In his first sermon at Deer Park, the historical Buddha spoke of the Four Noble Truths of sentient existence: 1. The existence of suffering, or dukkha 2. The cause of suffering (karma) 3. The cessation of suffering 4. ... more »The Path that leads to the cessation of suffering This set of four videos collects a series of lectures on the Four Noble Truths given by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in 1997 in England. The lectures were a landmark event, bringing together for the first time in the West a nonsectarian Buddhist and lay audience for over six hours of emotional and intellectually challenging engagement with these central teachings of the Buddhist canon. The impressive intellect and scholarship of His Holiness is everywhere evident in these tapes as he traverses the expansive body of Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. One also catches glimpses of his mischievous sense of humor and, of course, his inspiring compassion. The first tape is a framework for the discussion of the Four Truths. His Holiness discusses the importance of developing a critical insight toward one's perceptions of reality, and he emphasizes the value of the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) in finding the way to this insight. Though he begins in English, as he gets into the finer points of Tibetan philosophy he turns to his native language and speaks through a translator. The tape concludes in a lighthearted mode with a question-and-answer period, again in English, in which he giggles over the Western interest in finding the "quickest, cheapest, and most efficient" way to enlightenment. The second tape addresses the First of the Truths, of dukkha, or suffering. Here His Holiness searches for the roots of this suffering in an understanding of cosmology, both among Buddhist writings and among the work of contemporary physicists, but ultimately he points to our human ignorance of the fleeting nature of pleasurable experience as the root cause. Tape 3 opens with an analysis of the causes of suffering (the law of karma). He begins to set out the Buddhist path, which, he says, must always be grounded in the aspiration for "freedom from samsara"--life amid the world of afflictive emotions. In the most impassioned moment of the hours of lectures, His Holiness uses his surprisingly deft English to explain how our emotions are the true "enemy" and destroyer of all of our happiness and health. If you believe, he argues, that one can do something about one's feelings of greed, anger, etc., then one should dedicate oneself to study and mental training to root out the afflictive emotions and foster the positive emotions. The end of tape 3 briefly addresses the Third Truth, of the cessation of suffering. Finally, tape 4, which is peppered with references to classical Buddhist texts, takes up the Path (The Eight-Fold Path, as it is usually called) to "direct, intuitive realization of emptiness." At the root of this path, His Holiness says that one most foster bodhichitta, the altruistic desire to attain enlightenment for oneself so that one may help others. He recommends that one devote oneself, above all else, to seeing oneself as interconnected with all other beings. To stay on the Path, one must be devoted to single-point meditation and analytical meditation. And one must be determined. Enlightenment may, he admits, take eons. One curiosity of the videos is the cameraperson's roving eye. Frequently, the picture will settle on a rapt or amused audience member. On a couple of occasions, the faces in the audience are famous: John Cleese and various British TV personalities. Each of the four videos also includes a brief introduction by Tibetan Buddhism scholar Robert Thurman, who contextualizes the lectures within the many Buddhist traditions. --Patrick O'Kelley« less
"Besides offering a thorough exposition of Mahayana belief, and indeed practice, with an anything but common traversal of the Four Noble Truths by a master, in these four videos one is invited to spend a few intimate hours in the presence of the Dalai Lama, always an ennobling experience. The camera work in this film is especially fine, making of the camera one's own eyes, as it were, and lifting the hours even lighter than they already seem. With respect to another of the reviews on this page, I found the necessary translation from the stage handled superbly, and clearly with a great deal of thought and natural reverence. In Thubten Jimpa, the Dalai Lama employs a beautifully adept translator, an interpreter not only brilliantly attuned to the words and thoughts of the Dalai Lama, but one so obviously loved by him, and who responds with a special kind of faithfulness, that a marvelous duet is often played out, only enhancing thereby this great teacher's magisterial presentation. I would add that one feels as well the 'Englishness' of the audience, so eager to quietly offer their accepting energy, so ready to listen, far more so than might be a gathering of Americans usually so conscious of themselves in the moment. The humor that ripples often between the Dalai Lama and his listeners throughout the evening is so generous and unaffected, one is returned again and again to the meaning behind the words, the experience behind the event. This is a film of the highest achievment, fortunately within the reach of us all. An unforgettable few hours!"
Good introduction to buddhist thinking
Dr. Ravi Gampala | California, USA | 12/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Among all the books written by H.H The Dalai Lama, this book is the most concise and conveys the four noble truths in a simple and easy to follow manner. It is a very good introduction for any one who is in search of peace of mind."
Inspiring, comprehensive, easy to understand
Jeri | sevierville, tennessee USA | 08/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this small book His Holiness the Dalai Lama presents a completely comprehensive, easy to understand explanation and discussion on The Four Noble Truths, which are the foundation of the Buddhist teaching. Yet the book transcends religious beliefs and is actually a book on living happily and peacefully no matter what one's beliefs are. This book, therefore, is for anyone and everyone who is interested in living a more peaceful life. His Holiness explains the most complex issues of human existence in a form that is so simple anyone can understand. He readily gives examples and compassionately faces all alternative arguments to the issues. Everything makes sense. He includes a complete glossary and recommendations for further reading. The last chapter focuses on compassion, complementing the teaching on The Four Noble Truths, and beautifully illustrates how the teachings can be applied to daily life. One completes the reading with no unanswered questions and a profound feeling of peace. It is an inspiring, uplifting, informative little book that will be read over and over again. PS: Great for gift giving too."
Best overview of Buddhist thought per page.
J. Anderson | 07/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The most concrete, coherent, and complete "overview" of Buddhist thought as it applies in contemporary life in both the Eastern and Western worldviews. The wonderfully warm personality of His Holiness radiates throughout."
Words From A Master
Swing King | Cincinnati, OH USA | 03/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These videos are a documentary of teachings on The Four Noble Truths presented by H.H. the Dalai Lama at Barbicon Hall in London, with a translator on hand to help act as a go-between in the exchange. The Dalai Lama, as just about all Buddhist masters would agree, feels that The Four Noble Truths are the core of all of Buddhism. They are:1. We suffer, not only active anguish but wide-ranging dissatisfaction and unease.2. The origin of this suffer is our clinging, desire and attachments.3. There is an End to suffering.4. That pathway out of suffering is the Eightfold Path.Robert Thurman, America's foremost scholar on Tibetan Buddhism at Columbia University, introduces the Four Noble Truths here. The Dalai Lama strikes a chord within all of us on this film with his succinct marking out of the Buddhist path of freedom, self-control, and compassion. I offer you a short review because of course the Dalai Lama will explain it all for you! Enjoy."