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Destructive Emotions

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,728 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Bringing together ancient Buddhist wisdom and breakthroughs in a variety of fields from neuroscience to child development, this book offers fresh insights into how we can recognise and transform our destructive emotions. It tells where destructive emotions (craving, anger and delusion, known in Buddhism as the three poisons) come from.
Published December 1st 2004 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published February 29th 2000)
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Aug 08, 2009 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm an atheist, but I find Buddhism to be a compelling religion. I admire the Dalai Lama (duh), but what is truly stunning is his scientific curiosity. Never before have a I heard a religious leader say that if scientific evidence contradicts the dogma of a religion, that religion *must change* to accommodate this new data - that's exactly what the Dalai Lama states in this book. Read it!
Nov 16, 2012 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not an easy read. This is not the kind of material that I breezed through and I've found that while the rational and logical aspects kept me rooted, some realizations along the way were pretty painful. I read this with a journal next to me. And I'm not finished reading it yet. The book offers a lot of self-reflection and one of the most poignant takeaways I received from this is how the Dalai Lama had to take a break during one seminar when he learned that Westerners hated themselves. He ...more
Michael Vagnetti
It's unfortunate that this book is titled what it is. It's really a book of comparative psychology/philosophy of mind: Western vs. Buddhist. It explores in detail the complex Buddhist concept of emotions/afflictions, and how Western language and philosophy have framed ideas of compassion, mind, and ethics in contrasting ways. A practical bridge between the mythical elusiveness of concepts like nirvana and samsara and the way that the brain actually handles emotions across cultures. The scientist ...more
The structure of the book took some getting used to with its propensity for "dialogues". But the book holds many gems. One of my favorites takes place when the Dalai Lama is asked how we're supposed to have compassion for others.

This is paraphrased:
He said the greatest example of compassion is the compassion a mother has for her child. If we can take that type of compassion and focus it on all we come in contact with. That is compassion. That is love.
Jun 21, 2016 Andreea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was written as the proceedings of the eighth Mind and Life meeting, having as the main topic destructive emotions. The biographies of the participants are as interesting as the topic of the discussion. In order to better portrait the participants, The author also gives some short information about their lives and what motivates them in their research. We are told about the Dalai Lama’s childhood and his interest in science from a young age. Another nice example is Jeanne Tsai, who was b ...more
Nov 08, 2012 Raheel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great primer for anyone who wants to get some knowledge on neuroscience. Additionally one would appreciate how the author explains on length different sections of the brains anatomy ,for many of the uninitiated it would be their first time coming across terms such as as Amygdala, Hippocampus , Frontal Lobes et al.
Going beyond just explaining brain anatomy , Daniel Goldman illustrates how all of these parts have a great bearing on our personalities and behavior.The book breaks through the Freu
Jan 21, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, Daniel Goleman rather gets in the way of the "dialogue” to which the title refers. He seems much more intent on creating a Dalai Lama hagiography than presenting the reader with a pellucid transcript of the proceedings of what, to be fair, does seem to have been an amazing colloquium. Notwithstanding the annoying smarminess of Goleman, the book has its moments. In particular I found discussions in which neuroscience research findings were described and related to Tibetan Buddhism ...more
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Luke Fullagar
Oct 21, 2015 Luke Fullagar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I *loved* how this potted summary of the conference afforded the narrative a relaxed feel.
It was so much fun hearing the way each of these luminaries would interject with their two cents when the conversation would turn to points of cultural difference.
The extended treatment of the three poisons and their twenty derivatives was the best I've come across.
Just so many subtle moments in this book where he smallest of distinctions opened whole new possibilities for how I conceive of the role emot
Ricardo Roman
Nov 06, 2007 Ricardo Roman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Como pocos libros teóricos, Emociones Destructivas tiene la facultad de evocar emociones profundas de afecto y admiración por seres humanos visionarios en el sentido más profundo de lo que necesitamos en estos tiempos. Comprender las emociones como parte de la mente, y la mente como algo más que una máquina de procesamiento de información. Es un diálogo entre científicos experimentales y sabios del budismo tibetano, que incluye sorprendentes experimentos de primera línea científica, que debiera ...more
Jul 19, 2008 Christi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christi by: Brandon DeCuir
Fascinating! While it was a long read (because I kept re-reading), it was worth every minute. This book is the account of the eighth Mind and Life meeting, held March of 2000 in Dharamsala, India.

