Mar 28, 2014
Jean Erlbaum’s Sit With Less Pain is subtitled “Gentle Yoga for Meditators and Everyone Else.”
As most meditators know, finding a comfortable way to sit in meditation for long periods of time can be challenging. We can end up futzing around with our equipment, trying out different chairs, benches, and cushions, and constantly adjusting the height and tilt of our seat, and still find that we end up with sore shoulders, or a sore neck, or an aching back. Often the problem is that we’re expecting a body that lacks flexibility to be still for long periods.
Sit With Less Pain addresses that problem, offering us exercises to bring more flexibility to the …
Mar 26, 2014
These rather gorgeous images are from an eighteenth-century book consisting of 36 ink drawings showing precise iconometric guidelines for depicting the Buddha and other figures. I stumbled across it today on a site called The Public Domain Review, which draws attention to non-copyright media of all sorts that are available for general use.
As the site points out, “The concept of the ‘ideal image’ of the Buddha emerged during the Golden Age of Gupta rule, from the 4th to 6th century. As well as the proportions, other aspects of the depiction – such as number of teeth, color of eyes, direction of hairs – became very important.”
It’s worth checking out the …
Nov 27, 2013
Shhhhh!! Let’s be very quiet while we review author Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska’s The Christmas Quiet Book.
Are you sitting comfortably? Have you silenced all the alarms on your computer and phone? Have you closed all other windows or switched your browser to full screen mode? Have you taken three full breaths, closed your eyes, and spent a few minutes quietly listening to the world around you? No? OK, go do that now…
I adore Ms. Underwood’s books. So does my six-year-old daughter and, to a lesser extent, …
Sep 20, 2013
I wanted to let you know about a new book by Rick Hanson that I think you’ll like. Rick, a neuropsychologist and bestselling author, is a contributor to this blog, and his teaching has had a profound influence on my understanding of what’s actually going on when we meditate.
I haven’t read the book yet (I hope to do so soon), so this isn’t a review. It’s just a heads-up that a brilliant author who is always worth reading has a new book coming out. I’m clearing my reading schedule to make sure that I have time to read my review copy when it arrives.
The book’s called Hardwiring Happiness: The …
Sep 05, 2013
In the late 1970′s, between finishing high school and going to university, I opened a small book of ancient verses, and my life changed forever.
I’d been interested in Buddhism for years, but my local library only had one book on the subject — a rather dated “Teach Yourself” guide to Zen Buddhism. I’d read the book, and found it both intriguing and baffling, but struggled to get a sense of what difference Buddhism would make to my life. And I was looking for something life-changing.
One early autumn day I accompanied my parents on a shopping trip to the nearest large town, which was the possessor of that rare and precious thing — …
Sep 03, 2013
Title: No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully
Author: Sara Marlowe, Philip Pascuzzo (illus.)
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Available from: Wisdom Publications, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com.
No Ordinary Apple is a variation on the famous “raisin exercise” that’s so popular in meditation classes. (If you’re not familiar with the raisin exercise it’s where we mindfully eat a single raisin, thoroughly exploring it with our senses.) But No Ordinary Apple is, of course, a children’s book — and a very welcome addition to the growing body of meditation resources for children.
The fruit is question is an apple rather than a raisin and the mindful eater of this apple is a young …
Aug 27, 2013
Brad Warner is an unconventional American Zen teacher, who seems sincerely to believe that he has found God, that God should be — or even is — an intrinsic part of Buddhist practice and realization, that others would benefit if they found God too, and who thinks that that believing in God might actually help us solve the world’s problems. He outlines all this in his latest book, There Is No God And He Is Always With You, in which he offers “straight talk about why this ‘godless religion’ [Zen Buddhism] has a lot to say about God.”
Some of the above will be as confounding for you as it was for me. …
Jul 18, 2013
Recently I was interviewed by Hannah Atkinson of Windhorse Publications in the UK. I’m one of their authors, but she was curious to know more about the guided meditation CDs and MP3s that I’ve published through Wildmind.
Here’s the start of our conversation:
You have produced a large number of guided meditation CDs and you also run a huge online meditation teaching resource, Wildmind. What is the ethos behind your emphasis on audio and online meditation teaching and why do you think it is so important?
Well, it’s something I stumbled into really about 13 years ago when I was doing my Masters degree at the University of Montana. I was wondering about how …
Jun 15, 2013
“The greatest gift you can ever give another is to see what is best and unique about them.”
This morning I stumbled downstairs, bleary-eyed, having got home late after teaching a class the night before. My six-year-old daughter gave me a running hug and a huge smile. She’s naturally affectionate, but I suspect there was an ulterior motive, because a few seconds later she came running back to me with Mishan’s Garden in her hands, asking that I read it to her. And so, I did.
Mishan is the titular heroine, a young girl who lives in The Village Above the White Clouds, where her father is the innkeeper. Misha is a special girl, …
Jun 12, 2013
Jonathan Haidt, who studies morality and emotion, at the NYU-Stern School of Business, discusses the Buddhist classic, The Dhammapada, on Five Books:
The Dhammapada is one of the greatest psychological works ever written, and certainly one of the greatest before 1900. It is masterful in its understanding of the nature of consciousness, and in particular the way we are always striving and never satisfied. You can turn to it – and people have turned to it throughout the ages – at times of trouble, at times of disappointment, at times of loss, and it takes you out of