Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Spiritual Autobiography - The Dalai Lama

My Spiritual Autobiography
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Edited by Sofia Stril Rever

Rider Books, 2010
Review by Ramona Wadi

Interdependence and compassion are recurrent themes in the Dalai Lama's philosophy. From recollections of a humble upbringing, the fascinating account of how the next Dalai Lama is chosen, his becoming the spiritual leader of Tibetans and the political situation which led to his exile, the reflections are replete with serenity in the face of adversity.

My Spiritual Autobiography is an account which should be read by all humanity, as it transcends all the necessities which have been corrupted by legislation and mighty rulers through the years. Discard all the tedious declarations which promote human rights and enter into a realm which soothes the mind in its philosophy of power reversal.

Interdependence creates an obligation that goes beyond selfish, individual interests. This philosophy and its impact relegates power to a spectre of itself, portraying power as an illusion that clings to titles and violence to assert its influence in the world. In the wake of this revelation, the attributes of humanity are illuminated and a new identity emerges which does not remain isolated within the clutches of material gain.

Various reflections, such as the compatibility which should exist between religion and politics may sound controversial to a growing segment that is alienated with trivial pursuits. Religion should serve humanity without ignoring reality, creating and fulfilling a role which strives to overcome the world's problems.  

Even in exile, and amidst the war which ravaged Tibet, the Dalai Lama's philosophy remains void of anger or revenge. A 'battle of non-violence' is waged, invisible to the reigning powers resorting to wars and annihilation. Power and greed have manipulated nations into a cacophony of negative consequences, and the Dalai Lama promotes a higher level of conscience by advocating the virtues of patience and compassion. The simple answer to the freedom that humanity craves depends on all of us, without resorting to the atrocities committed in the name of politics and human rights. "We must cultivate a universal responsibility toward each other and extend it to the planet that we have to share."

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