Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: ethics for a new millenium
At a time and in a culture where science and technology have taken over from religious belief, when ethics are understood primarily in terms of aesthetic choice or legality, how are we to formulate moral principles to guide us in our daily lives?
In his first original work since the best-selling autobiography FREEDOM IN EXILE, the Dalai Lama calls for a revolution. Not a political, an economic, a technical or even a religious revolution, however, but a spiritual revolution.
Our task, he says, is to find some method of adjudicating between the claims of, for example, terrorism and Gandhi's principles of non-violence as a means of political change. And we must find a way to do so which avoids the extremes of crude absolutism on the one hand and trivial relativism on the other.
Though religion can certainly help in this, the Dalai Lama demonstrates that there are universal principles we can draw on which transcend the dilemma of belief or unbelief. And whilst many have been content to speak of spiritual matters as something mysterious or evanescent, the Dalai Lama explains his approach in terms that are as clear and concise as they are compelling. In the first instance, he says, a spiritual revolution entails an ethical revolution.
With wit, gentle good sense and with penetrating insight, the Dalai Lama shows how the truths that have stood the test of generations of practise can provide us with the tools to live happy, fulfilled and meaningful lives. In the process, it becomes apparent that he does not merely espouse the 'feel good' religiousity some accuse him of. The reader is left admiring not just the wisdom of the author, but the wisdom of the culture he represents.
Introduction and Acknowledgements
PART ONE - THE FOUNDATIONS OF ETHICS
Modern Society and the Quest for Human Happiness
No Magic, No Mystery
Dependent Origination and the Nature of Reality
Redefining the Goal
Nying-je, The Supreme Emotion
PART TWO - ETHICS AND THE INDIVIDUALO
The Ethics of Restraint
The Ethics of Virtue
The Ethics of Compassion
Ethics and Suffering
The Need for Discernment
PART THREE - ETHICS AND SOCIETY
Levels of Commitment
Peace and Disarmament
The Role of Religion in Modern Society An Appeal