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. Although previous volumes focused on our present situation and taking responsibility for creating the causes of happiness, this volume concerns opening our hearts and generating the intention to make our lives meaningful by benefiting others.
We are embedded in a universe with other living 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. When we look closely, it becomes apparent that we have been the recipient of great kindness.
Wanting to repay others’ kindness, we cultivate a positive attitude by contemplating the four immeasurables of love, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity, and the altruistic intention of bodhicitta. We learn to challenge the self-centered attitude that leads to misery and replace it with a more realistic perspective enabling us to remain emotionally balanced in good and bad times. In this way, all circumstances become favorable to the path to awakening.
The Library of Wisdom and Compassion is a special multi-volume 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 not born in a Buddhist culture and are peppered with the Dalai Lama’s own unique outlook. Coauthored by one of his long-standing Western disciples, the American nun Thubten Chodron, each book can be enjoyed on its own or read as the logical next step in the series.
- Volume 1: Approaching the Buddhist Path
- Volume 2: The Foundation of Buddhist Practice
- Volume 3: Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature
- Volume 4: Following in the Buddha’s Footsteps
Overview of contents
Venerable Chodron reads an excerpt: Bodhicitta in the Chinese tradition
Reading 2: Bodhicitta in the Pali tradition
- Wisdom Dharma Chat with Venerable Chodron and host Daniel Aitken (available to Wisdom Experience members)
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The Buddha’s journey to full awakening could have ended with liberation, but his infinite compassion in the face of the suffering of all beings led him to continue his journey by sharing what he had learned with others. In this fifth volume of the Library of Wisdom and Compassion, the Dalai Lama explores in depth just how central compassion and empathy are to the path to awakening. It’s a comprehensive look at the teachings on compassion in every Buddhist tradition and is wonderfully complemented by the reflections and meditation suggestions of his co-author, Thubten Chodron.
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Change
Another insightful volume in an important series, In Praise of Great Compassion is a deep and wonderful book that offers crucial lessons for our time—and for all time.
—Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
In Praise of Great Compassion is a welcome arrival that illuminates the interface between two Buddhist traditions, Mahayana and Theravada, through the common ground of compassion. These valuable teachings are a gift and a powerful message to the world.
—Ajahn Sundara, Amaravati Monastery
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, together with Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, lucidly present the Buddha’s teachings to a wider readership. The inclusion of different Buddhist traditions’ practices on the important topic of great compassion is especially welcome, and I am delighted to see a chapter on Chinese Buddhism and its introduction to the Seven Round Compassion Contemplation, as well as the Four Great Vows. These are powerful practices not only to develop compassion but also to eliminate one’s own karmic obstacles. May all beings benefit from this latest volume of the valuable Dharma series, the Library of Wisdom and Compassion.
—Bhikshu Jian Hu, Abbot of Sunnyvale Zen Center
A magnificent, cross-cultural collection of Buddhist teachings on compassion and wisdom. The reflections sprinkled throughout are gems of guidance on how to apply the teachings in everyday life.
—Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, professor, University of San Diego