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Courageous Compassion

Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

The sixth volume of the Dalai Lama’s definitive Library of Wisdom and Compassion series.

Courageous Compassion, the sixth volume of the Library of Wisdom and Compassion series, continues the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the path to awakening. The previous volume, In Praise of Great Compassion, focused on opening our hearts with love and compassion for all living beings, and the present volume explains how to embody compassion and wisdom in our daily lives. Here we enter a fascinating exploration of bodhisattvas’ activities across multiple Buddhist traditions—Tibetan, Theravada, and Chinese Buddhism.

After explaining the ten perfections according to the Pali and Sanskrit traditions, the Dalai Lama presents the sophisticated schema of the four paths and fruits for sravakas and solitary realizers and the five paths for bodhisattvas. Learning about the practices mastered by these exalted practitioners inspires us with knowledge of our minds’ potential. His Holiness also describes buddha bodies, what buddhas perceive, and buddhas’ awakening activities.

Courageous Compassion offers an in-depth look at bodhicitta, arhatship, and buddhahood that you can continuously refer to as you progress on the path to full awakening.

About The Authors

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and a beacon of inspiration for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. He has persistently reached out across religious and political lines and has engaged in dialogue with scientists in his mission to advance peace and understanding in the world. In doing so, he embodies his motto: “My religion is kindness.”


Thubten Chodron has been a Buddhist nun since 1977. A graduate of UCLA, she is the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey in Washington State. She is a popular speaker and author of numerous books, including Buddhism for Beginners.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (May 4, 2021)
  • Length: 496 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781614297475

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Raves and Reviews

“At this critical time the world is in need of guides who embody both wisdom and genuine compassion, such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron, who serve as living examples of courageous action in upholding the bodhisattva ideal both in word and in deed. Now they have collaborated to give us a volume on the practical application of fearless compassion. May this serve as an inspiration to Buddhist practitioners, now and in the future, to bravely embody compassion for the benefit of all.
”We welcome this addition to the series, which deals with the central relevance of courageous compassion as we walk the path.”

– Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

“In the sixth installment of their extraordinary Library of Wisdom and Compassion series, H. H. the Dalaia Lama and Ven. Thubten Chodron transport us through the higher reaches of the Buddhist path, as envisioned by the Theravada, Sutrayana, and Mahayana traditions. Led by two expert guides, we come to appreciate the perfections we must practice, the stages of spiritual ascent we must traverse, and the sublime awakened states awaiting at journey's end. At once informative and deeply inspiring, Courageous Compassion should have a place on the bookshelf of every Buddhist, along with the other volumes in this masterful collection.”

– Roger Jackson, author of Mind Seeing Mind: Mahamudra and the Geluk Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism

“The previous volume in this groundbreaking series explored ways to generate compassion and bodhicitta; in this volume His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron address how to develop and sustain compassion in the ordinary life we have today all the way up to the completion of our spiritual path. This turn to applying compassion requires not only profound knowledge of the Buddhist textual tradition but also great sensitivity to the circumstances of people’s ordinary lives and to twenty-first-century societies. This book brings both to bear as it asks, What would our lives look like if we lived and acted purely out of compassion?
”Between the two of them, the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron have over a century practicing and teaching on compassion. That depth of experience and knowledge is reflected on every page of this book.”

– Venerable Damchö Diana Finnegan, PhD

“In this sixth volume of their extraordinary series mapping the Buddhist path to awakening, H. H. the Dalai Lama and the Venerable Thubten Chodron, in conversation both with the Pali and the Indo-Tibetan Mahayana traditions, show how to build on the insight, the understanding, and the cultivation achieved through study and practice in order to become a powerful agent for the welfare of oneself and others, and to ascend to the advanced stages of the path to awakening. Their account is rich in scholarship, deeply humane, and powerfully inspirational.”

– Jay L. Garfield, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities, Smith College and the Harvard Divinity School

“In volume 6 of this full-bodied series, the Dalai Lama focuses on the paramitas, the activities of a bodhisattva, explaining the set of six and ten paramitas according to the sravaka, Mahayana, and tantric paths and schematics expounded over the long course of Buddhist commentarial traditions. There is even a chapter devoted to how, and what, a Buddhist teacher should teach in the West. In short, Courageous Compassion presents a comprehensive and robust overview of how to act with compassion.”

– Jan Willis, author of Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist, and Dharma Matters: Women, Race, and Tantra

“Courageous Compassion is among the most impressive and beautiful volumes in the remarkable Library of Wisdom and Compassion series. Here Venerable Thubten Chodron stewards the presentation of a substantial and comprehensive description of the bodhisattva’s path of compassion with a special focus on the bodhisattva perfections and the paths and fruits of the three vehicles. Certainly a marvelous addition to everyone’s library of Buddhist wisdom!”

– Bhikshu Dharmamitra

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More books in this series: The Library of Wisdom and Compassion