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The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus
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The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  544 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In this landmark book of interfaith dialogue, the Dalai Lama provides an extraordinary Buddhist perspective on the teachings of Jesus, commenting on well-known passages from the four Christian Gospels including the Sermon on the Mount, the parable of the mustard seed, the Resurrection, and others. Drawing parallels between Jesus and the Buddha--and the rich traditions from ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 15th 1998 by Wisdom Publications (first published 1996)
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May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book provides an insight into the thinking of the Dalai Lama when he spoke at the 1994 John Main Seminar where he read and reflected upon selections from the Gospels. The major point that stays with me is that every individual seeks some spiritual guidance and that while there may be some similarities in religions, the differences are important to maintain so people have choices. A few of my favorite quotes are as follows:
p. 80 "It is also crucial to recognize that both spiritual traditions
Bryce Wilson
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
An intelligent and spirited debate, that respects both Buddhism and Christianity while being steadfast and honest about their differences.

A perfect model of interfaith communication, something that is desperately needed.
Ed Smiley
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The fascinating thing about this book is that it touches on one of the aspects of wisdom, empathetic understanding of another engendering multiple simultaneous perspectives and respect.

The story is a simple one. A group of Christian meditators with contacts with Tibetan Buddhists invites the Dali Lama to discuss the Christian gospels.

This is an unusual request, as the Dali Lama has not been exposed to them very much. So a group of passages such as the sermon on the mount are chosen, translated
Constantino Casasbuenas
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Chía, 27 May 2015
The Good Heart
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Wisdom Publications 1996

I liked a lot the text because it shows how an inter-religious dialogue happens. The experience happens because of several reasons. First of all there is mutual trust and even some degree of admiration among the participants, most of them Christians and Buddhists. All of them meditating, reflecting and praying. They had different traditions and beliefs and there was mutual respect. Coming from different origins, th
Lee Harmon
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The premise for this book is fantastic! Talk His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, into speaking before a Christian audience in Middlesex University, London. Call it The Good Heart, emphasizing the humanitarian aspects of both Christianity and Buddhism. Give him eight passages of Gospel scripture to read in preparation for the seminar, and hear what he has to say.

The eight chosen passages are:

Matthew 5:38-48, Love Your Enemy
Matthew 5:1-10, The Beatitudes
Mark 3:31-35, Equanimity
Mark 4:36-24, The Kingdom
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Dalai Lama was asked to be the main speaker at a conference of The World Community for Christian Meditation and to comment on eight passages from the Gospels. They meditated together each day before looking at the scriptures. I learned a lot about Buddhism, and saw what the 2 traditions have in common and where they differ. The Dalai Lama was willing to engage in some conversations and not others -- where he knew the disagreement was too great to make dialog profitable. Yet his attitude towa ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I felt that I gained some understanding of Buddhism seeing 5 readings from the Gospels being experienced by the Dalai Lama. Much of the book was basically a transcript of a seminar. I believe that actually being present at the seminar would have been much more enlightening. I think it is impossible to get the dynamic of spiritual connection that would have happened with these diverse people meditating together in silence and then listening deeply. Reading what was said was pretty much a let down ...more
Mattheus Guttenberg
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting and informative book. This is a transcript of the Dalai Lama giving commentary on excerpts of key Gospel passages from the New Testament (Sermon on the Mount, the Transfiguration, the Resurrection, etc.) from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective to a group of contemplative Christians. The event also included silent meditation, chanting, and Q&A. I learned a lot about both traditions and came away with a better appreciation for the value of sincere religious dialogue. ...more
Amy Terhorst
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is a discussion with the Dalai Lama and Christian/Catholic priests and teachers. I loved the comparisons between Buddhism and Christianity and the commonality found in the teachings. Truth is truth, no matter where it is found.
Juan Alberto Yoga
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What similarities between Jesus and Buddha...
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Important reading for Christians and Buddhists. His Holiness captures the essence of Christian faith and reflects it back to Christians in a compassionate, intelligent, and mature way. In some ways, he makes the Christian take responsibility for his religion, to inquire into it, to explore nature of Christian teachings and to commit more fully to it. He clarifies the Buddhist perspective on spiritual matters, making the book a useful reference guide for students of Buddhism.

I have some concerns
Bob Buice
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
History did not permit the early followers of Jesus (1st century CE) to mingle with the early followers of the Buddha (5th century BCE), but the Dalai Lama XIV of Tibet sees as similarities in the teachings of the two. The Kingdom of God (Mark 4:26-34), a refuge for believers, may be related to Buddhists’ refuge in the Three Jewels — the Buddha, Dharma (teachings), and Sangha (community), although Buddhists, emphasize a sense of personal responsibility rather than a dependence on a transcendent ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heresy

In Christ the Eternal Tao, Damascene Christensen writes, “Religious fundamentalism (believing that traditions outside one's own are all wrong) is intellectually satisfying to narrow minds, while religious syncretism (believing that all traditions are equal) is satisfying to broad minds.” In this seminar, both the Dalia Lama and Father Laurence Freeman and company avoid these approaches to religious dialogue. They find a middle way where they can compare and contrast genuine similarities and diff
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Not only did I get to see the Bible from a Buddhist perspective, I also got to see that even devoted Christians are beginning to be more open-minded in interpretation. In reading this book, I began to realize just how much the individual churches have influenced my opinion of Christianity in general. I realize I have been a bit closed off to the idea of embracing Christianity in any form. I found it interesting that the Dalai Lama kept emphasizing that he didn't think ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I would not know where to start from. It has so many aspects and it made me think about so many things. If you ever feel good about yourself, just read this book and you will understand how far along are you on the way to being "good". And yet, despite this, I was happy to read it, to get a chance of questioning myself and my actions and my attitudes from a "religious" point of view.
I have the deepest consideration for Dalai Lama with respect to everything: his peaceful combat, his compassion an
Apr 29, 2014 marked it as wish-list
I need to read because of this:

Norway said on Friday (25.04.2014) that its government would not meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Oslo in May, in a controversial decision aimed at warming up icy relations with China.

