Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Joy of Compassion, by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

This text is one of the books contained in the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive starter pack collection.   It is the only one not written by (or a transcript of) Lama Yeshe himself, instead reflecting the work of Lama Zopa who was Lama Yeshe's teacher and co-founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.

The difference in authorship is important:   this is the only book in the collection that I did not enjoy.   Lama Zopa does not speak with the intimate, friendly, caring and open style of Lama Yeshe.

So I'm not going to say much about the book at all except that Lama Zopa points out the importance of looking beyond oneself.  That meditating alone is insufficient to improve your post-death prospects.  For many of us, our pre-death prospects are at the forefront of our interests, this may not matter very much; Lama Zopa is worried about your consciousness moving to your next life.

Fortunately, the interests of your after deal consciousness and your pre-death lifestyle coalesce:  in both cases, acting with compassion, practicing Dharma, is of value.

[Wondering what Dharma means, even after you read the material in the link above?  Try instead the definition of mitzvah, here quoted from Wikipedia:  "...Hebrew mitzvah, as with English "commandment," refers to a moral deed performed as a religious duty. As such, the term mitzvah has also come to express an act of human kindness. The tertiary meaning of mitzvah also refers to the fulfillment of a mitzvah."]

As Lama Zopa says, "Cherish sentient beings first; put enlightenment second."

Instead of this book, I recommend "The Peaceful Stillness of the Silent Mind," by Lama Yeshe.   It can be downloaded for free or purchased from the Foundation or from Amazon (in Kindle format).

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