This is a short—but incredibly sweet—book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was published in 2017 and contains myriad great wisdom for troubled times. The Dalai Lama once told the co-author of An Appeal to the World, Franz Alt, "I don't have any enemies, only people I haven't met yet." He has spent his life cultivating this positive attitude, and it can be found on every page of this book.
Today's world is marked by division. Politicians are promoting borders rather than inclusion, economic inequality is running rampant, and religion is breeding violence. Yet the need for unity has never been more urgent, because the crises that humanity faces are affecting people all around the world. Many people have lost all hope for the future and wonder what we can possibly do to move forward.
Well, they're in luck, because the Dalai Lama and Alt have created a brilliant book that is capable of watering the seeds of world peace that are already located inside of each and every one of us—even though many people do not know or believe that they exist. He reminds us that all people have two things in common—our universal pursuit of happiness and the compelling desire to avoid suffering. Finding common ground and engaging in an open dialog is an effective way to mitigate the division that we otherwise experience.
One theme that the Dalai Lama repeats several times throughout the book is the concept that ethics are more important than religion. He even goes on to say, "On some days I think it would be better if there were no religions. All religions and all scriptures harbor potential for violence. That is why we need secular ethics beyond all religions." He explains that the core tenets of secular ethics are mindfulness, education, respect, tolerance, caring, and nonviolence. I was pleasantly surprised by how strongly and frequently he spoke about our need to cultivate secular ethics throughout the book.
I was also happy to see that the topic of Trump was also addressed in the book. A lot of people are experiencing suffering because he is currently our President, and hopefully the Dalai Lama's words on this topic will help soothe their psychic wounds.
An Appeal to the World is already a major international bestseller, and for good reason. It's an inspirational, powerful book written by one of the most revered spiritual leaders of our time that has the potentially to truly change the world. It would probably take the average person between one to three hours to read it from cover to cover, and I highly recommend that you do.
4/5 stars. 128 pages.