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Open Heart

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  5,828 ratings  ·  187 reviews
An introduction to the core of Buddhism by its greatest teacher, "An Open Heart" is the successor to the bestselling "The Art of Happiness," the Dalai Lama's clear and simple guide to finding compassion and happiness. 25 photos. (World Religions)
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 16th 2008 by Little, Brown & Company (first published 2001)
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This book was for a GR group selection.

I have to say that if I saw this book sitting on the library shelf I would have picked it up even if it wasn't a group read. The Dalai Lama has always help some fascination for me. I didn't really have any expectations when I picked it up, I was just looking to learn more about Buddhism though not necessarily methods for practicing through meditation.

I jotted down 4 pages of notes reading the foreword, introduction and first chapter. I was captivated by pos
I have read and re-read this book many times and I never grow tired of it. The teachings are ones that should always be remembered and put into practice. Compassion is the path to a full and enriched life. I highly recommend this book!
This book was my introduction to Buddhist thought, and I picked it up at Target on a whim when I was at a very low point emotionally, sprirually, and physically. The Dalai Lama explains the "four noble truths" in a way I found particularly appealing. Here, I thought, is a book that is telling the truth about my life at this very moment. Although my own affinity is with Soto Zen, this book was a fabulous introduction to Buddhism generally. Moreover, as the subtitle indicates, the main theme of th ...more
This book was the start of a spiritual journey. I really enjoyed reading it, and found myself having small epiphanies on the train while reading. I started referring to His Holiness in my head as His Holiness (as opposed to just "The Dalai Lama" like I used to) like he's an old friend. The very conversational writing style is approachable and His Holiness' compassion breathes through the pages to the reader.

In conclusion: this is one of those books that would make the world a truly better place
Daniela Fantaziu
I was thinking this book would be an easy way to just read and start practicing Buddhism on the go. It actually took me a couple of weeks just to go through the text and contemplate on it. In order to make Buddhism part of your life takes weeks, and years.. and maybe a lifetime.

Definitely a book I would come back always to seek for an answer or to find the path to my own questions.

"If we are able to diminish our selfish instincts and develop a little more concern for others before our death, we
Believe it or not, most of the ideas expressed here could be qualified as "non-denominational". Just read it.

I grew up in a family that had an odd mix of religions but was, for the most part, non-practicing. I was given my choice on whether or not to continue attending church (practicing an organized religion) when I was 10 and, well, the lake and my friends called every day....I used to have a complex about it until a very wise friend, whom I respect and admire very much, pointed out that she d
This is a good overview of Buddhism for the common man. Its interesting to read this and consider all of the teachings that I violate almost every day. I think everyone of all faiths should read this - much can be learned from the Dalai Llama, just reading the book itself seems to help put you on the right path - although being a true buddhist is near impossible in american and/or western society. Sometimes I look at the pictures of the beautiful Tibetan mountains and wonder if perhaps I lived i ...more
Jan 11, 2008 Cathy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a diferent view or ways of training the mind
This book along with many others touches base with the most common mental blocks we set ourselves up with. I find it very helpful in guiding the growth of a more healthy, possitive mind set. The ideas are pretty common sense but he has such a way with making it easier to associate with your daily life therfore making it easier to impliment.

now that i finished it there are points that i am very dissapointed with. still a great book and maybe it has to with who edited it but it was shocking to rea
Amanda N.
I only gave this book three out of five stars because the title doesn't really convey what the book is about. As the front page suggests, I wanted to learn about compassion and how to live a better life. What I took away after finishing this book was a beginner's course in Buddhism, which wasn't exactly what I was after. I did learn a little and found some helpful solutions to everyday situations in which compassion is greatly needed, as well as long-term solutions to help ourselves and everyone ...more
Tadeas Petak
Not being too familiar with the Buddhist teachings myself, I am not sure how qualified I am to comment on this but Open Heart seems like the perfect introduction to the Buddhist philosophy and way of life.

It clearly presents the underlying ideas of Buddhism and summarises a few meditation techniques and ways of dealing with afflictive emotions in our everyday lives. It also concisely explains why this approach is beneficial for everyone. I love the "hands-on" nature of the book - it is as practi
Andy Pugnetti
An Open Heart is a great read about two aspects of Buddhism. One of them being the Dali Lammas personal finds in his own quest( how he became who he is today). The other being the basics anyone can practice to help them with anything from controlling stress levels to fully practicing the ways of the buddha. The main message for this book is for the reader finish with a basic idea and understanding of Buddhism and also to learn about key methods to Buddhism. And after reading the book i can say I ...more
Apr 19, 2007 Justin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: perspective
This book is one of my favorite what I like to call "perspective" books; meaning it gives you another facet for viewing life through. This book honestly made an impact on the way that I interact with people and how I view the things that happen in my life. I would say that if you're another person like me who is curious about how other people see the world in their heads then give this book a read.
Bailey Duemmel
I enjoyed this book and it had a lot of really great things to think about. It seemed like more of a Buddhism 101 book that it did a guide to finding compassion. I realize they both go hand in hand, but I also believe that they can occur separately. I'm glad I read it because I learned a lot about Buddhism and It forced me to think about my actions, but I could have done without the last half.
I found a lot to agree with in this book early on. The bits on compassion and suffering, and the whole psychological aspect of it. But I lost interest about half way through as it got more mystical and I sensed more organization than I thought there would be in the religion.

