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Ethics for the new millennium

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,160 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Here is a moral system based on universal rather than religious principles. Its ultimate goal is happiness for every individual regardless of religious belief. Though the Dalai Lama is himself a practicing Buddhist, his approach to life and the moral compass that guides him can lead each and every one of us -- Muslim, Christian, Jew, or Atheist -- to a happier, more fulfil...more
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published August 2nd 1999 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published August 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ken Rideout
This was required reading for a course I am taking which only makes me that much more impressed that I found it so profound. The Dalai Lama has somehow managed to outdo Joseph Campbell in religious sophistication. He has written a book for all of us that is, dare I say it, post religious. Post religious in a deeply spiritual way, in a all-embracing way, and in a conversational non-academic style. Clearly, he is primarily motivated by Buddhist beliefs but he is speaking to as wide an audience as...more
Thom Foolery
In Buddhist thought, the distinction between altruism and self-interest disappears like the distinction between samsara and nirvana in the Heart Sutra:
If the self had intrinsic identity, it would be possible to speak in terms of self-interest in isolation from that of others'. But because this is not so, because self and others can only be understood in terms of relationship, we see that self-interest and others' interest are closely interrelated. Indeed, within this picture of dependently origi
The Dalai Lama wrote this call for a spiritual revolution in 1999, and it represents the encapsulation of his thinking about ethics, an ethics not dependent on a particular religion or indeed any religion at all. Rather, it grows out of his conviction that the way to a fulfilled and meaningful life depends on the recognition that all people desire happiness and freedom from suffering. All phenomena in the world are interdependent, the nature of reality being that no one exists alone or by and fo...more
Check out my spanish review on my blog:
This is such an extraordinary book! Everyone should read it! Despite it was written more than a decade ago; the topic is clearly current and alive. I am so touched and moved for what I have just read; that I can only transcribe the last few paragraphs of this fantastic book:

Therefore; with my two hands joined; I appeal to you the reader to ensure that you make the rest of your life as meaningful as possible. Do this by engaging in spiri...more
As a brief and necessarily general work, this book isn't exactly revelatory, but its simplicity is soothing and its message always welcome, however familiar. After all, there's a difference between being familiar with and remaining aware of ethical principles, not to mention the difference between remaining aware of and acting on them. For the duration of the book, I was at least aware.

Ultimately, I'd prefer a more specific discussion of how the Dalai Lama's experience and belief are relevant to...more
Molly Montgomery
I thought this book provided insightful guidelines for ethics, and I like how the Dalai Lama specifically directed his advice towards non-religious people and was very open to the possibility that one can lead an ethical life without religion. If you're looking for specific suggestions on how to act like a better person, you probably need to consult more specific philosophers or religious texts because this book does not give you them. The Dalai Lama appeals to the universal human desire to find...more
The Dalai Lama is a great spiritual leader of the 20th and 21st centuries. In this book, he outlines his understanding of an ethical life, how to live in the world, and why compassion is the key to inner peace and world peace. While this point is convincing and profound, the message is repeated throughout the book, and the writing, presentation, editing, and readability all leave a bit to be desired. A useful message should be simple, but this book may not appreciate the complexities of this new...more
What the Dalai Lama writes in this book really reflects a lot of my own personal philosophy. His main belief is that all humans want to find happiness and aviod suffering. The best way to do this is by living a life of love, compassion, patience, forgiveness, tolerance, and humility. He beleives that religious practice often cultivates these in our lives, but he argues that it is not NECESSARY to be an active participant in a religious practice to live an ethically grounded life. I find this ver...more
Scott Dinsmore
Why I Read this Book: Who could pass up the opportunity to learn about ethics from the Dali Lama himself.


Ethics are an interesting concept. A set of rules or ways of life that guide us to live life in a positive way both for ourselves and for those around us. This is my definition and hopefully at this point in your journey towards success, you have developed your own definitions of ethics and values. The unfortunate fact of life is that there are too many people out there who do not have...more
B.t. Newberg
The Dalai Lama reaches past religious boundaries in this call for a new ethics practical for peoples of all beliefs, religious and secular. Although religions have provided ethical instruction in the past, they are losing their hold. Therefore we need an ethics which does not depend on religions, one which is at home in both religious and secular contexts. This he seeks to provide in Ethics for the New Millennium.

To begin, the Dalai Lama urges the need to ground all actions in positive mental st...more
Samantha Newman
I wanted to find a way to simply be more peaceful in my daily life, and it seems to me that real Buddhists are pretty peaceful people, so the Dalai Lama seemed to be a good place to go to for some ideas on peace.

I enjoyed reading the book and it does give some really good ideas and ways to think. I found myself identifying with the people he described that I wish I wasn't like! This gave me ideas on how to change, or simple ways to think differently to be happier and kinder and more peaceful in...more
David Gross
I would recommend the newer Beyond Religion Ethics for a Whole World instead, as a more methodical, precise, and practical guide to ethics. I found Ethics for the New Millennium to be comparatively gauzy, vague, and platitudinous.

Still, there was some meat on the bone worth chewing on.

The key to Ethics for the New Millennium is the Dalai Lama’s assertion that the way to be happy and content is to develop and expand one’s own compassion. The purest and most universally-directed altruism is simult...more
Erik Dabel
The Dalai Lama is a beautiful, caring, warm soul, one who we can all learn a great deal from. This book is simply his thoughts on what we as individuals can do to make the world a better place, just as the title suggests, in an ever changing world heading into a new Millennium.

There are many great guidelines on these pages, many that our political and social leaders should really take a look at.

