How to Practice Buddhism – The Way to a Meaningful Life Book Review
In this article I will be reviewing a book written by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama named “How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life”. This book originally in Tibetan, was translated and edited by Dr. Jeffrey Hopkins Ph.D.
Jeffrey Hopkins is a Professor of Tibetan Studies and has been practicing Buddhism for more than 30 years and served as the Dalai Lama’s chief translator during lecture tours in the United States, Indonesia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, United Kingdom, and Switzerland for ten years.
I think all of us ponder the meaning of it all at some point in our lives and I think what we all have in common as human beings is a desire to be happy and avoid suffering. In this book, the Dalai Lama shows us a path that will lead spiritual seekers toward enlightenment.
This book is very accessible and is written for those who truly want to be happy and end suffering. I think the chapter title are enough to give you a flavor of the book and its contents.
Part I The Basics
Chapter 1: Three Ways to Practice
Part II Practicing Morality
Chapter 2: Identifying the Scope of Suffering
Chapter 3: Discovering How Trouble Starts and Stops
Chapter 4: Refraining From Harm
Chapter 5: Extending Help
Chapter 6: Aspiring to Enlightenment
Part III Practicing Concentrated Meditation
Chapter 7: Focusing the Mind
Part IV Practicing Wisdom
Chapter 8: Examining How Beings and Things Exist
Chapter 9: The Middle Way
Chapter 10: Mind and the Deep Nature of Mind
Part V Tantra
Chapter 11: Deity Yoga
Part VI Steps Along the Way
Chapter 12: Overview of the Path to Enlightenment
Overall the book is written in easy to understand language that anyone can follow along with. This book encourages us to study and recommends daily practices that we can do in order to cultivate a certain quality, for example, compassion. I think that Dr. Hopkins does a wonderful job with the translation from the Tibetan language.
There are meditation practices outlined in this book that are of great value and serve as a good introduction to the world of Tibetan Buddhism which is a form of Vajrayana Buddhism.
There are a lot of suggestions on how to practice Buddhism detailed in this book that you can integrate into your daily schedule if you choose. And there are exercises that are listed at the end of each chapter with which you can take action to further your understanding of the content of each chapter.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning about Tibetan Buddhism and you don’t need to become a Buddhist in order to benefit from the teachings and practices. In fact the Dalai Lama counsels people to not give up the religious tradition that they were raised in but rather learn about it, and use that learning to enrich and deepen their own faith.
My rating for this book is:
Thanks for reading this book review on how to practice Buddhism, and feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comments below.