Suggested titles for book clubs and interested readers


"The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living"

by Bstan-Dzin-Rgya and Howard Cutler, 1998

Through conversations, stories and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life's obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.

"The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living"

by Bstan-Dzin-Rgya, 2009

An updated edition of a beloved classic, with new material from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. If you ask him if he is happy, even though he has suffered the loss of his country, the Dalai Lama will give you an unconditional yes. He will tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that the very motion of our life is toward happiness. How to get there has always been the question. He has tried to answer it before, but he has never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand.

"The Art of Happiness at Work"

by Howard Cutler, 2004

"The Art of Happiness at Work" is a modern-day Socratic dialogue in which Howard Cutler asks the Dalai Lama about the difficulties and rewards we might encounter in the workplace. The authors explore issues such as work and identity, making money, the Buddhist concept of "right livelihood," and transforming dissatisfaction at work. The discussion appears simple, if not obvious, at first, but upon closer scrutiny, the Dalai Lama's profound wisdom and sensitivity emerges. For the Dalai Lama, basic human values such as kindness, tolerance, compassion, honesty, and forgiveness are the source of human happiness. Throughout the book, he illustrates with clear examples how bringing those qualities to bear on work-related challenges can help us tolerate or overcome the most thorny situations. Recognizing that not all problems can be solved, the Dalai Lama provides very sound advice. The authors urge balance and self-awareness and wisely state, "No matter how satisfying our work is, it is a mistake to rely on work as our only source of satisfaction."

"The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World"

by Howard Cutler, 2009

Attitude and a sense of meaning are the keys to happiness at work, the exiled Tibetan leader tells psychiatrist Howard Cutler in the course of conversations that took place over several years. What will surprise many is the prime importance the Dalai Lama places on reason and analysis, and on the need to acquire "a sense of self that is grounded in reality, an undistorted recognition of one's abilities and characteristics." In order to achieve the kind of happiness that can be sustained even in the hardest times, he says, we must engage in the slow, steady work of training our hearts and minds, rooting out negative habits and cultivating basic human values like kindness and compassion. And what may be most moving is this: if the Dalai Lama is right, and if people do as he suggests - if they learn to see themselves impartially and to analyze their work in light of how many people it touches - they will begin to see, whether they are picking oranges or writing a novel, that the highest purpose of work and, indeed, of life is the helping of others.

"Becoming Enlightened"

by Jeffrey Hopkins, due Dec. 2009

Drawing from traditional Buddhist meditative practices as well as penetrating examples from today's troubled planet, Hopkins presents step-by-step exercises designed to expand the reader's capacity for spiritual growth, along with clear milestones to mark the reader's progress. By following the spiritual practices outlined in "Becoming Enlightened," we can learn how to replace troublesome feelings with positive attitudes and embark on a path to achieving an exalted state -- within ourselves and within the larger world.

Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, Mystic

by Mayank Chhaya, 2007

This is an authorized biography by an Indian journalist who did his research homework and had access to the Dalai Lama. The author also brings a familiarity with Asian politics, an essential frame of reference for understanding the complex situation of the Tibetan spiritual and political leader who has spent close to 50 years in exile in India. The end product is balanced, taking a Buddhist-style Middle Way toward its subject, even though the author is not himself a Buddhist. Particularly fascinating and demystifying is the account of the Dalai Lama's earliest years. Llamo Thondup, the Dalai Lama's birth name, was identified as the reincarnation of Tibet's top leader when he was just three years old. Scene-setting detail makes this chapter of the leader's life especially well told. By contrast, the end of the book feels a bit padded with speculation about the future of Tibet. But this book provides valuable information about a man whose human character is not nearly as well known as his exotic spiritual image.

"The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace"

by the Dalai Lama, 2001

Who is that robed man? Where did he come from? What does he believe and why should we care? Does he have anything to say that can improve our lives and help us live with meaning and authenticity? The answers are found in this little book.

The Essential Dalai Lama: His Important Teachings

by Rajiv Mehrotra, 2006

"The Essential Dalai Lama" brings together the best of the Dalai Lama's writings on all aspects of life, from work to meditation. Divided into four sections, The Vision, Buddhist Perspectives, Practice and A World in Harmony, "The Essential Dalai Lama" contains eloquent applications of the principles of ancient Buddhist thought to contemporary issues, all expressed in the Dalai Lama's uniquely compelling voice.

"Ethics for the New Millennium"

by Bstan-Dzin-Rgya, 2001

"This is not a religious book," asserts the Dalai Lama about a volume that's his most outspoken to date on moral and social issues. "My aim has been to appeal for an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles." The Dalai Lama adopts this approach because, he notes, the majority of humanity ignores religion, the traditional vehicle for ethics, yet observation shows him that happiness, which he discerns as the prime human goal, depends upon "positive ethical conduct." The entire book, written in simple, direct prose, reflects this sort of step-by-step reasoning, taking on color and drama with numerous anecdotes drawn from the Tibetan leader's personal experience. Methodically, the Dalai Lama explores the foundation of ethics, how ethics affect the individual and the role of ethics in society.

"Freedom in Exile"

by Bstan-Dzin-Rgya, 2008

The Dalai Lama's autobiography should leave no one in doubt of his humility and genuine compassion. Written without the slightest hint of pretense, the exiled leader of Tibet recounts his life, from the time he was whisked away from his home in 1939 at the age of four, to his treacherous escape from Tibet in 1959, to his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The backdrop of the story is the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet. He calmly relates details of imprisonment, torture, rape, famine, ecological disaster and genocide that under four decades of Chinese rule have left 1.25 million Tibetans dead and the Tibetan natural and religious landscapes decimated. Yet the Dalai Lama's story is strangely one of hope.

"My Land and My People: The Original Autobiography," 1997

Written by the Dalai Lama as a young man in exile, this dignified testament re-creates the miraculous search that identified him as the reincarnated leader of his country. It paints a rare, intimate portrait of Tibetan Buddhism, a way of life that would end with a terrifying foreign invasion surpassing sanity and reason. It reveals the evolution of a man from gentle monk to a world leader, one struggling to this day to free his country

"The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama"

Pico Iyer, 2009

Iyer has known the Dalai Lama for more than 30 years, thanks to a long-ago connection between the writer's father, an Oxford don born in India, and a young Dalai Lama. And so the acute global observer Iyer, a travel writer, essayist and novelist, has long followed the fortunes of the astute globalist Tibetan Buddhist, who travels the world but can never go home to his Chinese-occupied country. This is not a biography but an extended journalistic analysis of someone deep enough for several lifetimes, as Tibetan Buddhists believe. Iyer organizes his observations by aspects of the Dalai Lama's work and character: icon, monk, philosopher, politician. This allows him to plumb different sides of His Holiness, whom he demythologizes even as he expresses a clear-eyed respect for the leader's achievements.

Tibetan Culture   

"Seven Years in Tibet"

by Heinrich Harrer, 1997

"Seven Years in Tibet" is the extraordinary true story of how a young Austrian adventurer became tutor and friend to the Dalai Lama. This timeless story illuminates Eastern culture, as well as the childhood of His Holiness and the current plight of Tibetans.

Buddhism and Christianity   

"The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus," 1998

The Dalai Lama lead the 1994 John Main Seminar sponsored by the World Community for Christian Meditation and this book is a record of the seminar. As His Holiness thinks about famous passages like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-10) and Jesus' resurrection appearance to Mary (John 20:10-18), we see them from the entirely new perspective of Tibetan Buddhist spiritual knowledge and understanding. Indeed, he insists that his purpose in the dialogues is not to cast doubt on Christianity but to help others rediscover the deeper meaning and power of the Christian tradition.


"Kundun," 1997 (DVD 2003)

In 1937, a two-and-a-half year old boy from a simple family in Tibet was recognized as the fourteenth reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, and destined to become the spiritual and political leader of his people. Director Martin Scorsese brings to the screen the true story of the Dalai Lama. Told through the eyes of His Holiness, "Kundun" brings to life the account of the Dalai Lama's early life, from childhood through the Chinese invasion of Tibet and his journey into exile.