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We want to communicate with you in all kinds of ways and so our postings will be many and varied! We do offer a weekly children's sermon and monthly Time Together devotional on a regular basis. You can find those through the archives as well as the Children's Sermons and Resources Tabs. We hope you will leave your comments and contribute to the networking of this site!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: My Spiritual Journey

Title: The Dalai Lama: My Spiritual Journey... Personal Reflections, Teachings, and Talks
Compiled by Sofia Stril-Rever
Translated by Charlotte Mandell
Stars: **** (4/5)

This book sets out to convey to us not only how the Dalai Lama came to be in his current position but also the culture, setting, history, and spirituality of the Tibetan people. There has been more recently activity in the United States surrounding the plight of the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama himself. Krista Tippet through the On Being program has interviewed him as a part of panel and go on to talk with his translator as well contributing to the recent buzz and important education about this man, his role in politics and spirituality, and the message of peace from his part of the world to ours.

This account of the Dalai Lama and the history of Tibet is an important one for westerners to hear. So often that part of the world seems far away and foreign to us and yet we know that we are more connected globally than ever before. The way this book is written with speeches and commentary from the Dalai Lama himself and then background information provided by the compiler makes this a book that is easily accessible to understand, follow the complications of the culture and the history, and open up the mind to seeing how life and spirituality are not only a part of life for Tibetans but how we can learn from their experiences, history, and spirituality.

For those working in ministry settings this is a good book to read to take a closer look through quick read at Buddhism and how it is lived out on the political scene and in daily life. This book offers a way for minds to be broaden and for hearts to be open to seeing how God works across the globe. It is also a way for us to engage in conversation and deeper thought about how we are interconnected as well as what role true peace takes in our world and what it looks like. The Dalai Lama's continued non violent stance, openness to compromise and persistent efforts on behalf of his people is to be commended and upheld. He sees every human being, even those who are directly persecuting him and subjecting his people to terror, with dignity and respect. He is able to see multiple points of few and because he is rooted in a spirituality that lets him know his enemies do not hold power over the core of his humanity or the roots of his spirituality.

Faith+Share Discussion Points/Ideas with Adults/Youth:

Listen to the On Being podcast mentioned above or read the blog in regards to the Dalai Lama thoughts on happiness.

How does the story of how the Dalai Lama was chosen impact you?

The Dalai begins this book with stating that he is 'just a human being'. What does this mean for a man of power and leadership to start out by stating he is just a human? Does that effect how you see yourself in the global community? How?

John 3:16-17 says that God loves the world and came for the world not so people would be condemned, but saved. How does this perspective in Christianity relate to the many faiths, including Buddhism, that are known throughout the world? How do we see God globally?

The people of Tibet have had a long, and recent, struggle with freedom, equality, and survival. How does hearing their story through the Dalai Lama impact your understanding of the Tibetan people and their world?

Do we have responsibility to respond to those who are persecuted or suffering or crying out for freedom in other parts of the world? If we do, what shape does that responsibility take?

God, we know you are a God who loves the world. Help us to see the world through your eyes and to use our minds, feelings, prayers, and hands to be in service to the people and the world that you love.

Other books that might interest you: 
Embracing the World: Praying for Justice and Peace by Jane Venard
Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hahn
Martin Luther and Buddhism by Paul S. Chung

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