(28.04.2014) Oslo lawyer has slammed Norway's government for its 'capitulation' to China over the Dalai Lama. "My attitude is that it is a capitulation to China not to meet a human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner when he comes to Norway."

The Dalai Lama, the exile
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a comfortable read, and really just made me realize how much I enjoy reading about religion. Not because I am religious myself, but because there is something comforting reading about individuals at such peace in their beliefs.

This book made me wish for more tolerance between religions, and even hopeful that this could be possible, based on this inclusive and open-minded gathering of buddhists and Christians.

This book is essentially a documentation of a seminar featuring the Dalai Lam
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book, like any book read, but especially those of a spiritual nature, will carry different meanings for the reader.

I can share similar thoughts to others who mention that this book provides an excellent model for interfaith communication as the Dalai Lama reads 8 different passages from the gospels, shares his perspective on these passages, and enters discussion with the other Christians who are present.

As for my key personal takeaways from this book: I'm not sure if it was explicitly menti
Oct 31, 2011 rated it liked it
In 1994 the John Main Seminar (The World Community for Christian Meditation) invited The Dalai Lama to join with them, to read and teach selected passages from the four Gospels. I enjoyed studying these passages from a slightly different perspective. The Dalai Lama was very gracious and careful to explain the parallel he saw between Buddhism and Christianity. He was equally careful to explain the differences and why those difference can be good. I'm finding that I'm comfortable with most Buddhis ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enlightening read. The Dalai Lama has a pretty good grasp of the spiritual lessons to be had from the Gospels, even though he is not a Christian and does not know a lot about Christianity. In spite of the large differences in theology between Buddhism and Christianity, some of the spiritual principles are extremely similar. In fact, certain spiritual principals dealing with things like compassion and love are universal, to some extent, and are prominent in the teachings of all the major relig ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I gave this book 2 stars because I wanted more from it. This book is basically the transcript of the John Main Seminar in 1994 when the Dalai Lama attended and commented on select Gospel passages in conversation with other seminar participants. The book also includes an extensive a introduction, glossary, and two sections giving background on Buddhism and Christianity. Because this book is based on an event where meditation was a key part I think the book can only communicate so much. It intrigu ...more
May 06, 2010 rated it liked it
This book had very interesting points to ponder, but it wasn't the catalyst for any revelations, at least for me. I always enjoy hearing (or reading, in this case) what the Dalai Lama has to offer, so I was particularly interested in reading this book to learn his interpretations of the Bible readings. His insightful interpretations didn't disappoint, however it wasn't a quick read as there were many points to digest. I wouldn't call this light reading.
Emily O.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My friend gave this to me for Christmas. She knows my love for Christianity and Buddhism too well. The Dalai Lama is one of my heroes, and reading his take on Christian principles was incredible. My favorite parts were the discussion of the "seed of perfection," which I likened to the light of Christ, and the very last line of the book, which alluded to my favorite quote in the world, which is also by the Dalai Lama.
May 30, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was interesting, but not really what I expected.
The Good Heart was a conference for Christians, and they invited the Dalai Lhama to come speak on certain passages from the Bible.

I'm not sure what I was looking for...
it was kinda like they were trying to print the feeling they had at this conference, and it just didn't work.
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
An interesting premise. The Dalai Lama was invited to comment on passages from the Gospels, with a group of Christian meditators. While interesting, I found the format of the book to be repetitive, with a lot of extraneous commentary.

I did find the small portion of the book which actually contained the Dalai Lama's comments very interesting.
Keith Bell
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to a great friend that re-discovered this book for me. (Go Abigail!)I lent this out 12yrs ago and it never came back. Amazing insight. The dignity and respective that the Dalai Lama gives the text is evidence of his great openness and compassion. I hope Christians can read this with the same openness he demonstrates.
Matt Root
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed with this book. I was hoping for some creative readings of the Gospel texts in question, but all too often (and understandably so) the reflections were simply pointing out similar ideas in Buddhist writings. The most helpful take always for me were the discussions on the possibilities and limitations of interfaith dialogue.
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a difficult book to read and that's why I initially gave it four stars. But in retrospect, it is so worth the effort. There is so much food for the mind, soul and spirit here. It's definitely a five star. Just stay with can get a little like work at times.
Jon Tupper
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although the bridge work of two different traditions was for me, a bit daunting at times, the love and compassion herein at the conference with Christian mystics and the Dalai Lama is wonderful. The in depth perspectives on scripture, culture, and spiritual practice is enlightening.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I gained new understanding from reading the Dalai Lama's perspective on these scriptures, and I also found much truth and beauty in the introduction and other commentary in the book.
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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

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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ...
20 likes · 10 comments
“I believe the purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.” 0 likes
“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience, and understanding. By developing greater tolerance and patience, it will be easier for you to develop your capacity for compassion and, through that, altruism. So even for the practice of your own spiritual path, the presence of an enemy is crucial. The analogy drawn in the Gospel as to how “the sun makes no discrimination where it shines” is very significant. The sun shines for all and makes no discrimination. This is a wonderful metaphor for compassion. It gives you the sense of its impartiality and all-embracing nature.” 0 likes
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