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Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama | [Daniel Goleman, the Dalai Lama]

Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama

Buddhist philosophy tells us that all personal unhappiness and interpersonal conflict lie in the "three poisons": craving, anger, and delusion. With new high-tech devices, scientists can peer inside the brain centers that calm the inner storms of rage and fear. They also can demonstrate that awareness-training strategies such as meditation strengthen emotional stability - and greatly enhance our positive moods.
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Publisher's Summary

Buddhist philosophy tells us that all personal unhappiness and interpersonal conflict lie in the "three poisons": craving, anger, and delusion. It also provides antidotes of astonishing psychological sophistication - which are now being confirmed by modern neuroscience. With new high-tech devices, scientists can peer inside the brain centers that calm the inner storms of rage and fear. They also can demonstrate that awareness-training strategies such as meditation strengthen emotional stability - and greatly enhance our positive moods.

The distinguished panel members report these recent findings and debate an exhilarating range of other topics: What role do destructive emotions play in human evolution? Are they "hardwired" in our bodies? Are they universal, or does culture determine how we feel? How can we nurture the compassion that is also our birthright? We learn how practices that reduce negativity have also been shown to bolster the immune system. Here, too, is an enlightened proposal for a school-based program of social and emotional learning that can help our children increase self-awareness, manage their anger, and become more empathetic.

Throughout, these provocative ideas are brought to life by the play of personalities, by the Dalai Lama's probing questions, and by his surprising sense of humor. Although there are no easy answers, these dialogues, which are part of a series sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute, chart an ultimately hopeful course. They are sure to spark discussion among educators, religious and political leaders, parents - and all people who seek peace for themselves and the world.

©2003 Mind and Life Institute; (P)2003 Audio Renaissance, a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Covering the nature of destructive emotions, the neuroscience of emotion, the scientific study of consciousness and more, this essential volume offers a fascinating account of what can emerge when two profound systems for studying the mind and emotions, Western science and Buddhism, join forces." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (206 )
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3.9 (51 )
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4.0 (51 )
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  •  
    Shannon Durham, NC, USA 06-18-03
    Shannon Durham, NC, USA 06-18-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Right Brain/ Left Brain"

    I can see why science minded people would think this is new-age claptrap and the unscientific would find it so boring and dense. Looking at religious practice as it can be explored by science, or "rethinking" the concepts and descriptions of emotion and behavior as we are taught in the West is not an easy task. Most scientist and most new- agers are not willing to move out of thier comfort zone enough to draw amazing parallels. This book shows the limitations of science and spritual practice alone and how they can inform and improve one another. Both groups (science and new agers) will think me loopy- but to completely ignore a whole realm of human experience because it does not fit with ones dogmatic world view, or to stobbornly insist on only one possible interpretation of the world because it is the one you are accustomed to or comfortable with, is to choose ignorance and dogmatism- either in the sciences or in relgion/sprituality.

    One great quote from the Dalai Lama- when he discovered that a explaination of the world in his Tibetian buddist teachings was incorrrect, he decided that is science proves the text are wrong- it would be buddahism that would change- not science.

    It would not be exageration to say that these conferences will eventually lead to treatments for depression, and anxiety. It will aid the understanding of neurological changes that people can "learn" through meditation techniques. The alternate framework with which tibetian monks view emotion and mental illness is alone worth the time reading this book.

    26 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Springfield, VA, USA 10-26-07
    Brian Springfield, VA, USA 10-26-07 Member Since 2007
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    "An Enticing Sampler"

    Destructive Emotions is an abridged account of a series of presentations and conversations that unfolded over a several day conference between the Dali Lama and several leading scientists in the study of emotions. Scientific perspectives represented included the developmental, cross-cultural, social-psychological, and neuro-biological. The focus is on exploring and fleshing out the possibility for a program that combines the wisdom of Eastern philosophy with the scientific understanding (really in its infancy) of emotional well-being to both build the foundations for emotional well-being and empathy / compassion in childhood and remedy the destructive habits of pathological anger, addiction, delusion, and fear/anxiety in adulthood. If you are angry, addicted, deluded, or anxious don't expect this book to help you directly. It will, however, open your eyes in a very convincing way to the possibility for growth and healing. I have always, if not always actively, been interested in Buddhism and meditation - but did not feel justified in "indulging" in meditative practice when there was "work" to be done (am I alone in this?)...This book is a nice motivating shove off the "fence" - there is solid evidence to suggest that the marriage of meditation and psychology can inform practices that are well "justified" in terms of the time and effort needed to develop them. Particularly memorable was Mark Greenberg's presentation on the "Program for Alternative THinking Strategies" (PATHS) for helping kids develop empathy, conflict resolution skills, anger management skills, and emotional intelligence (I immediately started applying some principles he presented with my kids and will be learning more about the program).

