Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.
The occasion was a big birthday. And it inspired two close friends to get together in Dharamsala for a talk about something very important to them. The friends were His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The subject was joy. Both winners of the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet.
From the beginning the book was envisioned as a three-layer birthday cake: their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their eighties, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others.
Most of all, during that landmark week in Dharamsala, they demonstrated by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life.
“The Book of Joy lives up to its title and goes much further. It highlights the many ways in which we can all bring greater joy, fulfillment and purpose into our lives, and illuminates the nature of the interconnected relationship between painful emotions and deep happiness. The book not only reaffirms this truth with great clarity, but through the magic of Abrams’ skillful facilitation shows the many ways in which these two great spiritual leaders, both of whom are also great teachers of peace and reconciliation, embody the totality of what it means to be both ordinary and simultaneously outrageous, mischievous, and completely unpredictable!
An unexpected delight of this book is the frequency and ease with which these two men bring forth their playfulness, wit, wisdom, and laugh-out-loud humor, even when they are immersed in profoundly deep discourse.
What I found personally most rewarding was the teaching that ran through the book that had to do with the many ways in which it is possible to find joy even in the most difficult of times. Both of these men have endured great hardship and adversity both in their own lives and in the lives of millions of their countrymen, women and children, and yet their extraordinarily brilliant spirit shines brightly through every page of this amazing book. How do they do it? The Book of Joy truly fulfills its promise to answer that question.
I give this book five stars only because I can’t give it six!”
“The Book of Joy delves into the concept and cultivation of joy in life. For those who have read other books by the Dali Lama, you know that he thinks very deeply about what brings suffering and joy to humanity, and how we can seek and find true joy. What I knew less about was Desmond Tut’s thoughts on the same matter. This book evolved from a five day conversation between the two of them moderated by Abrams, who brings insight into the discussion between the two. The books combines discussion of the lighter moments of their meeting, to the intese discussion about the base emotions of life, and how to cultivate the “eight pillars of joy” (perspective, humility, humor, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity).
This is not so much meant to be a book of faith, but more a book of humanity and its potential to love and find joy. The warmth of these deep thinkers, and their compassion, transcends the pages of the book, making it a joy to read and revel in their thoughts.
In all, an inspiring, and thoughtful read for any reader.”