with Don Isaacson
starting on January 20, 2022
In this class we will study the fifth of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s series of books intended for Western and contemporary Asian students.
The Library of Wisdom and Compassion is a special multivolume series in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama shares the Buddha's teachings on the complete path to full awakening that he himself has practiced his entire life. The topics are arranged especially for people seeking practical spiritual advice and are peppered with the Dalai Lama's own unique outlook.
Assisted by his long-term disciple, the American nun Thubten Chodron, the Dalai Lama sets the context for practicing the Buddha's teachings in modern times and then unveils the path of wisdom and compassion that leads to a meaningful life and sense of personal fulfillment.
This series is an important bridge from introductory to profound topics for those seeking an in-depth explanation from a contemporary perspective.
In Praise of Great Compassion, the fifth volume of the Library of Wisdom and Compassion, continues the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the path to awakening. While previous volumes focused on our present situation and taking responsibility for creating the causes for the happiness we seek, this volume is about opening our hearts to others and generating the compassion, joy, and fortitude to make our lives meaningful by benefiting them.
We are embedded in a universe with other beings, all of whom have been kind to us in one way or another. More than any other time in human history, we depend on one another to stay alive and flourish. We are sometimes oblivious to their kindness, or take it for granted, which leads to feelings of discontent. But when we look closely, it becomes apparent that we have been the recipient of great kindness and naturally we want to repay it.
To do this, we begin by cultivating a positive attitude toward others by contemplating the four immeasurables—immeasurable love, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity—and the altruistic intention of bodhicitta. We learn to challenge the deluded logic of the self-centered attitude that leads to misery and replace it with a more realistic perspective that helps us to remain balanced when we experience either happiness or suffering. This enables us to make all circumstances favorable to the path to awakening.