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The Little Book of Encouragement from his holiness the Dalai Lama, edited by Renuka Singh

The Little Book of Encouragement from his holiness the Dalai Lama (Penguin Viking), edited by Renuka Singh almost feels like the Dalai Lama’s New Year’s gift to the world. The foreword to the book, written on 1st January, 2021, has words conveyed in midst of a great crisis. With the world reeling under the impact of a pandemic, not yet fully gone, and nations struggling to return to normalcy, a soothing emotional balm is much welcome. And this book brings just that. 

It is perhaps at the right time that The Little Book of Encouragement comes as manna, to soothe and encourage readers to introspect and look inwards. The Dalai Lama has always spoken about how human beings are interdependent and how humanity must be our foremost concern. It is ironical that a pandemic has hurled the world together under a common umbrella of problems. 

The Little Book of Encouragement brings forth a collection of quotations from talks given by his holiness. Renuka Singh has painstakingly chosen quotes that centre around the overarching themes that speak about modern concerns. Firstly, the theme of humanity and fostering a sense of human community. The quotes touch upon different aspects of this topic: How compassion can benefit all, the importance of humanity, the urgent need to foster a spirit of global cooperation and so on. There are quotes on global warming. 

Then of course, the theme of the pandemic comes across strongly. The lines that talk about the pandemic are probably most relevant right now and give a sense of perspective to the reader. Consequently, the reader will be able to immediately apply and look at the nuances of these words in the context of today’s times. In addition, the Dalai Lama’s thoughts about education, politics and environmental concerns also find an immediate resonance.

The air we breathe, the water

we drink, the forests and

oceans that sustain millions

of different life forms, and

the climate that governs our

weather systems—all transcend

national boundaries. It is a

sobering thought that the air

we breathe contains more

carbon dioxide than at any

time for the past 6,50,000

years. No country, no matter

how rich and powerful, or poor

and weak can afford to ignore

global warming.

These times have been tough for everyone, albeit in different degrees. There will be moments when you need a kind word or two. There could be times when you need the assurance that somebody understands your predicament. Maybe, there is a need for you to be jolted out of a comfort zone and look at pressing concerns that we all face. There are occasions when you need encouragement. But, most of all, in times like these, when you need hope….this is the book you must turn to. 

I feel that there is some

connection between our mental

state and self-confidence, and

the virus. Maybe, fear gives

the virus an opportunity to

multiply. Otherwise, if the

positive particles of the body

are stronger, one may not

succumb to it. Here, meditation

provides an additional benefit

of strengthening one’s mental


So, you may read it all together at once. Some of us may want to savour it bit by bit. Others may read it chronologically. Or, just open to a page and let the message soak in. In whatever manner you choose to, this book will be a source of hope, inspiration, and as its name suggests, encouragement to you in these troubled times! 

And, just as a parting shot, its best to conclude in the words of the Dalai Lama himself, “If you feel anything I have said is useful, please think more about it. Thus, discuss it with your friends and, if you can, put it into practice in day to day life,”. Maybe that would be the best ode to The Little Book of Encouragement! 

Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.