Scott Dinsmore's Reviews > Ethics for the New Millennium

Ethics for the New Millennium by Dalai Lama XIV
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Jul 09, 09

Read in January, 2002

Why I Read this Book: Who could pass up the opportunity to learn about ethics from the Dali Lama himself.

Review:

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 a firm understanding of their own ethics with regard to themselves and the people with which they come in contact. We see it every day in the malicious acts that go on throughout the world. Without a foundation from which to build, many people find themselves lost and insecure when it comes to ethics.

I had the pleasure of reading this book for the first time while traveling through Europe with my immediate family a few years back. I cannot encourage a better setting for new thinking and understanding than a foreign place out of your comfort zone. My mother had recently given me this book as a gift. The ironic thing for me was that ethics had been a top priority since day one growing up in my family, and my mother was the primary teacher (with my father of course). I was lucky enough to have had a solid foundation before picking this book so I can only imagine the impact it would have on someone who was a bit more misdirected in their younger days.

So much of success is about how one treats others and themselves in their journey through life. Terms such as core values, ethics and principles should be commonplace in anyone’s day to day quest for success. Look at the words of Stephen Covey, Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie and Richard Bolles in their books reviewed on this site. The very foundation of their teachings grows from the above terms just as the Dali Lama’s do here. The road to success and fulfillment becomes long and dark without a firm understanding of ethics and values to lead the way.

It is interesting to read a book by the Dali Lama. He is one of the most religious figures in the new world with his strict Buddhist faith and he is trying to write a book for the general public. You can see some potential biases here. This was what impressed me most. The Dali Lama has lived his life according toreligion every step of the way, yet in this book he puts no huge focus on any one faith or religion at all. By no means does he force his religious ideas or those of others. I believe his main point here is that ethics transcend religion. In fact ethics transcend every other school of thought. This was quite refreshing to me as I read through his words and tried to think of them with regards to my own life.

He starts out by spending a few chapters on general ethics to get the reader comfortable with the topic. Here he includes thoughts on globally universal topics such as material wealth and its effect on society, what’s morally good and bad, and happiness. He then moves on to discuss personal ethics. The heart of which is having compassion as the heart of all of one’s actions. This concept was especially powerful for me. If each person only did things for which they had true compassion, I think we would all be off to an ethically great start.

Something else that struck me as particularly powerful was the Dali Lamas description of the gap between perception and reality in our lives. This concept is not new to Reading For Your Success and for that reason it deserves some attention. So much of life comes down to perception. Whether good or bad, our life, our emotions, our feelings come down to our perception of reality. The root of unhappiness and unfulfilled goals and dreams is often due to an incorrect perception in one’s life. This is true even for our most cherished and fundamental goal. I say “our” because I can comfortably speak for everyone when I say that we all have one goal in common. That goal is to be happy.

It sounds so simple but take a minute right now to think of your goals. If you haven’t developed your goals yet (I encourage you to do so as soon as you can), try to think back on dreams or fantasies of your own. What is really driving your dream or goal to be thin, have your own business, help others or be financially wealthy? What is the real reason for striving for success as hard as so many of us do? It all comes back to happiness. It was not until getting through a number of the books on this site that I realized the true value of this. We all have one fundamental goal in common. In fact at the end of the day happiness is the only goal. That is why ethics can transcend through cultures, religions and generations and still be the root of all motivations in life. I encourage you to take some time to think about your understanding and view on ethics and develop your own set of values based on those ethics. They will be invaluable and fundamental in your quest for success.

-Reading for Your Success
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