Dalai Lama tour of U.S. brings out the books

By Linda Crosson, The Dallas Morning News, Sept 17, 2005

Dallas, Texas (USA) -- As the Dalai Lama continues his speaking tour of the United States, his image is conspicuous, in bookstores and elsewhere. Four titles by the Tibetan Buddhist leader have come out recently, each bearing his distinctive likeness on its cover.

The current titles - two new and two paperback editions of already published works - join a lengthy list of writings by the 70-year-old exiled leader of Tibet. In all, more than 50 of his works have been published over the past four decades, including the 1998 best-seller The Art of Happiness.

Here are brief reviews of the current books.

The Wisdom of Forgiveness
(Berkeley/Riverhead, 262 pages, paperback, $14; published in hardcover 2004)

This book is the most accessible and personal of the four. Written with friend Victor Chan, it is a kind of diary and travelogue of the Dalai Lama's everyday life as well as his ideas. Readers get to see the leader as an ordinary (yet extraordinary) human being, not a priest on a mountaintop.

How to Expand Love
(Atria, 209 pages, hardcover, $20; June 2005)

Accepting the Dalai Lama's advice on this topic requires some level of comfort with Buddhist precepts that will seem foreign to most Judeo-Christians. The process that's described is based largely on belief in reincarnation. But even without total buy-in, anyone coming to the book with a sincere interest in learning ways to reduce anger and resentment and increase kindness and understanding may profit.

Many Ways to Nirvana
(Penguin Compass, 193 pages, $14, originally published in India, 2004)

Here, various talks given by his holiness since 1999 are collected into one volume that explores means of achieving the state of nirvana as suggested by different branches of Buddhism. It will interest primarily those who already have a grounding in the religion's overall concepts.

The Universe in a Single Atom
(Doubleday/Morgan Road Books, 209 pages, hardcover, $24.95; Tuesday publication)

The Dalai Lama's newest work arises from his longtime interest in scientific inquiry. In it, he displays a broad knowledge of disciplines at the forefront of current research, including quantum physics, neuroscience and genetics. He traces parallels between modes of thinking in classic Buddhist contemplation and the rules of scientific research today.

The Dalai Lama will appear in Houston on Thursday; and in New York City and New Jersey from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26.