A Call for Revolution - Book Review

In our current climate crises, created by decades of misguided leadership in countries all over the planet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives us this small but powerful book, making his a rebel call to 21rst century youth, offered with the help of the gifted and heroic Sofia Stril-Rever; it is startling, inspiring, and very welcome, in harmony with the oracular mission of the great Greta Thunberg! He begins, "Young people of today - I BELIEVE IN YOU." He continues: "My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear young friends. You, the youth of today, are the generation born at the beginning of the third millennium. Our century is not yet twenty years old; it is still young, like you. The world is ageing at the same pace as you, and it will be what you make of it."

Again, he reaches out across the generations, very personally and movingly: “At eighty-two, I am ready to say my goodbyes. According to my age, I am a man of the twentieth century, but my yearning for peace, so deeply rooted in me, makes me feel that I belong more to the future of the world, and to the younger generation. In that sense, you and I are the same age, the age of renewal. The end of my life and the first part of yours are at a crossroads. The point where our paths join is like that brief moment when night and dawn meet in the sky. It is no longer night, but it is not yet daybreak. A new day is being born...

From my perspective of having spent my life observing the world, I beg you to pay heed when I say that if your generation sinks into violence, you will see the death throes of humanity. The twenty-first century will be the century of peace, or humanity will cease to be… Then he makes the call: "I call on all young people from all over the world to be the first generation on an earth that declares itself committed to peace and the good of all humankind. Build a global citizenry…

He goes on to acknowledge and also reject the violent revolutions of the last centuries: “The French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution and the Cultural Revolution all led to violent bloodbaths, wanton destruction and extreme terror.” He calls for a new kind, such as the velvet revolution of the eighties in Eastern Europe: "The revolutions that took place in the last part of the twentieth century were different from those earlier revolutions because they were pacifist in nature. Young people were peaceful revolutionaries. They are the inspiration behind my call to you to confront the challenges of our era by rising up and embarking upon a revolution that has no precedent in human history." Then, he names the revolution he prays for: "When I call on you to bring on the Revolution of Compassion, I am calling for the mother of all uprisings to begin."

He goes on to connect the Compassion Revolution with his own “resolute” feminism: “I HAVE A DREAM: WOMEN WILL BECOME NATIONAL LEADERS! I call on the next generation of young women to be the mothers of the Revolution of Compassion that this century so desperately needs. You have a special role to play in creating a better world... Young women of the millennium: I am calling on you to take your place at the vanguard of the mother of all revolutions.”.. He carefully dissociates his call for the compassion revolution from Buddhism, or any religion: “It is possible to live without religion, but can one live without love and compassion? The answer is no. As science has proved, the need for compassion is a fundamental biological human imperative.” …

He dos not fail to give a hint of how to cultivate ever greater capabilities as compassion revolutionaries: “If you watch yourself, you will notice a five-level sequence in your compassionate response. Level one is cognitive: you recognize the suffering of others; level two is emotional: you are concerned about the suffering; level three is intentional: there is a desire to relieve it; level four, you focus your attention on the suffering of others; level five is behavioral, as you take concrete action to alleviate suffering. Identifying these five phases is the first part of the process of practicing systematic compassion. Focus on becoming elite athletes of compassion.”

Finally, he expands the call without hesitation: “It is only through mutual support and cooperation that you will be able to contain disasters that are caused by economic and social injustice and are fueled by greed, selfishness and other negative states of mind. If you shift your consciousness towards greater benevolence and responsibility, you will find real solutions. The earth is giving you clear signs of the sweeping consequences of unconscious human behavior. For the first time in history, the future of humanity depends on the upcoming generation: yours. You are responsible for the well-being of billions of humans and all manner of living species sharing the adventure of life on earth. It is up to you to protect natural resources and guard over air, water, oceans, forests, fauna and flora. To do so, it is essential that you realize your potential for love and compassion in order to care for the earth. Learn to love it through sharing it, rather than striving to possess it, and thereby destroying it.

No doubt, it will take another twenty or thirty years for the Revolution of Compassion to generate the necessary changes in human behavior. But after that change comes about, you will have the joy of witnessing the emergence of a compassionate and accountable humanity. This is the new world that you will bequeath to your children and to your children’s children. They will grow up in a united human family, aware of being one body, one consciousness.

Guard your youthful enthusiasm and optimism as you move towards a fairer and happier tomorrow.”

14th Dalai Lama Review of his new book - https://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Paperback-Dalai-Sofia-Stril-Rever/dp/1846045894/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1578579087&sr=1-1