Monday, August 16, 2021

The Book of Joy - by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams

The One Book One Community selection for the fall 2021 is The Book of Joy. After so much time on lockdown (with only virtual connections) the time seemed right for a book that explores what is joyful in life. Co-author Abrams follows these two religious leaders during a week-long meeting in which they discuss how they remain positive despite their experiences living under apartheid (in the case of the Archbishop) and the extreme difficulties of living in exile (in the case of the Dalai Lama). The Dalai Lama left Tibet for India in 1959 at the age of 24. He describes how during the Cultural Revolution China pledged to wipe out the Tibetan language 
so they burned books, such as the three-hundred-volume Tibetan canon of scriptures translated from India, as well as several thousand volumes written by Tibetans themselves
On a more joyful note however, the week wraps up with a party in honor of the Dalai Lama's eightieth birthday. And what better place to have a joyful birthday celebration than in a library! The party takes place in the Tibetan Children's Village school

As our motorcade approached, we heard the children's soaring voices, their welcome song high-pitched and plaintive, yet indomitable and joyful. It was a song they had composed...The choir and school staff lined the road. All around them sat waves of students in their school uniforms...The car finally arrived at the library and the children were still singing at the top of their lungs.

This was, ironically, a rather challenging book for me. As I read news of building collapses, an earthquake, the Taliban, raging wildfires, all while facing a pandemic that won't slow down because of deliberate manipulation of truth, perhaps remaining hopeful is the best I can do for now. Joy will have to wait.

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