Living Wisdom with His Holiness the Dalai Lama
by Don Farber and The Dalai Lama
Sounds True, Inc. 2006
DVD, CD, Cards and Study Guide, $29.95
Living Wisdom with His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an attractively boxed set that includes a 47-minute DVD, a 145-page study guide, a CD and 37 beautiful cards that each features a different photograph of the Dalai Lama on one side and a contemplative teaching on the other. An easel is also included in the package, to display a card in.
Reviewing this beautiful package made for a wonderfully peaceful day, as this set facilitates an immersion into the incredible aura of the Dalai Lama. The Buddhist spiritual leader who has emerged as a supreme world spiritual leader is featured over and over again — with even some of his own chanting on the CD, as well as monks and nuns chanting in his honor.
The DVD depicts 25 years of photographer Don Farber’s graceful photography of His Holiness with over 400 images, all set to soothing and sacred Tibetan music. The study guide contains lessons on The Six Transcendent Perfections, and the teachings on the back of the cards are divided into the six paramitas (perfections) — Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Joyful Exertion, Meditative Concentration and Wisdom.
This set contains so much, it’s difficult to know what to start with, and there is obviously much to learn from — much more than a day of simple review. For example, on a card that shows a smiling Dalai Lama making an offering on one side, the teaching on the other side is “Generosity: If you become proud and arrogant when giving, or if you practice generosity with the idea of a reward, then all the merit of the generosity is lost. Instead, bodhisattvas pray that the positive karmic result of their generosity will ripen in others rather than in themselves.”
It is the Dalai Lama’s belief that: “From my point of view, however, the most important part of the kit is the explanation of the Transcendent Perfections, qualities admired by all Buddhist traditions, but emphasized particularly the bodhisattva’s way of life.” Elsewhere in the study guide, it is written, “The main reason for practicing or cultivating the Six Perfections is to become a Buddha, or full enlightened being.”
Don Farber writes: “I’ve noticed that when in the presence of a spiritual master, space is transformed so that we are dwelling in an enlightened atmosphere.” This did indeed seem to become the case as I read the study guide while listening to the chanting on the CD. A definite sense of calmness slowly came over me, and I thought about the verse describing this teacher that the Dalai Lama himself says is one of his greatest sources of inspiration:
“For as long as space endures,
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.”
And, by the way, a substantial portion of the royalties from this boxed set will help Tibetan refugees through the Tibet Fund.
Review by Diane Saarinen