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chade-Meng 02-05-07
    Chade-Meng 02-05-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow"

    It's true that the format of this book reads like a seminar report, but that didn't make the content any less facinating. I felt awed, inspired, excited and humbled. Not a single dull moment in the entire audiobook for me.

    I think this book would appeal very much to those who like HHDL's "Art of Happiness" and Goleman's "Emotional Intelligence" and "Social Intelligence".

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Worthington Bonney Lake, WA United States 01-06-04
    L. Worthington Bonney Lake, WA United States 01-06-04 Member Since 2002
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    "Buddhist practice links to science"

    I thought that this book was great for many reasons, but the most important one being that it lays the foundation for many eastern spiritual practices. It takes the mysticism out of, well, mysticism and backs it with scientific explanations. I have to admit that I used to be skeptical about meditation and other 'new age' practice, but this book sums up the scientific validity of this and more. It also offers insight upon how some people's emotions are destructive and how to counteract that. Although it is not a self-help book, but is presented as one (part of the reason for four stars rather than five, the other reason being that it lays down fact after fact a little too quickly to grasp at times), it still is a valuable tool for understanding the premise of the title.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Diamond Bar, CA, USA 05-09-03
    Mark Diamond Bar, CA, USA 05-09-03
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    "Didn't care for this"

    The summary of this book makes it sound like this is a great self help book. I didn't really get much out of it. I think I was hoping for more insight or wisdom from the Dalai Lama. Instead Goleman seems to monopolize most of the text with findings from this study or that study. Some may like it but just didn't do anything for me.

    21 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stacey 07-08-09
    stacey 07-08-09 Member Since 2013
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    "Destructive Emotions"

    One can tell the ideas discussed in this book are ethically driven. To me that is important, because I do not like feeling I need to fact check a book. This was my first exposure to the Dalai Lama and Buddhist teachings. Learning about it through scientific dialogue definitely gives one a unique perspective. This book has helped me obtain a far greater degree of personal peace. That in return has lead to amazing health benefits. If you are prone to stress, anger, frustration, obsession, or any other "destructive" feeling; this book could vastly change your life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Gritz 07-13-03
    Mike Gritz 07-13-03

    GIS Guy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Impressed, pretty dry"

    This book seemed more like a report. Actually I think it was meant to be a report instead of conveying the meaning behind the word as in other books I've been through that have included the Dalai Lama.

    Because of the report type writing, I felt that this was pretty dry. I felt like this was written by a college student reporting on their field trip than an experienced author. I was hoping to be emerged into the teachings of the Dalai Lama. I went through this after reading "The Art of Happiness" which I though was very good. Was a bit disappointed with this one, but that will not stop me from getting "How to Practice" this month.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 05-22-14
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 05-22-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A great look into emotions"

    Yes, the title of the book is ‘Destructive Emotions’, but it’s also a look at all emotions. Here a panel talks with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan teachers about work they’re doing to help people control their negative emotions. They look at what causes destructive emotions and how different cultures deal with them when they arise. People say that Buddhist monks are not the ideal people to talk to about emotions. They are wrong and this book proves it. It’s a great followup to Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Yeager 06-30-03 Member Since 2002

    Wolf Spirit

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    "Transcript and monotone reader"

    Listening to this book was like listening to a boring professor reading a transcript of a weekend seminar. I wonder how the powers that decide to publish ever let it all slide. The pertenent content is hidden in small snipets that the listener has to wait for while trying not to fall asleep. There is some good information in there somewhere but I found it disappointing. This book would have been much better about an hour long as that is about the lenght of the good stuff.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Indygreg Indianapolis, IN 12-06-05
    Indygreg Indianapolis, IN 12-06-05 Listener Since 1998

    IndyGreg

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    "Just not that good"

    I have to agree with others in that this was like a seminar report - not really adding much insight. I kept hearing topics that I would like to know much more about and it just does not happen. There are literally hours of waste in this IMHO - details covering the coming to agreement of what is what, what word means what, etc. I cannot say I would recommend to many. It does make you want to know more about some Eastern Religion stuff . . . but I was expecting more out of this.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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