Check out my review of this book on the Happiness Hints You Tube Chanel. And while you're there, don't forget to subscribe to the Happiness Hints Channel. https://youtu.be/W9EfYcfvEgw … [Read more...]
Review: A Buddhist Grief Observed.
This is a raw and honest book about a Buddhist practitioner with a strong intellectual understanding of the Buddhist teachings reflecting on them as he grieves for his wife. He asks himself just how are some of these teachings supposed to help, because when in the grip of the intense pain of losing a loved one, the answer to that question is not always obvious. He particularly looks at the teachings on karma and how the common oversimplifications of these teachings can be not at all helpful to someone in pain. It is said that only an enlightened being is capable of fully understanding the workings of karma and this book gives us some idea of why this is so. Is also warns us away from using teachings that we have limited understanding of to form platitudes that, rather than help a suffering person, are really only a way of saving us from having to fully engage with an uncomfortable situation. To truly be with another in their grief requires something much more genuine. When reading … [Read more...]
Review: A book to dip into before bed – ‘Chan Heart, Chan Mind: meditation on serenity and growth’
‘Chan Heart, Chan Mind: meditation on serenity and growth’ by Master Guojun (Author) and Kenneth Wapner (Editor) is partially autobiographical and mostly words of wisdom on which to reflect. It does not contain meditation instructions, nor does it give a cohesive introduction to or comprehensive overview of Chinese Buddhism. Rather it is snippets from various talks given by Master Goujin, and as such it gives you a good sense of the warmth and directness of his character. I loved the stories from his life, especially the beginning where he describes making ink for his calligraphy master. It made a very engaging beginning to the book and provided a lively learning experience that Master Goujin could then use to teach us. I would have liked more of this approach. Beside it, the admonishments to be this (e.g. calm) or do that (e.g. help others) felt a little lack lustre, not in meaning, but in delivery. I very much appreciated the quality of the English; it was great to have Chinese … [Read more...]
The Symbolism of Diamond Peak: Motivation
Demons kidnap Ariel’s mother. She didn’t know they existed until she saw one drag her mother into a hole in the ground. The shock jolts her from her normal reality. Ariel becomes aware of the power of negative emotions—represented by the demons—to trap us. And so the story begins with the same realisation as individuals taking their first step on the path towards enlightenment. In Buddhism, Mothers represent unconditional love because traditionally they love us regardless of what we do, and so we naturally love them back. We care about them, and we respect them because of everything they have done for us. And because we all have had many lives, everyone has, at some time or other, been our beloved mother. Thinking that everyone has been our mother makes it is easier for us to consider all beings with love, to care about them and want to keep them from suffering, to rejoice when they are happy and to see everyone as equal. Ariel’s compassion arises naturally when her mother is … [Read more...]
Symbolism in literature: The Symbolism of the Diamond Peak Series
A mountain peak is something that climbers strive to attain, and when they make it to the top, the view is breathtaking. They climb in order to see the view, and on the way, they pit themselves against the elements and face physical and mental hardships, so when they achieve their goal, their sense of satisfaction and relief is huge. Sogyal Rinpoche in his book, ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying,’ (p55) tells the story of the thick headed disciple who, even after many teachings on meditation, did not experience the true nature of his mind—the purpose of meditation. His teacher told him to take a bag of barley and, without stopping, climb to the top of a mountain. The disciple trusted his teacher, so he took the heavy bag and climbed. As he walked, the bag seemed to get heavier but, following his teacher’s instructions, he didn’t stop. He kept going, and finally, after a long time, he reached the top and dropped the bag. As Sogyal Rinpoche tells it: “He slumped to the ground, … [Read more...]
An excellent book on healthy student disciple relationships: ‘A Search for Meaning’ by Sherry Tara Marshall
I first read Sherry Tara Marshall's book A Search for Meaning. Connecting with Buddhist Teachers' when Simon and Schuster published it about 10 years ago. I found it inspiring then and I found it just as inspiring and perhaps even more relevant now because devotion is an important and often misunderstood part of Tibetan Buddhism. This book tells the stories of how several students came to Tibetan Buddhism and what devotion means to them. Their stories are simple straight forward accounts of how meeting a master changed their lives. This book makes it clear that devotion as it is understood in Tibetan Buddhism is not blind obedience but an intelligent respect for and openness towards the teacher. For these students, it's simply that their lives improved after meeting the teacher and trying out his teachings. There is nothing wishy-washy about these students, they are real, intelligent people with intriguing stories to tell. Ms Marshall seems to have a talent for drawing their stories … [Read more...]
Don’t live your life as if you were never going to die.
Everyone dies. We all know it, but most of us live our lives as if we were going to live forever. What's wrong with that? You might ask. Nothing, except that you might waste your life and, for sure, you'll miss a great deal of the beauty and joy that comes from truly appreciating life. Contemplating on death is an important part of the Buddhist spiritual path. You might think that living in awareness of the fact that you could die at any moment would be a miserable mind state, but in fact, the opposite is true. When you're aware of the inevitability of death, you don't take anything, or anyone, for granted. You don't miss the beauty and joy in a single moment, and you don't let sadness and pain get you down because you know it won't last. Contemplating on the fact that you could die at any moment - accidents happen and the people they happen to never thought it I would happen to them either - also helps sort out your priorities. When you ask what will be important at the moment of … [Read more...]
Review: The Second Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks – a murder mystery with a metaphysical touch
Title: The Second Rule Of Ten, A Tenzing Norbu Mystery Author: Gay Hendricks Publisher: Hay House Visions Genre: murder mystery with a metaphysical touch The Second Rule of Ten is my kind of book. It's a great story about a delightful character and has a metaphysical element that gives it extra depth and makes it stand out from the crowd. As a murder mystery, it has all the elements required to make it a good example of the genre. The protagonist is an ex-cop, now a private investigator, and what makes it unusual and adds a slight complication to the story is that he is also an ex-Tibetan monk. As a practicing Buddhist, he evaluates his actions in the light of his Buddhist faith, the essentials of which are to, as much as possible, do no harm, treat others with compassion and check your mind for the source of your troubles. While he searches for the killer of a movie director, we also follow his inner development in relation to his father and his relationship with … [Read more...]