Apr 17, 2011
I remember that “wow” moment when I first read Thich Nhat Hanh’s now-classic The Miracle of Mindfulness, in which he outlines, very simply and with a sense of authenticity, powerful and effective methods of bringing mindfulness practice into daily life, such as washing the dishes as if they were sacred objects, and eating mindfully.
That “wow,” was uttered repeatedly, in with an even greater degree or reverence and appreciation, while I was reading How to Train a Wild Elephant, which is a worthy successor to Thich Nhat Hanh’s earlier work, taking the teaching of mindfulness practice to a new level.
I had heard of Jan Chozen Bays, mainly in the context of …
Mar 31, 2011
When I began reading mainstream Buddhist writings and familiarized myself with the prominent Buddhist teachers in the United States, I regularly bought Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, Turning Wheel, and eventually Buddhadharma. In 2004 the first of the yearly Best Buddhist Writing collection came out and I read it cover to cover. At that point I was simply grateful for the resource, and I didn’t even mind rereading the articles I had already seen in the magazines. Besides, the anthology included many book excerpts that inspired me to run out to my local bookstore.
Title: The Best Buddhist Writing 2010
Author: Melvin McCloud (Ed.)
Mar 30, 2011
Although Daniel Goleman’s breakthrough book was the classic Emotional Intelligence, it is his Destructive Emotions that has most impressed me. Destructive Emotions provides the edited highlights of one of the Dalai Lama’s periodic interdisciplinary conferences, and it was the first book to reveal to me the serious scientific work that was being done investigating how the the meditating mind works.
Destructive Emotions kicks off by describing an extraordinary study conducted on a western-born Tibetan monk, who agreed to meditate while having his brain’s functioning studied by functional MRI and EEG. These studies revealed the the monk had developed
Mar 11, 2011
Ajahn Sumano is a Chicagoan who worked in the corporate world before becoming a Buddhist monk and living in a cave in Thailand for 15 years, intensively practicing meditation. You’d therefore expect him to have a deep understanding of meditation, and The Brightened Mind suggests he has.
Unfortunately, just as Sumano had to go through his corporate phase before he hit his meditative years, so do we. Almost the whole first half of the book has a “marketing” feel to, it where you’re constantly told about the benefits meditation will bring, without any meditation actually being taught.
Title: The Brightened Mind
Author: Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu
Publisher: Quest Books
Feb 26, 2011
‘Inner spaciousness is always there, with its clarity, its love, and its innate goodness,’ says Sally Kempton in her new book. Our task is learn how to connect with it, and in Meditation for the Love of It, which has garnered rave reviews from such spiritual luminaries as Lama Surya Das, Kempton sets out to show us how love and enjoyment should be at the heart of our experience.
A shame then that although the book contains much of value, it’s hard to love it, and at times, hard even to enjoy it.
Parts are written with sensitivity, imagination and a sense of who the reader might be. Kempton offers an excellent …
Feb 06, 2011
Woody Allen once joked that 95% of the work is in turning-up. This book is about that 95% and what stops us from ‘turning up’ as writers — things like feeling we don’t have enough time, or isolation.
This is well and good, and Laraine Herring is an accomplished writer, who’s particularly adept at personal anecdotes designed to lift our spirits and keep us focused on our task. However, after a few hundred pages, what is meant to be inspiring becomes (for me at least) a little wearying. The essential message seems to be that every problem can be solved if you just make enough effort. She tells us over and over things …
Jan 23, 2011
The transformation of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons from the recreational drug-using, model-chasing manager of seminal 1980s rap artists Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Will Smith into a serene 21st-century prophet of veganism and meditation may be surreal, but it’s also quite real.
Even in his dark days of excess, Simmons had a lot of light around him. As 1990s entrepreneurs like Suge Knight made the rap business virtually synonymous with invective and violence, Simmons stood above them as a relative paragon of virtue, achieving unmatched success with humor and hustle rather than brutality. As he matured and embraced his holistic lifestyle, Simmons became “Uncle Rush,” …
Dec 28, 2010
On New Year’s Day, many of us will resolve to lose weight. But before we finalise our weight loss plans, writer Mandy Sutter recommends taking a look at Thich Nhat Hanh’s interesting new book, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life.
For millions of us, overweight is a seemingly intractable problem. We start diets and exercise programmes with good intentions, and may succeed in losing weight. But our new, low weight is hard to sustain and the pounds creep back on, sometimes gradually, sometimes indecently quickly.
According to Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr Lilian Cheung, authors of Savor, our difficulties aren’t entirely of our own making. The ‘obesigenic society’ we live in makes …
Dec 11, 2010
There are pitfalls in listening to mindfulness tapes in the car. Once I was talking to a woman at a workshop I was leading in Spokane, and she related that she’d once been so engrossed in a mindfulness tape by Thich Nhat Hanh that she’d rear-ended a truck. It’s for that sort of reason that I’ve never acted on any of the suggestions various people have made over the years that I should record a CD about mindful driving.
Michele McDonald, however, is made of braver stuff, and with both hands firmly (but gently) on the wheel she set off to record guided meditations that help …
Nov 30, 2010
Sharon Salzberg has an excellent reputation for creating wonderful dharma books, but when I first saw the title, The Force of Kindness, I thought the subject matter was a little… soft. How much can be said about kindness?
Then, too, the book itself is diminutive in size — a standard Sounds True publication of less than a hundred pages, with a guided meditation CD included.
But that was exactly what Sharon addressed — the incorrect impression that kindness itself …