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Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion
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Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  879 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Two leading thinkers engage in a landmark conversation about human emotions and the pursuit of psychological fulfillment

At their first meeting, a remarkable bond was sparked between His Holiness the Dalai Lama, one of the world's most revered spiritual leaders, and the psychologist Paul Ekman, whose groundbreaking work helped to define the science of emotions. Now these two
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by Times Books (first published 2008)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  879 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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May 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Two of my heroes, the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman, hit it off and decide to have a conversation that they turn into a book. All respect to these two extraordinary gentleman, but the book is not a success. The problem lies in the gulf between Ekman the scientist concerned about observable phenomena, and the Dalai Lama, concerned about human suffering. They don't really talk the same language, so most of the book is spent with these two giants circling each other trying to figure out a way to connec ...more
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very good and down to earth conversation between a great spiritual teacher and a great scientist. The most memorable advise I got from reading this book is hate the evil act but have compassion against the person who carry out the act.
There is a lot of reasoning on how compassion is to be applied practically, and the intelligence behind application of compassion, this is a really good read, broadens the mind to different views of what kindness means.
Craig Bergland
This is one of the most important books I have read. All of the quibbling about the format by other reviewers is nothing more than snobbish drivel. The book features transcripts of the dialogue between Paul Ekman and His Holiness, and interwoven are also introductions, commentary and articles of interest. Anyone who works with the emotions of others or has at times struggled with their own emotions should read this book. My highest recommendation!
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
i had really high expectations but i found myself bored with really surface exchanges. i would have liked to hear more from the Dalai Lama but the other guy kept butting in and talked most of the book about defining terms. This book could have been a lot better.
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting dialogue between a psychologist and the Dalai Lama. Books like this have been profliferating, and the end of this book helped me understand why. The Dalai Lama is fascinated with and devoted to scientific inquiry. Tibetan monks are now studying science as part of their Buddhist studies. In this book, he even goes as far to call himself a heretic because he is more devoted to science than Buddhist scripture. I don't think it's heretical at all--the Buddha himself warned his followe ...more
Steve Greenleaf
Leading psychologist Paul Ekman received an invitation to a Mind and Life Conference with the Dalai Lama in 2000. He went because he knew it would it please his daughter, an admirer of the Dalai Lama. Ekman himself had no great knowledge of Buddhism and no religious beliefs or practices of his own. What happened as a result of this initial encounter changed Ekman's life, both personally and professionally. He hit it off with the Dalai Lama, experiencing a warmth and openness that affected him em ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ekman and the Dalai Lama are beautiful conversation partners. I am very impressed by the Dalai Lama's openness to science, and to Ekman's openness to Buddhism. Both remain true to their worldviews but also acknowledge the value of the other's perspective. Emotional awareness is a fascinating topic, and one that should be emphasized more in the West. Having practiced mindfulness meditation has helped me become aware of the sensations in my body that are signs of the onset of an emotion that somet ...more
Ralf Kruse
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s not to far ago that I avoided such books.
The background of Ekman supporting on Pixar’s movie inside out and his atlas of emotion plus the relationship to the perspective of the Dalai Lama made me curious.
It’s an inside full exchange on the perspective of science on emotion in relation to the Buddhist perspective.
Found it inspiring.
Magnus Lidbom
Hearing the discussions was interesting, but - for me - rarely enlightening. Keep in mind though that I have read quite a few books on the topics of emotional intelligence, mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion and buddhism lately. If you have not this could provide an excellent introduction. Though a bit disorganized.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Good content but not well constructed and not well read. Eckman’s story of transformation is worth the price of admission. Wow. Sign me up.
Meg Acevedo
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unique because it was read as a dialogue between the author and the Dalai lama. Such thought provoking ideas. Would love to listen to this one again
Tiffany Smith
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting but a little choppy.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary Overton
Ekman does most of the talking in this conversation between him and the Dalai Lama. Have some compassion & overlook Ekman's neediness, & many fascinating aspects of emotion/religion/meaning are explored.

"EKMAN: I want to raise the technical question of why it is that sitting every day and focusing your attention on your breath going in and out of your nose, why in the world should that help you with your emotions?
"I am accepting the idea that it does.... Each of these m
Michelle Bourke
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-development
I loved the concept of this book: science meets philosophy/religion, and a meeting of two intellectual minds. I sometimes found the Dalai Lama's line of thought difficult to follow but I also felt that - this is likely simply a result of the Dalai Lama talking about highly complex subject matter in a second language. I'd find it fascinating to perhaps see a fully translated version of the Dalai Lama debating with another monk where the conversation and thought processes were able to flow more ea ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best things I've read. It was interesting dialogue between two deeply curious people coming from two quite different directions. I had the sense that both wanted to understand the others viewpoint, and bring more richness to their own area of study. I appreciate the western skeptical approach along with His Holiness being willing to take on the traditional cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism. I feel moved and humbled. I think what touched me most was something that goes like, we are ...more
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful insight into human emotions from western psychology and Buddhist perspectives. Interesting format: a conversation transcript with interwoven short articles on pertinent issues discussed by the two gentlemen. Good stuff. It is so very obvious that these two guys like and respect each other very much. It was interesting to discover how much of an inquisitive scientist and scholar the Dalai Lama is; I don't necessarily think of religious figures in these categories. Best of all, it ...more
The premier researcher into the biology of emotions, Paul Ekman, meets with the Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama. They talk about the different views of human emotion.

