His Holiness the Dalai Lama considered the emanation of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokitesvara is also the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists. This 14th Lama was found by the rituals embedded in the Tibetan culture of Buddhism for finding the next incarnation. The child is confirmed and brought to live within the walls of the great monastery where he will be trained. The present Dalai Lama was given an early Western education which has served him well— a wildly popular guru—sought out by global glitterati for impressive photo ops also as a fount of wisdom and sound advice. Until recently he had political aspirations and indeed those earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 but recently retired his political garb. His Holiness made a summer lecture stop in Dallas where the Bushes were seated in the front row and the tickets for the event scooped up in minutes.
His Holiness speaks excellent English—this new series was recorded in 1993 during a UK visit. He sits on stage accompanied by a trusted translator. So these two DVDs are in part Tibetan and part English because some concepts are conveyed in Tibetan and translated into English. I received the first two DVDs in the Dalai Lama series: Contentment, Joy & Living Well; A Practical Way of Directing Love & Compassion. These recorded talks are given with the usual grace of this teacher. It is a bit more challenging to review dialogue rather than action on the big screen. I enjoyed the insight and the wisdom shared, most of which will resonate with Westerners who wonder about the role of wealth, sex and relationships when trying to live a normal but moral life.
The householder lifestyle is preferred by Eastern philosophies because it takes the seeker and the practitioner away from extremes. One’s light and life led is supposed to speak volumes on this silent path. The balance is always the standard. In fact these days Eastern philosophy is less religion and more BYOB-like: bring your own beliefs. We know this is not okay among Bible-belt Christians. This is where the clash of the titan religions is played out. The most famous Westerner to cross this divide and broker the conflict even writing many books elucidating Eastern religions—Thomas Merton; spent the last few months of his life in deep pursuit of Tibetan Buddhism and even studied with His Holiness.
The DVD Contentment, Joy & Living Well includes the following topics: “How to Find Happiness and Overcome Suffering”; “Using Our Potential to Balance Intelligence and Compassion”; “How to Utilize Material Wealth as a Cause for Satisfaction”; Distinguishing the Positive and Negative Aspects of Desire; “Responsibility and Commitment in Sexual Relationship and Family Life”; “Using The 6 Perfections to Good Effect in Daily Life”; Questions and Answers. Reviewing these talks is much like reviewing a book. To that end, I chose a few salient words that might appeal to most readers.