Leading thinkers from a range of disciplines discuss the compatibility of power and care, in conversation with the Dalai Lama.
For more than thirty years, the Dalai Lama has been in dialogue with thinkers from a range of disciplines, helping to support pathways for knowledge to increase human wellbeing and compassion. These conversations, which began as private meetings, are now part of the Mind & Life Institute and Mind & Life Europe. This book documents a recent Mind & Life Institute dialogue with the Dalai Lama and others on two fundamental forces: power and care—power over and care for others in human societies.
The notion of power is essentially neutral; power can be used to benefit others or to harm them, to build or to destroy. Care, on the other hand, is not a neutral force; it aims at increasing the wellbeing of others. Power and care are not incompatible: power, imbued with care, can achieve more than a powerless motivation to care; power, without the intention to benefit others, can be ruthless. The contributors—who include such celebrated figures as Frans B. M. de Waal, Olafur Eliasson, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, and Jody Williams—discuss topics including the interaction of power and care among our closest relatives, the chimpanzees; the effect of meditation and mental training practices on the brain; the role of religion in promoting peace and compassion; and the new field of Caring Economics.
Paul Collier, Brother Thierry-Marie Courau, Frans B. M. de Waal, Olafur Eliasson, Scilla Elworthy, Alexandra M. Freund, Tenzin Gyatso (His Holiness the Dalai Lama), Markus Heinrichs, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Frédéric Laloux, Alaa Murabit, Matthieu Ricard, Johan Rockström, Richard Schwartz, Tania Singer, Dennis J. Snower, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Theo Sowa, Pauline Tangiora, Jody Williams
Reviews and Endorsements:
Those who are interested in how Buddhist principles and the science of compassion and power overlap—or what a spiritual leader might contribute to scientific thinking—will find it an entertaining read. The book provides at least some idea of how we might find a way to balance power and care, for the sake of humanity.
At a time when humanity is rethinking the very nature of our being, this book is a powerful reminder of an age-old truth—that our most important quality is our innate ability to empathize with and show compassion to our fellow human beings and fellow creatures that cohabit this small oasis in the universe.
Jeremy Rifkin, Author of The Empathic Civilization
About the Editors:
Tania Singer is Director of the Department of Social Science at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.
Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk, trained as a molecular biologist before moving to Nepal to study Buddhism. He is the author of The Monk and the Philosopher (with his father, Jean-François Revel);The Quantum and the Lotus (with Trinh Thuan); Happiness; The Art of Meditation; Altruism: The Power of Compassion; A Plea for the Animals; and Beyond the Self: Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience (with Wolf Singer). He has published several books of photography, including Motionless Journey and Tibet: An Inner Journey, and is the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama.
Kate Karius serves to make the world a healthier, more beautiful place by supporting luminaries and mission-driven organizations in bringing their messages out into the world.