Practicing compassion

Nicholas Vreeland, the director of the Tibet Center in New York, reads from the Dalai Lama's book "An Open Heart," and Richard Gere reads his afterword.

Published October 19, 2001 8:01AM (EDT)

The challenge of compassion -- keeping an open heart in dealing with others -- is wrestled with in all spiritual traditions.

The Dalai Lama's teachings on this subject, drawn from his visit to America in 1999, form the basis of his book "An Open Heart."

It is a clear and simple introduction to the core of Buddhism, by one of its greatest teachers. The book lays out a course of meditations, from the simplest to the most challenging, that encourages anyone of any faith to change their minds and open their hearts.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is the exiled leader of Tibet. Born in northeastern Tibet, he was recognized at the age of 2 as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. After the suppression of the Tibetan national uprising in 1959, he escaped to India where he was given political asylum.

Nicholas Vreeland, the editor of the book, is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist monk. He is fluent in Tibetan and presently acts as the director of the Tibet Center in New York.

Actor Richard Gere contributed the afterword to "An Open Heart."

Listen to an excerpt from "An Open Heart" [Time Warner Audio] read by Nicholas Vreeman, and to Richard Gere's afterword.

By Salon Staff

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