None-the-less, the book was a quick read and seemed to be a good introduction to buddhism. Worth the read.
Not being Buddhist I enjoyed it most for his teachings consequences of anti-virtue (attachment, covetousness, malice) - not necessary in the karmic eternal sense, but even in the day-to-day affect on yourself, your interactions with others, and their reactions to you. It was a good reminder.
Mary Kay
While I do not think that I could embrace Buddhism, I learn from reading the Dalai Lama's writings, and know myself better after reading this particular selection. I have tamed anger, learned to know myself better and be more genuinely compassionate through several readings of this book.
Meghan Krogh


I'm definitely going to read this again in the future. In the meantime, the insight on meditation, compassion, and universality is really incalculably valuable. And the words are so kind, and so generous, and so accessible. I'm very grateful for this book.
Inspiring. I found myself going back through an highlighting full passages. What an incredible man! You can read this book repeatedly and get something new from it each time.
Dec 06, 2007 Cherie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Buddhists
Shelves: non-fiction
A/A+ This book explains a lot of the basics of compassion, and offers some wonderful wisdom--really great for those on my level of Buddhism
I love reading the writings of His Holiness. His voice comes through so clearly. This book is simple and straightforward, and worth a read.
Just a long boring version of The Golden Rule
Benjamin Barnes
Kind of alright little bit reviewish
Billy K
Blah blah blah, we get it...

Through this book, one is able to start a paradigm shift from the way he thinks to the way he interacts. It assists a person to open new pathways in seeing the world and all creation as something magnificent yet essentially the same. It allows one how to find strength in patience and tolerance, how to be compassionate, how to be guided by loving kindness and how to open one's heart. Perhaps through these lessons, we might be able to implement change, where war is obsolete and people cares for on ...more
Jul 03, 2011 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in learning about the Buddhist way of life.
Recommended to Ann by: Becky Rowley
I was fortunate enough to see the Dalai Lama speak in The Mall in DC during this same time period (1999). Thanks to Becky for turning me on to this book. I had no idea he did of book based on that talk.

I loved this book. Of all the books I have read by his holiness, this is by far my favorite. It could be because it was the easiest to comprehend? Could be because I have been studying/practicing Buddhism for years now and have matured? His earlier books were more easterly written. It's possible t
I would be a buddhist if learning buddhism wouldn't have been so boring. The Dalai Lama is not a gifted writer, though from what I understand he didn't even write this--he spoke it, and someone edited his words into a book. I like the philosophy, and what arises from it--compassion is important, positive thoughts enable positive life, etc. I don't like the whole idea of some people becoming buddhas while others are just normal people. If you have enough time to become a buddha, that probably mea ...more
An Open Heart is a guide to becoming more compassionate by one of the planet's greatest practitioners of compassion. The first 2/3 of the book is helpful to anyone of any philosophical/religious persuasion with an open mind and a desire to be more compassionate. The last 1/3 was a bit more technical and probably only helpful to people who are already Buddhists as it gets into more technical terms, mostly regarding meditation. No doubt that this book is worth reading, though, even if the end does ...more
Craig N.
The first couple of chapters were indeed helpful in adjusting your mind from competitiveness to compassion. However, the more you read, the more this book begins to sound like a manual for recent religious converts. So be warned: if you wish to attain compassion by way of secular methods, this book may not be for you. The contents of this book are more suited for those who wish to approach compassion from faith.
A book simply explaining Buddhist beliefs, concepts and methods to achieve understanding and practice in daily life. One does not need to be intent on converting to Buddhism to benefit from the book. The concepts alone are beneficial and prompt one to grow. Even considering the purpose of the exercises and practices is insightful into our own lives, such as the descriptions on mediation and realizing that we all engage in some form of mediation daily even if it is unstructured and seemingly with ...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 about Dalai Lama XIV...
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“Initially, the positive emotions derived from cultivating our higher natures may be weak, but we can enhance them through constant familiarity, making our experiences of happiness and inner contentment far more powerful than a life abandoned to purely impulsive emotions.” 4 likes
“If we analyze or dissect a flower, looking for the flower among its parts, we shall not find it ... And yet, we cannot deny the existence of flowers and of their sweet scent.” 4 likes
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