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How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  7,247 ratings  ·  301 reviews
As human beings, we all share the desire for happiness and meaning in our lives. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the ability to find true fulfillment lies within each of us. In this very special book, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, Nobel Prize winner, and bestselling author helps readers embark upon the path to enlightenment with a stunning illuminat ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 19th 2003 by Atria Books (first published 2002)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,247 ratings  ·  301 reviews

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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
“I accept everyone as a friend. In truth, we already know one another, profoundly, as human beings who share the same basic goals: We all seek happiness and do not want suffering.”

The Dalai Lama is incredibly quotable and there are so many fantastic examples of his simple wisdom in here. Well, I say simple but it can’t be that simple if people still fail to follow it after all these years. Despite living in an age of globalisation, we are still tragically divided. Senseless wars plague our his
I really needed this read right now. School has been very stressful this trimester and I feel constantly behind. Still, I did pass my comprehensive exam to graduate from the program once Clinic and classes are done. I still have the herbal program and doctoral work left to do. Then, all the hate pouring out of DC right now and just how ugly politics has become has taken a spiritual toll on me. It has really worn me down and I have had to disengage from news and stop watching and reading.

This bo
Jan 01, 2011 rated it liked it
This is an odd book that seems to span the entirety of Buddhist practice from beginning to end.

The first third of the book was easy to connect with. It talks about things in our daily lives, what the tenets or Buddhist practice are, how these two relate, and basically what Buddhism encourages people to do and why. Having studied Buddhism a little before, there were few surprises there for me but it was yet a welcome reminder and well structured.

The middle part of the book tackles subjects that
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I find this man really fascinating, but this book didn't quite get there for me. I wonder if what he preaches is too simple to be interesting in a literary format. I would be interested in reading his auto-biography. His English isn't all that hot, but his occasional anecdotal digressions are very interesting.

I can't believe I'm giving the Dalai Lama TWO stars!? The good news is, I'm not going to Hell, but rather, I may be reborn as a desert rodent.
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I still read this book. Recently, I needed something to bring me peace during a small conflict. I opened the book arbitrarily and found just what I needed. I love this little book. It can be a wonderful guide to living peacefully and spreading peace among others.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
Although I have immense respect for the Dalai Lama's teachings and for traditional Buddhist doctrine, I would not recommend this book as a primer for someone who wants to learn more about Buddhism and/or meditation. The first half of the book is very general, very lightly describing basic Buddhist tenets and advising on concentrated meditation. The second half focuses on the concepts of 'emptiness,' 'inherent existence' and 'dependent-arisings' - and I came away feeling like none of these were r ...more
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
The Dalai Lama is such a witty character. He cracks me up and surprises me with every page of this book! It's so refreshing to read the words and advice of a religious leader that isn't stuffy and in your face about beliefs and religion.

He offers great wisdom and tips on living more peacefully and happily with an open heart and mind. I came away from this feeling lighthearted and motivated to be a better person, live more fully, and experience one day at a time, with grace. I respect him so much
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May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
A bunch of quotes from this book I need to get down, because they are valuable.

"By greeting trouble with optimism and hope , you are undermining worse troubles down the line."


SHELTER "Lay people can reduce the neverending quest for a better home and for the funiture and decorations in it." Imagine! This is an outright unequivocal, unapologetic suggestion that we just stop acquiring things and be happy with what we have.

"Examine your attitudes
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual-self
I Love this book from H.H. The Dalai Lama and use it as a reference guide. If you're ever feeling "out of sorts," then this is a great book to help you find your center/balance. :-)
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is a good introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. It is generally set up to provide specific daily practices (visualizations, thoughts and meditations). I enjoyed the chapters on the basics and practicing morality, but after that, I found that the descriptions became less coherent. That could either be a translation issue or perhaps I'm not at the understanding level yet. Either way, the most meaningful parts of the book were nearer the beginning. Portions of the book are redundant in that a ...more
Mar 13, 2009 rated it liked it
This was my first real introduction to Buddhism.

Since the purpose of this book is teaching how to achieve enlightenment, it doesn't cover things like Buddhist history or explanations of the basic concepts and so I realize I have a lot to learn to understand this religion.

There are essentially 3 steps to enlightenment: Practicing Morality, Concentrated Meditation and Practicing Wisdom. These are the steps to totally enlightenment and becoming a Buddha, as such they go beyond the layperson. My goa
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This book emphasizes the value of meditation and also addresses techniques to help the beginner progress in the art of meditation. The fundamental tenet
is the need to constantly practice and lower expectations of immediate rewards.

"To develop the practice of compassion to its fullest extent, one must practice patience."

The book is an interesting read to reemphasize simple and common aspects of life we seek to inculcate yet are so hard to practice everyday.

