The Book of JOY: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World ©2016
His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu with Douglas Abrams
published by Avery

Reading The Book of JOY is both inspirational and rewarding.  The book offers an experience of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu as they share their learnings, their wisdom, and their laughter befitting close friends who admire and enjoy one another.  There is an intimacy that captivates and that brings a smile to the reader.

This book is a treasure.  These two great wisdom figures who have suffered much and who would object to being called “great” share their teachings on JOY.  They tell us that there is no joy without suffering and that compassion for others is a pillar of joy.  Joy is a by-product, a gift, as we connect and care for one another.  Listening to and learning from these two holy men who are not of each other’s race, each other’s church, each other’s country or culture filled me with awe and wonder at their common spiritual discipline, their inclusivity and lack of defense, and their laughter. It was a privilege to spend time with them.

The book invites the reader to learn the true nature of joy, the obstacles to joy, and the eight pillars of joy.  Four pillars are of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance.  Four pillars are of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity.  At the end of the book, there are “joy practices” and “a readers guide”.  Those pages are valuable in their own right but I suspect that these practices are so much richer after spending 305 pages teasing, laughing, dancing, praying, and loving with His Holiness and the Archbishop.

It is an easy book to read but not an easy book to forget.  The lessons, the life-focus, the wisdom of these two men will linger and hopefully lead me as the reader into a spiritual practice of prayer that leads to growth, deeper compassion, and greater responsibility for others and for our world.


Karen Rossman, OP