Beyond Religion

Ethics for the Whole World
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Beyond Religion: Ethics for the Whole World. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2011. 192p. ISBN 9780547636351. $24; eISBN 9780547645728. ETHICS
The author himself concedes it's odd for him to write a book about secular ethics. But as he says, "Of the world's six billion and more inhabitants, only a minority are what I would consider sincere religious practitioners." So, building on his Ethics for a New Millennium, he aims to spread teachings that instill respect for the human community without reference to God. I can't believe how many books this man writes; obviously, there's an audience.
In this kind of sequel to his Ethics for the New Millennium, the Dalai Lama delineates some of our global challenges and suggests a nonreligious yet ethical mode of thinking that might help us. Although the note of exhaustion has been sounded—the Dalai Lama has spoken of retirement and begins this book by saying "I am an old man now"—his nonreligious ethics still have a strong and perhaps welcome Buddhist flavor.
VERDICT The Dalai Lama's gentle and sensible messages of focus, peace, and mindfulness may not be heeded in a divided world but will be very welcome to seekers of all faiths. [See Prepub Alert, 5/16/11.]
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