One of today’s most inspiring world leaders was once an ordinary child named Lhamo Thondup. In a small village in Tibet, his mother was his first great teacher of compassion. In everyday moments from his childhood, young readers begin to see that important lessons are all around us, and they, too, can grow to truly understand them.
The first-ever book for children written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is due to be released in March next year. Written by His Holiness and containing illustrations by US-based Vietnamese artist Bao Luu, The Seed of Compassion: Lessons from the Life and Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is aimed at inspiring young readers to accept all humanity with an open heart.
The book is based on events and stories from the Dalai Lama’s own youth, growing up as a boy named Lhamo Thondup in Taktser, a Tibetan village in China’s Qinghai Province. Relating some of the lessons he learned as a child from his mother and while studying as a Buddhist monk, it traces the maturation and development of a mischievous youth into an internationally renowned and respected spiritual leader, explaining that all people have within them the potential—the seed of compassion—to help change the world for the better.
The Seed of Compassion will be available in hardcover and audio formats and as an e-book.
“For the first time ever, His Holiness addresses children directly, sharing important lessons from his own childhood,” said the publisher. (The Bookseller)
Through the new book, aimed at children aged 4–8, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate seeks to encourage young readers to engage in everyday moments and to recognize the important lessons that are all around, helping them to grow spiritually into people of compassion.
“With simple, powerful text, the Dalai Lama shares the universalist teachings of treating one another with compassion, which Bao Luu illustrates beautifully in vibrant color,” said the publisher Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Books.
Namrata Tripathi, vice president of publisher Kokila, another Penguin Books imprint, first proposed the idea for a children’s book to the Dalai Lama in a letter that explained the need for a book that could help young children become the people they are meant to be.
The Seed of Compassion features an “empowering message that tells all kids how they can bring more empathy to the world,” said Tripathi. “This shared experience between His Holiness and young readers is a way for him to offer his belief that building a compassionate world is already within us. This isn’t a matter of religion or spirituality, it’s a practical one, an empowering message that tells all kids how they can bring more empathy to the world.” (Kirkus)
“Having a moment of direct connection with His Holiness [during our first meeting in 2003, had] such an impact on me,” Tripathi explained. “It made me reconsider the power I might have as an individual to create positive change in the world because he believed that I could. That is a feeling I hope all young readers can have through The Seed of Compassion, because of course it is true that everyone can make a positive impact, and somehow that message is rendered so potently in the voice of the Dalai Lama.” (Publisher’s Weekly)
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. He is a prolific author whose previous books include Beyond Religion, The Path to Tranquility, and Violence and Compassion.
“We are so thrilled and honored to be the UK home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s very first picture book,” said Puffin commissioning editor Olivia Edwards. “Through The Seed of Compassion, the Dalai Lama has made his universal message of peace and kindness accessible to all children, offering guidance on how they can help make the world a kinder place, one small act at a time.” (The Bookseller)
The Seed of Compassion offers guidance and encouragement on how we all might bring more kindness to an increasingly confusing world, said the publishers.
In the book, His Holiness writes: “We cannot change the past, but the future we can change. . . . And children already have the tools needed to build a happier world, a better world, a compassionate world.” (Romper)
Born in 1935 to a farming family, he was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama.