The Dalai Lama Is Still An International Icon, But The Future Of His Office Has Never Been More In Doubt

The Dalai Lama Is Still An International Icon, But The Future Of His Office Has Never Been More In Doubt

The New York Times Magazine – December 1, 2015 (Excerpt)

On a wet Sunday in June at the Glastonbury Festival, more than 100,000 people spontaneously burst into a rendition of ‘‘Happy Birthday.’’ Onstage, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, blew out the solitary candle on a large birthday cake while clasping the hand of Patti Smith, who stood beside him. The world’s most famous monk then poked a thick finger at Smith’s silvery mane. ‘‘Musicians,’’ he said, ‘‘white hair.’’ But ‘‘the voice and physical action,’’ he added in his booming baritone, ‘‘forceful.’’ As Smith giggled, he went on: ‘‘So, that gives me encouragement. Myself, now 80 years old, but I should be like you — more active!’’

The crowd, accustomed to titanic vanity from its icons — Kanye West declared himself the ‘‘greatest living rock star on the planet’’ the previous night — looked uncertain before erupting with cheers and claps. The Dalai Lama then walked into the throng of celebrities wandering about backstage, limping slightly; he has a bad knee. He looked as amused and quizzical as ever in his tinted glasses when Lionel Richie approached and, bowing, said, ‘‘How are you?’’ ‘‘Good, good,’’ he replied, clasping Richie’s hands.

When the Dalai Lama entered his dressing room, I stood up hurriedly, as did the Tibetan monk who was sitting beside me. ‘‘Sit, sit,’’ he said and then noticed a black-and-white photo of naked young men and women dancing during Glastonbury’s earliest days. He turned to me with a mischievous smile, and said, ‘‘Please sit and enjoy the photo.’’ He then spoke in rapid-fire Tibetan to the monk, cackling with delight: ‘‘These pleasures,’’ he said, ‘‘are not for us.’’ Read more…

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Book of Joy - Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai LamaNobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing force of tyranny. Despite their difficulties—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyous people on the planet.

In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala, India, to honor His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and to create what they believed would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life’s inescapable distress?

They traded unique stories, taunted each other continuously, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global champions had stared into the abyss and hopelessness of our time and explained how to live a life brimming with joy.

This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their extraordinary and unprecedented week together, from the first embrace to the final good-bye.

We get to listen as they examine the Nature of True Joy and face each of the Obstacles of Joy—from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which present the foundation for enduring happiness. Throughout, they include stories, wisdom, and science. Finally, they share their daily Joy Practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.

The Archbishop has never claimed sainthood, and the Dalai Lama considers himself a simple monk. In this unique collaboration, they offer us the reflection of real lives filled with pain and turmoil in the midst of which they have been able to discover a level of peace, of courage, and of joy to which we can all aspire in our own lives.

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