About Howard Cutler

Howard Cutler is an American psychiatrist who met the Dalai Lama when he visited Dharamsala, India (site of the Tibetan government in exile) in 1982. This book is based on Cutler's conversations with the Dalai Lama. The text is written by Cutler, and contains extensive quotes from the Dalai Lama. The final text of the book was reviewed by the Dalai Lama's English interpreter, Dr. Thupten Jinha.

On the one hand, we might wish that the Dalai Lama had written his own book, and see Cutler as a screen between us and the Dalai Lama. But Cutler does add some things to the book: (1) He asks the questions that a Westerner would ask. At times they seem like stupid questions, but on the whole Cutler and the Dalai Lama form a Watson/Holmes pair. As in Castaneda's Don Juan books, the narrator is probably not as simple-minded as he sometimes makes himself appear. (2) He summarizes Western scientific research that supports points the Dalai Lama makes. (3) He illustrates the Dalai Lama's teachings by examples from his personal life and his practice as a psychiatrist. (4) He can testify to the Dalai Lama's sincerity, and describe the Dalai Lama's reactions objectively. He can be impressed by the Dalai Lama in a way that would be obnoxious for the Dalai Lama to communicate in his own voice.