Towards the end, the book does have som
Clark Hallman
Oct 15, 2014 rated it liked it
How To Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama - His Holiness gives advice and explanations about how to develop a more meaningful life and move toward enlightenment in this informative but complex book. Of course he covers compassion and holding the happiness and welfare others before oneself. He also presents some meditation advice and complicated explanations of emptiness. It’s a worthwhile read that provides some useful information about Buddhism to any interest ...more
Dan Bartholomew
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
The first half of the book was illuminating and offered some practical application that Is valuable regardless of religious background. The second half was a tougher read, and honestly lost me at certain points. Some of the deeper theory of the practice uses language in ways that is not always consistent with definitions I am used to (such as "emptiness"), and also digs into deeper Buddhist theory about the nature of existence...ideas that aren't consistent with my beliefs. All in all, a helpful ...more
John Stepper
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Less of a handbook than I imagined from the title, and yet I was inspired by the breadth and depth of his own practice. The commentary on wisdom and reality are the clearest I’ve ever come across, making impenetrable paradoxes - “form is emptiness; emptiness is form” - understandable to me for the first time in any meaningful way.
Lisa LaMendola
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
For anyone looking to find a simple book on the "how to's" of every day life as a Buddhist this is the book! I wish I had found this long before I read all the other books I've been through in my search for enlightenment....
Sep 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
It expanded my view of nothingness; I can now understand emptiness as inherent without indulging in nihilism. I've also come to believe that the Dalai Lama has infinitely pinchable cheeks.
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Some very solid ideas on how to put things in perspective. Loved the part about the role of enemies in your life.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the first part of it, which focused on benevolent intent. The later part with "inherent nothings", "spontaneous arisings", etc - I just did't get.
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is only for people who are interested in learning actual practices for meditation
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Works of Buddhist Psychology & of the Dalai Lama's probably helped me get through 2016. Let's hope it help me get through 2017.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational
One of my favorite books, very inspiring and makes me strive to live a more compassionate life. I have read many books by His Holiness The Dalai Lama and I love them all.
Michael de Percy
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

It was with some trepidation that I thought I might adapt some of the Dalai Lama's ideas about "practice" to my own daily routine. I find the Dalai Lama to be more than charismatic; there is something about him that permeates the television. I was rather pleased when I read (p. 223):

Though my own knowledge is limited and my experience is also very poor, I have tried my best to help you understand the full breadth of the Buddha's teaching. Please implement whatever in these pages appears to be he
Maritza Buendía
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read. The book contains good advice to have a meaningful life and it is also a guide for those searching for purpose or are intrigued about Buddhism. The Dalai Lama, the well-known, beloved and respected spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, tries to explain with simplicity the concepts and practices of a doctrine that has inspired many. However, I didn’t find it particularly easy to follow.

It mostly defines the three main aspects to practice Buddhism: Morality, Concen
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have always been fascinated with Buddhism ever since I took a course in college on different types of religions and what is their belief on animals' wellbeing. I instantly connected with the Buddhist view on animals and one of my favorite quotes is said by Buddha: "Be kind to all creatures. This is the true religion."

This is where most of my low review lies. In the book, Dalai Lama says that we should not request special foods because this leads to discontent. We must take what is given to us
Alexis Bauer Kolak
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It has been a long conference season this year, and I was much in need of something to help me refocus and find some tranquility, so the writings of His Holiness seemed like a logical choice. While I haven't started practicing any of the teachings from this book (yet), it did help me stay focused and relatively calm through some stressful situations, primarily because I had to concentrate on what I was reading. I found that, as with a lot of religious and philosophical writing, what seems at fir ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I really wanted to like this book, the concept was really sturdy and seemed very practical.

However when I started to read, I found that a lot of concepts were not explained thoroughly and that some concepts seemed to run in circles, with no clear definition or direction. Maybe if somebody knows a lot about Buddhism then they would find this easier to read but I feel as if the first half was decent, though not overly detailed and later on in the book we were given a lot of little pieces but not
Audrey Greathouse
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a decent read, but I think it went too deep into the faith, beliefs, and miraculous elements of Buddhism for the average westerner, while still offering little practical insight I had not already gleaned from other Buddhists and their texts. On the whole, this book only reaffirmed that I am interested more in Zen Buddhism than Vajrayana or general Mahayana Buddhism. However, insight into the Dalai Lama's mind is a wonderful gift, and I enjoyed seeing first-hand through his words the fan ...more
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, interesting, fascinating look at meditation through the Dalai Lama's mindview. This isn't so much a guide to a "meaningful life" as it is a guide to "meditation to try and create a meaningful life". (A bit of a subtle difference there.) Its obviously through the views of the Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, and reincarnation is the prime principle behind the entirety of this work. Everything is leading up to working on bettering yourself for the cyclic nature and trying to forego all of that ...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
“True change is within; leave the outside as it is.” 174 likes
“My earnest request is that you practice love and kindness whether you believe in a religion or not.” 8 likes
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