Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue With the Dalai Lama, by Daniel Goleman

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Destructive Emotions, Daniel Goleman

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Don’t be put off by the title: this book should really be called “Positive emotions and how to develop them.”

A new book from Buddhist author Daniel Goleman (“Emotional Intelligence”) is always going to be an exciting event. More so in this case because of the extraordinary background out of which the book emerged.

The Dalai Lama, a fan of science since boyhood (he famously enjoys tinkering with watches and has been known to rubberneck when passing electronics stores) annually gathers the world’s eminent minds in order to educate himself about the latest scientific findings and in order to promote cross-cultural dialog. The resulting discussions are like a cross between darshan (the traditional act of sitting at the feet of a spiritual master) and the best Discovery Channel documentary on brain science that you’ve ever seen.

The particular gathering that forms the basis of this book includes some fascinating characters and presents some astonishing scientific findings about the effects — the very positive effects — of meditation and spiritual practice on the human brain.

As the Dalai Lama explains, “With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play in reminding us of our humanity.”

Goleman’s role was both as host of the dialogs and as editor of the highlights. He skillfully presents dialogues between the Dalai Lama and a group of eminent psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers that probe the challenging questions:

Can the worlds of science and philosophy work together to recognize destructive emotions such as hatred, craving, and delusion? If so, can they transform those feelings for the ultimate improvement of humanity?

The Dalai Lama is the big name star of the show, but the strong supporting cast, including psychologist Paul Ekman, philosopher Owen Flanagan, the late Francisco Varela, neuroscientist Richard Davidson, and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard.

This Amazon bestseller is a must-have book.

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