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Dalai Lama's Latest Book Spawns Free Audiobook Edition Read By Martin Sheen (VIDEO)

First Posted: 12/06/11 12:01 AM ET Updated: 12/06/11 10:10 AM ET

The actor Martin Sheen (real name: Ramón Antonio Gerard Estévez) has played a President of the U.S., King Arthur and the father of a super hero. Yet he still felt inadequate when facing his latest role: being the voice of a real-life enlightened spiritual being.

He was selected to read the audio edition of the latest book by Dalai Lama, "Beyond Religion". According to Sheen, "my first inclination was, 'nobody can be that voice.'"

Yet eventually, he accepted the challenge from audible.com of reading the audio version of the book, which is available to download for free until December 20th via Audible's website.

The book is perhaps a surprising call for humanity to move beyond religion in order to improve our lives. "What we need today," the Lama writes, "is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics."

You can read an excerpt from the book here, and watch the short video above to learn just how Sheen reacted to being asked to perform the reading, what word he found the Lama kept using in his writing, and how the book is about much more than questions of religion and ethics.

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Filed by Andrew Losowsky  |