When I first picked up The Wisdom of Forgiveness, I was not really sure, how it would be. But having seen the attitude and behavior of Dalai Lama (through television of course), I was quite sure that it would be an interesting and educating read, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The Wisdom of Forgiveness is actually written by a writer of Chinese origin (born in Hong Kong), who first comes across Dalai Lama, after he visits Dharamshala, India, along with his friend Cheryl, just after escaping from his kidnappers in Afghanistan. And who’s first question to the Tibetan Spiritual and Political leader was, “whether he hated Chinese”!
Of course the compassionate answer didn’t make Victor Chan (author) convert to Buddhism, but that along with the kindness and openness he saw in the attitude of Tibetan refugees living in India, did open him up to a region high up in the Himalayas, which until now, hadn’t really come up on his radar, and thus lead him to visit India, Nepal and Tibet repeatedly and ultimately to develop a bond with the Tibetan Spiritual Leader and author this book.
The Wisdom of Forgiveness, thus not only contains teachings, point of view and anecdotes of Dalai Lama, but also incidents and events which take place around the Tibetan Leader, as he is accompanied by the author on his various journeys and at times, even day to day life. Thus offering an in-depth and to a certain extent, unbiased view of the life style and attitude of a spiritual and political leader, who has been living in exile for over 50 years and yet manages to keep a compassionate view of Chinese, who’s government has been responsible for his exile and that of lakhs of Tibetans!
Of course while such tidbits are quite interesting and make this a lively read, it is Dalai Lama’s spirituality, based on a practice of compassion and emptiness, which lends a real soul to the book and makes it really worthwhile. And even though as a Hindu by birth and by choice, I do not have much knowledge about Buddhism or its practices, however, almost all of what Dalai Lama says, make sense and at times is easily related/similar to instances/teachings present in the Great Hindu Epic, Ramayana, which too in its own subtle way, tries to teach one to be compassionate to those around us.
Which is why I really liked The Wisdom of Forgiveness and would give it a big thumbs up and a recommendation as a must read for all those, looking to satisfy their intellectual thirst on philosophy, religion and art of living.