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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Buddha is Still Teaching: Contemporary Buddhist Wisdom: A Book Review.

Buddhism appeals to many of us because we are simply exhausted from the pace, chaos and suffering that too often is the price of living in a modern world. Unfortunately we aren't always able to slow down enough to meditate daily and/or savor a in-depth tome on the Dharma. Fret, not!!

The contemporary, Buddhist greats have thrown us a life-line yet again. Once again, this time, we are in-depted to Jack Kornfield. He has compiled short, easy to digest, essays and snippets of wisdom from today's great, Buddhist teachers; perfect for a lunch break that is too short for deep reading but long enough for a quick boost of inspiration. Titled, "The Buddha is Still Teaching: Contemporary Buddhist Wisdom" published by Shambhala Publications.

Case in point, a short paragraph from Tara Branch's book, "Radical Acceptance that is listed in the book:

When we are free of mental concepts and our senses are awake, the sounds, smells, images, and vibrations we experience connect us with all life everywhere. It is not my pain, it is the earth's pain. It is not my aliveness but simply life -- unfolding and intense, mysterious and beautiful. By meeting and changing dance of sensation with Radical Acceptance, we discover our intrinsic belonging to this world. We are "no thing" -- not limited to any passing experience -- and "everything," belonging to the whole.
James: I must tell you that this short, but profoundly insightful paragraph brought as much relief and motivation to my current situation as entire books I've read recently. Especially the way in which she explained how we don't have to suffer alone. We are all in this together and therefore even in our darkest moments, all alone, there is someone out there going through the same thing. And that, I think, makes the pain a little less powerful because the reality is that there are countless people who are ready and willing to help ease that suffering a bit. Just because we don't know who they might be right now doesn't mean that we should give up and assume we are completely alone and always will be.

You never know who you'll meet. Or, who is just a blog comment or email away from helping you see a way out of your suffering. I know it seems daunting but as long as there are people who believe in compassion; there will always be a friend out there. Just knowing they exist is sometimes enough to keep you sane because it's so easy to feel alone or like you are the only one in your life who feels the way you do. Don't give up -- especially in today's digital age. Kind-hearted and compassionate people are just a finger tip away.

That is why books like, "The Buddha is Still Teaching" are so valuable in a world that can so quickly get overwhelming and isolating. I highly recommend it -- especially if you are looking for a light read. Pick it up at Shambhala.

~Peace to all beings~

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Virginia said...

Thank you for the book review! I really liked that paragraph.

I think so much of our isolation and suffering right now is due to our society's emphasis on individuality, as opposed to an emphasis on shared experiences and similarities.

Anyway. I'll definitely check out this book. Thank you again!

རྣམ་པར་སྣང་མཛད said...

"The necessary and welcome economic growth within our Sangha, in the form of business operations and commercial and domestic investments, has brought along as a by—product an increasing frequency of disagreements and disputes. There is a need for our society to provide resources for the sane, nonagressive resolution of such conflicts in keeping with the principles of Dharma and the Great Eastern Sun. Accordingly I have decided to institute and appoint the Upaya Council. The function of the Upaya Council shall be to mediate and/or arbitrate commercial and domestic disputes among members of the Vajradhatu community, as individuals, groups, or businesses. It shall be the initial task of the Upaya Council to propose to me and my Privy Council a set of guidelines under which it shall operate. There shall be no internal hierarchy within the Upaya Council and each member shall have an equal voice; the findings of the Council shall be arrived at by unanimous consent."

~ Vajracarya the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Spring, 1979.

Upaya Council

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