While reading, I actually felt as if I were sitting amongst the renowned scientist, monks and philosophers. This conference combines ancient Buddhist wisdom and breakthroughs in a variety of fields of scientific study (neuroscience to child development). The relevant discoveries illustrate how we can r
Munteanu Rodica
Jun 26, 2016 Munteanu Rodica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cartea ofera o perspectiva diferita asupra budismului, budismul fiind schitat ca un stil de viata, si nu ca o religie. Se doreste a se scoate in evidenta atat asemanarile dintre culturi in ceea ce priveste emotiile, cat si diferentele culturale. In final, mesajul de tinut minte este ca atat de ravnita schimbare a unor temperamente dificile, care ne umbresc viata, este posibila, sustinuta fiind de neurologia actuala care a dovedit existenta neuroplasticitatii. Merita cele 5 stele si doar pentru s ...more
Susan Mills
Oct 11, 2014 Susan Mills rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Dalai Lama is a fascinating person, as has been said before. The book makes it apparent that he is deeply intelligent and engaged both on a spiritual and temporal level. He has an insightful mind as to many scientific inquiries. Here, he and other high lamas are an integral part of a conference of neuroscientists exploring how the mind works and, in particular, how we can better manage and train our minds, our youth, to steer away from destructive emotions and find a happier mindset. The Da ...more
Jan 18, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This record of conversations between the Dalai Lama, Buddhist scholars and American & European psychologists and neuroscientists was absolutely delightful. There were big, complicated ideas discussed, but explained! This book gave me a lot to think about, (like the idea that anger isn't necessarily something innate we can't get rid of). Hmmmmm.
Feb 29, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting to see how many books get written by participants in these conversations with the Dalai Lhama. It was interesting to see the need to define very basic terms, not because of a religious, cultural, or linguistic differences, but for all those reasons, AND it seem to bring a lot of clarity to the discussion. It is also noteworthy to see how those differences opened up topics of research. The exciting part of the narrative is to know that we can still question basic assumptions. The ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give it 6 stars. A great dialogue, not just about destructive emotions, but about all emotions/psychology in general. Monks in meditative states outscore everyone else on tests of emotional selfcontrol, even going so far as calming others through using the open-state.

The author recounts the public meeting between Buddhist practitioners and scientist, comparing and contrasting the 2 systems for a detailed look at emotional psychology.

Also includes an explanation of PATHS, an Americ
Oct 23, 2009 Krystal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything I love, spirituality, psychology, neurology.
David Hanley
Mar 09, 2015 David Hanley rated it liked it
A very interesting dialogue between western scientists and buddhism with the Dalai Lama. The content is engaging in that it covers philosophy, culture, history, medidation and mindfulness techniques, neuroscience and sociology. This has opened me up to another world of topics I now want to read further on.
The reason it does not go above a 3 star rating is because it drags on, and the conversation style means it can often come across as being a bit circular. I think a more direct style to the co
Peter Neiger
A fascinating meeting between scientists and the Dalai Lama to discuss negative emotions, both what they are and what (if anything) can be done about them. I particularly enjoyed the scientific research provided that showed the benefits of meditation and having a positive outlook on life. Our minds and bodies are combined and if you are a negative person you are more likely to be physically ill and have weaker social bonds. Meditation is a technique that has been shown to improve the quality of ...more
Juan Manuel  Charry Urueña
Nov 08, 2015 Juan Manuel Charry Urueña rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: main
Se trata del dialogo entre la inteligencia emocional y el budismo. Algunas de las cosas que dice el libro: El odio (la más destructiva de todas las emociones). Los budistas denominan los Tres Venenos (el odio, el deseo y la ignorancia). Todos los seres humanos compartamos el mismo conjunto de sentimientos básicos. Occidente ha tratado de corregir farmacológicamente el efecto de las emociones destructivas. Kierkegaard: «La pureza de corazón significa querer sólo una cosa». El vínculo existente en ...more
May 12, 2008 Everett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intellectualism
This book was excellente. If it sounds at all interesting, get it and read it.

