"Loving Kindness is my religion."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Karma & Happiness:
A Tibetan Odyssey in Ethics,
Spirituality, & Healing
Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
American Publisher: https://rowman.com/ISBN/978-1-57749-105-7
Western culture and healthcare often view ethics, spirituality, and healing as separate entities. But in Tibetan Buddhism, the three are inextricably linked: ethical behavior leads to spiritual growth, and our spiritual strength can heal us from the emotional and physical wounds we incur in life. In this book, a nurse ethicist uses the story of her journey to Tibet as a framework for showing how we can apply this karmic principle in our daily lives. She uses modern Tibet 's relationship with China as a vehicle for examining both societal and personal problems that confront us on a daily basis. Karma and Happiness provides a model for integrating diverse wisdom traditions into our personal spirituality, allowing us to find meaning in life, to live ethically, and to transform life's challenges into healing experiences.
From His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"Readers who are interested in the relationship between ethical values and the health of individuals and society will find much here to inspire them."
Little Nun in Tibet
From Karma and Happiness
Back in the courtyard, I noticed a tiny, elderly nun wearing a maroon robe, sweater, and hat, with prayer beads around her left wrist. I smiled at her, and she walked over to me. She radiated such compassion that I felt chastened, cared for, and exhilarated all at the same time. My attachments, resentments, fears, delusions, and sadness melted away to reveal my buddha nature. No longer did I need to defend my ego, for I didn’t have an ego. Feelings of goodwill rolled over me. I could afford to forgive myself, my family, and everyone else; I was connected with all sentient beings everywhere. It all seemed so simple, this interconnectedness of life. We were all blessed -- even oppressive, autocratic government officials. I felt grateful and joyful.
Instead of being weakened by suffering, this little nun stood tall and strong like a mountain. Realizing that my life had been too self-indulgent and unfocused, I wanted to shout out that, from now on, I would use each day well and grow into a mountain, like her. But words would ruin “my intuitive grasp of first principles,” as Aristotle might have said. As I stood silently in the nun’s healing presence, I relaxed deeply and my thoughts slowed. My mind became still. I felt serene.
Karma spoke to the nun. “She’s seventy-two years old,” he said to me. “She became a nun at the age of twelve. When the Chinese took over, her life was in danger, so she left the nunnery and went to live with her family. She returned here as soon as it was safe again, an she has lived here ever since”
“Please tell her I can feel her faith, her serenity, and her strength,” I said in a husky voice, wanting to fall at her feet. “Let her know how deeply moved I feel by her. And thank her.”
I reached out to shake her hand. She pressed it between both her hands. I bowed to her, and she bowed to me. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I was sure that if I could just stay in her presence for a while, I’d figure out why I was crying, and my remaining sadness would wash away.
From Publishers Weekly
If storytelling is at the heart of human learning, then Cameron (Hello, I'm God and I'm Here to Help You) has opened a softly lit doorway to a greater understanding of the ethical complexities in the struggle between Tibet and China . Cameron is a Jew who converted from Christianity, and in her quest for a more complete spiritual and ethical framework she found rich, compatible resonances in yoga, the twelve-step program, bioethics and, lastly, Buddhism. A Ph.D. and R.N with a broad yen for wisdom stored across traditions, she and her beloved husband Mike have an apparently insatiable quest for philosophy that guides ethical behavior. This book describes the chapter in their lives wherein they doggedly pursued a just comprehension of the centuries-old relationship between the "neighboring" countries of Tibet and China , a conflict brought to the world's attention by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The gifts of this book are several. The guileless story of their travels, especially in Tibet , is vivid and engaging, engendering empathy a "must read" for anyone contemplating the trip. The thrust and quality of their search to understand the perspective of both nations is a forgotten art. Although Cameron frames the work as an ethical quest, which it is, her greatest gift is a historical and cultural overview of what has transpired between Tibet and China . This should be required reading, especially for American Buddhists.
From the St. Paul Pioneer Press
Meditations on health based on Tibetan values, 'Karma' holds words of wisdom for all people. Part travelogue, part journal, part historical overview, "Karma" describes how principles of Tibetan medicine can be helpful for all people, regardless of their religious persuasion.
From Nimble Spirit: The Literary Spirituality Review
Miriam Cameron’s Karma and Happiness is many things. It is a memoir of her own efforts to live a good life. It is a primer on ethics and spiritual concepts such as mindfulness, impermanence, and compassion. It is an introduction to the situation of Tibet , and it is a travelogue of a demanding journey to Tibet . And by the end of the book, Cameron has succeeded in making the case that while East is East and West is West, the twain can and should meet, speak, and share what each has to offer for the betterment of the entire world.
Karma and Happiness has many values…As an example of the value and even necessity of intelligent syncretism if a pluralistic world is to have any chance of being a peaceful world, the book is unlike any other I have read. And Cameron’s chapter on the Dalai Lama’s teaching on compassion is in itself practically worth the price of admission. The discipline of compassion transcends theologies and doctrines and dogmas, and apologists within any tradition could benefit by exposure to this teaching. Karma and Happiness gives a taste of the Tibetan ideal of compassion, in theory and in practice, leaving the distinct impression that the health of the individual and the world will be much improved by attention to this challenging and powerful discipline.
Miriam E. Cameron's work in "Karma and Happiness" is not only a direct result of her journey to Tibet , it is a summary of how to conduct our lives all while knowing we are going to die. This book will interest readers who have an interest in the relationship between the health of individuals and their ethical values. Can spiritual growth lead to emotional and physical healing?
Throughout her life, Miriam has found that no single wisdom tradition meets everyone's needs and that there is a universal desire to be happy. Good choices lead to a happier, healthier life and what goes around, comes around (karma). In this book, Miriam explores Tibet and also takes a journey into the internal world of our own happiness and suffering. If you have any interest in Tibet or in Tibetan Buddhism this is an essential book. I have rarely found Buddhism explained quite so succinctly and illustrated quite so creatively. This is a journey into ethics, spirituality and healing with an added dose of humor. Miriam's writing is vivid and her creativity paints vivid recollections of a spiritual journey that becomes a test of physical endurance. Throughout the book I could visualize the journey like a movie.
If you are looking for a collection of ideas to promote inner peace and settle outer conflicts, you will love this book. After reading this book once, I realized I wanted to read it again because it is a highly interesting story and there are so many concepts I'd love to apply to my own life.