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A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives
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A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The Buddhist practice of mindfulness caught on in the west when we began to understand the everyday, personal benefits it brought us. Now, in this extraordinary book, the highly acclaimed thought leader and longtime English translator of His Holiness the Dalai Lama shows us that compassion can bring us even more.
  Based on the landmark course in compassion training Jinpa
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Avery (first published March 1st 2015)
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Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The content of this book was exactly what I needed at this time. I work in a profession that serves the public, where there are great challenges on a daily basis as well as a constant negative mindset of those we are serving. This can cause it's own negative cycle of thinking and stress in those of us working with those individuals. The meditations in this book, and how to slowly grow your circle of compassion outward is a necessary and vital nutrient for the future positive growth and evolution ...more
John Stepper
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I first learned of the author by reading his translations of works by the Dalai Lama. His writing is so clear that when I heard he had written his own book, I wanted to read it right away.

The key insight in this book is that compassion is a practice that can be taught, and taught to almost anyone. Just as Jon Kabat-Zinn packaged mindfulness into the MBSR program that's taught in hospitals, Thupten Jinpa created a program at Stanford that helps people put ancient wisdom into everyday practice, an
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, buddhism
This book offers an accessible introduction to compassion as an important value and practice. The value of compassion is convincingly shown by the backing that is provided from Buddhist and Western philosophy, as due to the evidence that is provided from the modern life and social sciences. It is nice to read that the best of two worlds are being brought together with the purpose to improve people's wellbeing.

The exercises in the book are as accessible as the book itself and challenges the reade
Pam Mooney
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A book worth reading. While backed up by solid research the book is very readable regardless of experience level. The exercises are clear and easy to do. I loved the sections on self compassion which is a concept most people are not aware of let alone practice. This is a good read!
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: act, for-clients, work

Big Ideas:

+ Definition of compassion
- “A sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved” (xx)
- This makes me think of Bishop Barron’s definition of love as “willing the good of the other”
- Notice this definition does not specify what you must do in response to this sense of concern, allowing for many paths for expressing and acting on compassion, using wisdom in context to determine the best course

+ Compassion Cultiv
Liane Buck
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A absolutely must read if you are interested in understanding and living a more compassionate existence. Thupten, a former monk holds a Ph.D. From Cambridge and has been the translator to the Dalai Lama for almost 30 years. He skillfully walks us through his personal stories and learning experiences as a novice in a small monastery in Asia. Between science facts, and contemplative knowledge, Thupten Jinpa brings a unique perspective on the revolutionary power of a Compassionate and Fearless hear ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this as part of the Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training. I found it reinforced the lessons gleaned from the course and the course meditations.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a class, but I'm so glad I got the chance to read it! It's all about compassion and how we can develop it better. It was very interesting because it talked a lot about the science behind compassion and compassionate acts (it's getting a lot more attention in the scientific world lately). It also discussed why we may be hesitant or not feel compassion and suggested ways to help overcome that. The author was a Buddhist monk, and because of his background, there are many mindfu ...more
Tyler Disney
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was one of the most helpful books that I have read in a very long time. If any of you are as hard on yourself as I am, you should read this book! We often overlook how important we are, as we try to help people or make others happy. Forgetting that our well being enables us to be there for others. We excuse the mistakes of others far quicker than we often excuse ourselves. Within one of the chapters, I was presented with several reasons for why I may be feeling a certain way and it was like ...more
Thor Olafsson
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Hands down the best book I have read so far on compassion. The author manages to write the entire book in an honest, humble, and light-hearted style....while coming across as an authority on the matter.

What I find especially interesting is the mix of learning from contemplative practice and psychology. It is fascinating to see modern scientific methods confirm what the buddhist monks have known for centuries.

May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Thupten Jinpa is a gental man with a drive to make compassion the standard for seeing, understanding and living in the world. Each one of us is born with the spark of compassion but we do not typically grow it or use it in expanded ways. Why not? This book explores that question but also gives us practical ways of growing compassion starting with self compassion and compassion for the other and community.
Craig Bergland
A fascinating look at compassion and compassion training, the impact it has on individuals, and the impact it could have on every corner of our lives and our society. Profound insights from an author I deeply respect.
Ashley Peterson
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, Dr. Thupten Jinpa offers a practical guide to creating change through Buddhist-inspired compassion practices. Dr. Jinpa is a former Buddhist monk, who left the monastic life to pursue higher education, completing a Ph.D. in religious studies at Cambridge University. He has been the principal English language translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a many years. While he weaves in his own experiences to reinf ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help, net-galley
In my job as a nurse, compassion is a very important trait to be able to exhibit, therefore I was interested to read what other people have to say on the matter in the form of this book. Not only that, but compassion is at the heart of us as human beings. The aim of this book is to 'redefine compassion as something we can all grasp'; a great concept, however it troubles me to think that there are people out there with the inability to be compassionate. And of course there are those who are not c ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual
I recently heard this book referenced by Jack Kornfield in an interview/training done by Psychotherapy Networker. Jack Kornfield was talking about how the main ingredient in psychotherapy is love/compassion. I got to pondering and reflecting on this more, thus I decided to read this book as well. Most of the things mentioned in the book I already knew due to my lifelong curiosity and love for the tenets of Buddhism as well as my interest in the increasingly popular theory on how self-compassion ...more
Surabhi Yadav
How to keep compassion intact and not let the coldness and cynicism triumph over it? - I picked up this book to cultivate my curiosity to answer this question. It is both a requirement in the personal and the professional life. The book didn't get me close to the depth of the question but did offer a few simple ways of becoming better at the practice of compassion. A light and a good start towards understanding mindfulness and compassion.

The book might be a great start for anyone interested in
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books that were written without any specific audience in mind, I get the impression. It doesn't provide details on Buddhist views of compassion (Sharon Salzberg does a better job at this in her books on kindness and lovingkindness). It talks about Buddhism in rather broad strokes, but then again does the same with Western psychological definitions of compassion. Jinpa's own autobiographical account comes across as impersonal and I have to wonder if that's perhaps because Eng ...more
Gabrielle Jarrett
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The sub-title sums up the message: How the courage to be compassionate can transform our lives. It does take courage to be open to our own and especially another's pain and suffering; to extend loving kindness; and not to be exhausted by it. Clearly, the current times give us ample areas to practice. Jinpa started the Compassion Cultivation Training program in 2007 at Stanford. The high success and research within the program form the core of the book. Do not be put off. The flesh of his teachin ...more
Dominic Ng
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A great primer on compassion and loving-kindness meditation. Jinpa interweaves anecdotes from throughout his life as well as those who have participated in his compassion-based program, which includes experiences as the translator for the Dalai Lama. Those familiar with metta practice might not gain much from reading this, as the book is geared towards the reader with little to no experience with meditation, but Jinpa does a fine job articulating psychological and intimacy issues that plague the ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very important book, both for myself as well as for the world. Thupten talks at length about viewing the world through the lens of compassion, both for oneself as well as others. This is something that's been on my mind recently. One thing I didn't like was that I felt like the meditations he inserted into the chapters were not really organized well. I would have appreciated a section at the end with all the meditations collected together and more instructions on how to do t ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Filled with ways in which compassion has been proven to help us live life fully and helpfully. I found it very uplifting. I'm so glad that there are actually people teaching things like how to develop more compassion and empathy. We have the innate ability, but it gets deeply buried in an individualistic society. A book I will read again and again and try to absorb its practices so they become habit.
Francois Lion-Cachet
I became aware of this book through the Dalai Lama’s and Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Joy written by Douglas Abrams. It is a fairly lengthy read for a simple message, being that of the value of practicing and cultivating compassion in our lives. The book provides some practical meditations for doing so. I am interested to learn more about Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT), that partly inspired the writing of this book.
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, self-help
Interesting read, although not always easy to read. I enjoyed learning about the author's life, as well as the Dalai Lama. I think this could be a really effective way to alleviate stress, to learn more patience, and to understand others better. I want to try the meditations it suggests to see if I can become more compassionate to myself and others.
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant insights to a kind and compassionate life.

This books is about cultivating compassion as a habit. It’s easy to be kind to those we love but to learn to be compassionate to all events, lives and day to day living is no easy task. This book offers some strategies to continuously amplify compassion.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book full of examples, life stories, words of wisdom, and exercises that were easy to do. It felt like the author was talking to me as I read this book and guided me through his words. I re-read this a few times just to absorb all the information; of course it's not possible to absorb and remember everything. It has been a good read every time.
Samantha Van Blerkom
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Developing compassion can truly be life changing. I feel like this book would be a good companion alongside "The Anatomy of Peace". It's filled with practical meditations and helpful applications to foster compassion and charity. Books like this give me hope for the future and the potential of humankind.
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very practical introduction to meditation that sits squarely in the Venn intersection of how-to manual, Buddhist philosophy, and popular neuroscience. As a plus, it happens to blow away all competitors in that latter category, mostly by virtue of being tightly and skillfully edited.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this in 2016 so this review is two years late. However, it was a fantastic book about the research and techniques of compassion and the benefits of compassion on the body and mind. The author is a personal hero of mine for pursuing this.
Karen B
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good read in this time of divisiveness and fear. Balm to the soul for people whose work entails addressing pain, discomfort, & uncertainty on a day-to-day basis. Empathy is not enough. #courageandcompassion ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Life changing book. I tried the meditations described in the book (I borrowed the tapes) and they were transformative.
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Geshe Thupten Jinpa Langri, Ph.D., is the senior translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Pesident of the Institute of Tibetan Classics. His works include the translation of twelve books by the Dalai Lama. ...more

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