After reading this book I have more optimism about where the human race is going. Science and religion CAN come together to help the human race mature and accept itself! I reccomend this book for those interested in philosophy, psychology, and serious reading. It isn't the easiest read ever, because there are so many det
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Didn't get through the whole book....I usually have a policy about reading through even if I dont like it, but I just couldn't connect with the conversations. Ekman is obviously a very logical thinker and speaks scientifically and the Dalai Lama is a spiritual being speaking from his heart. I may not have read far enough to a point where they meshed these two amazing philosophies because Im sure there's a beautiful way of doing it.....Maybe, I'll pick it up again some day, and then again maybe n ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I often struggled with the ratio of Paul Ekman's speech to the Dalai Lama's. I felt that Ekman had a bunch of ideas he wanted to promote, rather than have an actual evolving dialogue. I wish there had been more information from the other side about Buddhist psychology and how it could help people in conjunction with Western Science. This book wasn't nearly as moving or as helpful to me as Destructive Emotions, one of the earlier Mind & Life conferences.

The side notes by Buddhist scholars an
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A good resource to reflect on how one has or doesn't have control over their emotions and temper. Where there is fear, there is also frustration, guilt, shame, lack of self esteem, possibility of dysfunction. One of the results is projection, blame, criticism, contempt...fear to acknowledge one's responsibility. Once you hit the stonewall (silence) that's the end of the relationship...regardless of its nature.
Kami Bumgardner
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
such a great book! this book is overflowing with practical day to day information that is without doubt life-changing. whether you are quite aware of your emotional balance on a consistent basis, or want to explore new techniques for improving your response to your emotional changes you will enjoy this book and find it incredibly useful and enjoyable. I listened to the audiobook- and Richard Gere read as the Dalai Lama, which makes it even better in my opinion!
Robert Bogue
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I mentioned during my review of Emotional Intelligence that I had listened to an audio book version of Destructive Emotions – a conversation with the Dalai Lama and Daniel Goleman. Emotional Awareness is a similar book – in fact Paul Ekman, this book’s author, was introduced to the Dalai Lama by Daniel Goleman.

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Jeremy Adam
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
I am adapting part of this book for publication in Greater Good. I wouldn't read this on my own time, but I'm glad that work is making me do it. The Dalai Lama is a fascinating figure in his own right, Buddhism is intellectually interesting to non-Buddhists, and Paul Ekman (whom I had the pleasure of recently meeting) is simply a great talker and psychologist. This book is turning out to be a very good primer on emotion and spirituality.
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, it helped me to see how I deal with my own emotions and gives not only a scientific reason but a Buddhist perspective on emotions like anger, compassion, etc. I would recommend reading this if you want to get a better sense of your own emotions and how you handle them, and also if you'd like to learn about ways to handle your emotions better (i.e. with less destructive results, mostly with anger). Plus the Dalai Lama is fantastic.
Hrushikesh Wakadkar
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Hrushikesh by: Naynish Vaidya
This book lets you understand emotions, moods and various things around. It can provide a great self help tool to gain more freedom, deal better with people around you.

One also comes to know a great dialogue between Paul Ekdam and Dalai Lama. The story of Dalai Lama is quite inspiring and I feel he is a great person who does not speaks about his religion but focuses on humanity.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
I hoped to gain something from the conversation format, but the whole is less than the sum of its parts. The Dalai Lama and Ekman often talk past one another. The unfortunate result is less like a dialogue and more like two monologues on the same topic which have been clumsily spliced together. Ekman's lack of familiarity with Buddhism also slows things down considerably.
Will Jeffries
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed listening to this program. I discovered it by watching Paul Ekman's "Lie to Me" TV episodes - and did some research on him. I came across this recording and truly enjoyed soaking up the information. Richard Gere, the famous actor, is also on this recording. Lots of information to absorb - to must to list here for the viewers. Please listen and enjoy.
Cecy Covarrubias
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and very inspiring conversation, took me to tears in one chapter. One step done to get science and spiritual knowledge closer. Thanks to Paul to pursue this, to the Dalai Lama for the infinite loving kindness and open mind - long life to you and please remain close to us for as long as the samsara remains- and to everyone involved.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: improvement
While an intriguing conversation, I felt like Paul Ekman might be trying to promote his own research.

Dr. Ekman admits to being trained in Behaviorism (B.F. Skinner). Even though he later rejected it, this may explain why he doesn't have the common sense understanding that emotions communicate information about one's surroundings.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: # 91 - Emotional Awareness 1 2 Dec 23, 2014 11:52AM  

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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 pr
“[T]he conflict that triggered the anger should not be dealt with until the anger subsides. Anger is a message that there is a problem to be dealt with . . . later.” 0 likes
“One of the key inspirational prayers that Buddhists make on a daily basis is: 'May anyone who comes into contact with me, whether they hear about me or they see me or they think about me, experience a benefit and happiness.” 0 likes
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