Insights into inward journey
Harbir K. Singh

In My Own Words: An Introduction to My Teachings and Philosophy
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Ed. Rajiv Mehrotra.
Hay House.
Pages 210. Rs 195. 

THIS book gives us a valuable insight into the mind of world-renowned spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Born Tenzin Gyatso in a peasant family, his broad vision led him to reach out to people all around. He spread the message of peace, love, humility, humanity and happiness among the masses. Today, his teachings and philosophy are admired and followed by millions all over the world.

In My Own Words contains the viewpoints and preachings of the celebrated Buddhist spiritual master. He reaches out to people in a simple way and makes Buddhism acceptable to non-Buddhists also. For the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama represents hope for their future as he is fighting for the cause of their freedom and rights.

He preaches what he practices. His messages on happiness, law of karma, transformations of the mind, how to meditate, meaningful living and dying, universal responsibility are few of the topics he has discussed in the book. On happiness, he says everyone wants to be happy and desire contentment. Love and compassion bring us happiness and inner tranquility. The expression of love is very important to live a balanced life. Love and compassionate attitude can bring us true happiness. Thus, the key to a happier and successful world is love and compassion, says the Dalai Lama.

A chapter on Buddhism and Buddhist teachings describes the life of Buddha and his preachings and four noble truths. Buddha who was born more than 2,500 years ago felt the sufferings of people. His first noble truth is that everything in this world is impermanent. Ignorance, anger, attachment are the root cause of our sufferings, so the second truth stresses the need for understanding the cause of sufferings. When you eliminate the root cause, you achieve a state of cessation of sufferings. So, the third truth is nirvana. The fourth truth is to follow a path that leads you to be away from causes of sufferings. This path is the essence of the way to live a Buddhist life. Right view, thought, speech, conduct, livelihood and effort are the basic ethics.

The law of karma is the actions we do in our life and because of the cause and effect relationship between our actions and our experience, we spend our life enduring all ups and downs of our life .Our karmic actions determine our next birth. The result of negative karmic actions is rebirth in the lower realms. If people believed in law of karma there would be less sufferings.

The awakening of the mind through meditation can help human beings become better, refined and more creative. When the mind is influenced by positive thoughts, no negativity can harm it. Disturbing emotions can cause harm. Buddha taught us to move towards the right path. Meditation is a very powerful tool to attain the highest goal as it leads to the righteous and virtuous path. You have to relinquish five faultsólaziness, forgetfulness, lethargy and excitement, non-application of the antidotes and over application. Awakening the mind is the way to achieve Buddha hood in order to free all beings from sufferings. Meaningful living teaches you to lead a fruitful life, so that you can work for the welfare and upliftment of others. You must try to remove sufferings of others and help them follow the right path with a positive, happy and warm attitude.

This book is beautifully written bringing out the preachings of the Dalai Lama. It illustrates the powerful ideas of meditation and how even Western science can be reconciled with this. Mehrotra has been a personal student of the Dalai Lama, a charismatic figure. This has helped him in describing all his philosophy and teachings in a dedicated form and takes the reader to a spiritual journey with the great master of all times.