the Saltines, have a decent meal and see where this ancient yet still relevant philosophy leads you.