There isn't really anything mind blowing or revolutionary, the ideas are rather basic, but he portray...more
Bryan Jaketic
I would not have read this book, had it not been given to me as a gift. It was very readable and written in a humble voice. I am not religious, but the Dalai Lama writes about basic morality in a straightforward way. I didn't have an epiphany reading this book, but it is nice to be reminded of some of the basic things we learn growing up.
The most impressive thing about this book is that it came out in early 2001 - months before our nation underwent an unprecedented tragedy - and the Dalai Lama's message of a roadmap for peaceful coexistence in our world resonates just as powerfully today as it did in what Americans would consider more 'peaceful' days.

I re-read this after 9/11 and felt like it was a handbook for the world's leaders to follow. I don't think any did - ours sure didn't - but the book also talks about our own person...more
I've always enjoyed reading items written by the current Dalai Lama; I think he has a very easy and ascertainable writing style that brings forth the concepts of Buddhism, and his belief for its application in our world, in a manner that is very accessible to the reader. This book was no exception, and for any one familiar with his writings, his focus on compassion as the core of ethics is no surprise. I tend to agree with an ethics centered on compassion, but I think the book begins the discuss...more
Scott Merkling
This is one of the best surveys of Buddhist thought available for westerners. In his lovable style and simple, straightforward prose, His Holiness provides people of all walks of life with what they have always wanted... the key to happiness.
Of all the books I have read by His Holiness the Dalai Lama this is the one that feels the most direct, not through an interpreter or narrator. Reading this is the next best thing to a conversation with the man himself.
Also of note is that the practice des...more
I have tried so hard to read this book. I keep putting it down and then picking it back up and reading some more. I can't get into it. He has a valid point but it seems maybe like an essay that tried to be a book
Laura K
Excellent and thought-provoking, this book presents "a moral system based on universal, rather than religious principles." Love, compassion, patience, tolerance, humility , forgiveness. I especially appreciated the fact that he discusses what's right with the world (hope based on a greater awareness of ecology, cooperation, awareness, ect.), and not just what is troubling. He deals with difficult issues (how can different religions co-exist, how can different religious practitioners still stay t...more
This book was recommended to me via my youngest daughter. Seems she had a few classes/lectures with his holiness and it blew her away. I found the book fascinating! I have always thought of the Dalai Lama as a great humanitarian & an incredibly intelligent human. This book should be a must read for every single person. I know that is a bit over the top but truly this book, chapter by chapter, is an amazing thought & action provoking outline to what we as human beings ought to be doing fo...more
Johnny Stork
In an ever expanding global community, resulting in the elimination or reduction of boundaries separating countries, economies, cultures and people, there is little doubt we need universal, or at least globally recognized ethics. Otherwise our future is likely to be marked by increasing tensions, divisions, conflict and even war between nations. Ethics for The New Millennium is a good start in trying to identify what a global system of ethics might look like. At the very least, another secular w...more
Oct 08, 2007 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you, probably
Shelves: soulfood
If you think there's no religious leaders out there with a rational perspective, Tenzin Gyatso is the exception to the rule.

this guy always makes me smile. Of course, he has his ethical background in Tibetan Buddhism, but he clearly distinguishes between the ethical, the spiritual, and the religious, in common terms, and in a way that relates the "Buddhist" to the "Human", without imposing dogma.

H.H. provides a practical metaphysical ground for a realistic platform of compassion as the standard...more
Peregrine 12
Dec 10, 2010 Peregrine 12 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophy fans, fans of the Dalai Lama's teachings
I have read other books by H.H. The Dalai Lama, but this was by far the densest. I listened to this one on audio CD - hard to stay focused, and the narrator had some kind of an accent that I had difficulty understanding at times. The message was positive, though, and worth thinking about. Best part: His Holiness suggesting an international Ethics/Morality Council to decide independently upon world political affairs, as a moral compass, a checkpoint for the peoples of the world without political...more
Sep 19, 2008 Luis rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book is grounded on the fact that we, as human beings all seek happiness and want to avoid pain and suffering. In explaining this, it lays out some fundamentals for how to live life and be happy while putting aside our shallow self interests and taking into consideration the happiness of others. Through cause and effect, we are better able to understand the world around us and how we influence it with our actions. It's a very idealistic approach of bettering the world from our own individua...more
Kristina Lee
Should be required reading for all humans
Fred Kohn
I always enjoy reading books by the Dalai Lama, although I find much of it hard to understand. I have been solidly in the Christian tradition all my life and although I find Buddhist ideas interesting, they are for the most part outside my experience. Fortunately this book concentrates very little on Buddhist philosophy and focuses mainly on what I would call an everyperson view of morality. I found this very practical and admired how the Dalai Lama made his case, from individual experience up t...more
Sherry (sethurner)
I was really interested in what the Dalai Lama had to say about what and ethical life is, and why people would want to lead an ethical life. Simplfying it greatly, his answer is that if people live according to the notion that possessions, money and self interest are the most important thing, they will not find happiness. His compelling argument is that people will only be happy if they strive to have good relationships and ease the suffering of others. I found his writing to be compelling and a...more
David Haws
I'm giving a lecture on commitment and the willingness to suffer (ostensibly about the death of Socrates) and I remember these two Dalai Lama books that I read a few years ago. I think the point is that empathy is human, and empathy requires us to share suffering. Suffering is in the Affective Domain, but the causes of suffering can be physical, cognitive, or affective. I think the point with Socrates (the Crito) is that he empathizes with the suffering in Athens caused by a cognitive deficiency...more
Sep 19, 2007 Bret rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rich people on meds
It's amazing to think that people in Third World countries can still smile and experience happiness while our society seems consumed by an empty quest for material gratification. We enjoy luxuries like no other people on the planet, yet still display extreme levels of psychological disturbance and psychosomatic illness. What can we learn about ourselves so that we may undue much of our self-imposed stress? The Dalai Lama has the answers and I find him the most remarkable person walking the Earth...more
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Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the...more
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