I'm really interested in the buddhist approach to emotional issues:
'"To consider whether those destructive emotions are part of the basic nature of mind, we need to examine them. Take anger, for example. A strong burst of anger seems irresistible, very compelling. We feel almost powerless not to feel angry; it is as if one has no choice but to experience it. This is because we don't really look at the nature of anger i
Nov 21, 2012 Yulia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hm, it seems rather awkward (if not ungenerous) to write but I wouldn't recommend this book. I was very interested at first, learning that Buddhism is open to changing as science provides explanations that contradict Buddhist teachings, but this work is no more than a summary of a week-long presentation by various specialists in religion, biology and psychology on mental states that can be deemed destructive, whether in the East or West. In the course of the book, it became clear that the specia ...more
Daniele Zanini
Sep 14, 2016 Daniele Zanini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Approfondire con persone di caratura come Daniel Goleman, Paul Ekman, Dalai Lama e molti altri sull'argomento delle emozioni afflittive portando esempi, situazioni e confronti.
Mi ricordo ancora benissimo di come da esperimenti il trasalimento è una delle chiavi di lettura migliori per comprendere il grado di sofferenza che una persona reca con sè.
Inizia a sviscerare argomenti validi per confrontarsi con sè stessi.
Aug 29, 2016 Riham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very sophisticated and I had to take my time with it. Most of the wisdom here cannot be understood unless they're applied and implemented in real life. That's what I tried to do. I feel blessed for having a spiritual and religious leader whom I follow. It gives me a sense of purpose and creates a path for me. It was a good read. Very informative and I would definitely go through some parts again.
Rolling Ideas
After reading Daniel Goleman's and , this book is not as impressive as the previous ones. Its content largely overlaps with prior readings, yet it does offer some novel perspectives on comparison between neuroscience, western psychology and buddhism.
Jan 01, 2008 Kris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
This is one of my current favorite books. It is the most lent, read, and then bought book on my shelf. The Dalai Lama has been participating in Mind and Life conferences where modern western scientists and brilliant Buddhist philosophers discuss current science findings that show the ancient philosophy of Buddhism to have been quite accurate and ahead of its time. I can not wait to hear about the next conference as there should be even more data that shows the power of meditation on brain waves, ...more
Lisa L.
While this book is interesting, it separates the scientific point of view of emotions from philosophical and religious—which I thought is the only way to look at emotions. The book on emotions that shook my understanding of emotions to the core was Secret Techniques for Controlling Sadness, Anger, Fear, Anxiety, and Other Emotions written by Vlad Koros. Koros uses simple observations to show how emotions appear and disappear in our minds and bodies and then explains techniques (which seem like p ...more
Apr 23, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
This book is an account of one of the fascinating annual meetings between the Dalai Lama and western scientists. There is biographical information about the participants, all of whom are at the forefront of their respective fields of research. They get into discussions about the mind - what it is, how it works. They compare Buddhist ideas about philosophy and psychology with current research into the workings of the brain. One of the interesting things was how many English words have no equivale ...more
Apr 05, 2013 Wilton314 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2004
This book is an interesting mix of science and faith. Are we all just talking (and arguing and fighting) about the same things the world over, just in different 'languages'? I really liked the views of the Dalai Lama and have read a few of his books on peacefulness and mindfulness and happiness and joy from simple pleasures as a result of this book. Daniel Goleman's scientific background helps to explain why age old traditions and some would say superstitions actually work. It is not an easy rea ...more
Arne Krueger
Jan 14, 2014 Arne Krueger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: retreat
great, great, great. the connection between neuroscience, and the secularisation of the buddhist concepts and psychology, is the topic of this book. it's written by scientists, who are familiar with but definitely no buddhists nor religious. they try to understand, connect, translate and proof century old wisdom into our modern times with great success. i love the structure too, which is following a three day conference held in 2001 together with the dalai lama. he himself, is only present throu ...more
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Author of Emotional Intelligence and psychologist Daniel Goleman has transformed the way the world educates children, relates to family and friends, and conducts business. The Wall Street Journal ranked him one of the 10 most influential business thinkers.

Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times best sellers list for a year-and-a-half. Named one of the 25 "Most Influential Busine
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“Ética para un nuevo milenio. Si” 0 likes
“The Extraordinary Persons Project In fact, Ekman had been so moved personally—and intrigued scientifically—by his experiments with Öser that he announced at the meeting he was planning on pursuing a systematic program of research studies with others as unusual as Öser. The single criterion for selecting apt subjects was that they be “extraordinary.” This announcement was, for modern psychology, an extraordinary moment in itself. Psychology has almost entirely dwelt on the problematic, the abnormal, and the ordinary in its focus. Very rarely have psychologists—particularly ones as eminent as Paul Ekman—shifted their scientific lens to focus on people who were in some sense (other than intellectually) far above normal. And yet Ekman now was proposing to study people who excel in a range of admirable human qualities. His announcement makes one wonder why psychology hasn't done this before. In fact, only in very recent years has psychology explicitly begun a program to study the positive in human nature. Sparked by Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania long famous for his research on optimism, a budding movement has finally begun in what is being called “positive psychology”—the scientific study of well-being and positive human qualities. But even within positive psychology, Ekman's proposed research would stretch science's vision of human goodness by assaying the limits of human positivity Ever the scientist, Ekman became quite specific about what was meant by “extraordinary.” For one, he expects that such people exist in every culture and religious tradition, perhaps most often as contemplatives. But no matter what religion they practice, they share four qualities. The first is that they emanate a sense of goodness, a palpable quality of being that others notice and agree on. This goodness goes beyond some fuzzy, warm aura and reflects with integrity the true person. On this count Ekman proposed a test to weed out charlatans: In extraordinary people “there is a transparency between their personal and public life, unlike many charismatics, who have wonderful public lives and rather deplorable personal ones.” A second quality: selflessness. Such extraordinary people are inspiring in their lack of concern about status, fame, or ego. They are totally unconcerned with whether their position or importance is recognized. Such a lack of egoism, Ekman added, “from the psychological viewpoint, is remarkable.” Third is a compelling personal presence that others find nourishing. “People want to be around them because it feels good—though they can't explain why,” said Ekman. Indeed, the Dalai Lama himself offers an obvious example (though Ekman did not say so to him); the standard Tibetan title is not “Dalai Lama” but rather “Kundun,” which in Tibetan means “presence.” Finally, such extraordinary individuals have “amazing powers of attentiveness and concentration.” 0 likes
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