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An in-depth photographic study of the ascetic holy men of India - Includes more than 100 striking color photographs of Sadhus, their extreme austerities, and their holy festivals, including the Kumbha Mela - Examines the practices and beliefs of Sadhus from several different sects - Traces the historical and mythological roots of the Sadhus and shows how they have fundamentally shaped Hinduism since remote antiquity Spiritual adventurers, philosophical monks, naked ascetics, or religious transvestites, the Sadhus of India form a vital and unbroken link between the birth of yoga millennia ago and its present-day expression. Numbering in the millions, these mystic holy men are worshipped by the Hindus as representatives of the gods, yet they remain largely unknown in the West because they often live in far-off places, hidden from everyday life. In this full-color study of Sadhus more than 20 years in the making, photographer Dolf Hartsuiker illustrates the Sadhus' world of ancient magical rituals, religious symbols, and ascetic practices. In his photographic quest across India, the author visited many holy places, attended religious festivals including the Kumbha Mela, and encountered and photographed thousands of Sadhus, befriending several as he was drawn into their inner circle. Sharing more than 100 striking color photographs from his travels, he reveals the Sadhus' utmost devotion to their spiritual path through meditation practices, yoga exercises, penance, and austerities--sometimes taken to the extreme of prolonged self-imposed silence, bodily mortification, such as holding an arm above the head for years, or even ritual suicide--as well as their profound involvement with the mundane world as healers and teachers or magicians and sorcerers. It is a path of knowledge and devotion, renunciation and realization, sexual energy and spiritual power, divine intoxication and mystical union. The author examines the different beliefs and behaviors of each Sadhu sect, including the "sky-clad" Naga Babas, and traces their historical and mythological roots to show how they have fundamentally shaped Hinduism since antiquity. Revealing the powerful "otherworldliness" of the Sadhus, the author also exposes the mystical beauty that emanates from those who have chosen the path of asceticism in pursuit of knowledge of the Absolute and liberation from all earthly bonds.
The Indian Buddhist world abounds with goddesses--graceful nature divinities, maternal nurturers, potent healers, mighty protectors, transcendent wisdom figures, cosmic mothers of liberation, and dancing female Buddhas. Despite their importance in Buddhist thought and practice, female deities have received relatively little scholarly attention, and no comprehensive study of the female pantheon has been available. Buddhist Goddesses of India chronicles the histories, legends, and artistic portrayals of nineteen goddesses and several related human figures and texts. Beautifully illustrated and drawing on a sweeping range of material, from devotional poetry and meditation manuals to rituals and artistic images, Shaw reveals the character, powers, and practice traditions of the female divinities in this definitive and essential guide.
"Shinto - A Short History "provides an introductory outline of the
historical development of Shinto from the ancient period of
Japanese history until the present day.
The ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius compared children to tender sprouts. Like sprouts, a child's character, tendencies, virtues and vices are observable, and ever-changing. A practical parenting manual, philosophical reflection on the relationship between parent and child, and necessary response to modern stereotypes of Chinese parenting, Little Sprouts reconsiders cultural definitions of success and explores how we might support and nourish young people. Engaging deeply with foundational Daoist and Confucian thinkers, Erin Cline offers accessible, provocative musings on key parenting issues and helps us grow into better parents of joyful, fulfilled children.
'Manu was seated, when the great seers came up to him: "Please, Lord, tell us the Laws of all the social classes, as well as of those born in between..."' The Law Code of Manu is the most authoritative and the best-known legal text of ancient India. Famous for two thousand years it still generates controversy, with Manu's verses being cited in support of the oppression of women and members of the lower castes. A seminal Hindu text, the Law Code is important for its classic description of so many social institutions that have come to be identified with Indian society. It deals with the relationships between social and ethnic groups, between men and women, the organization of the state and the judicial system, reincarnation, the workings of karma, and all aspects of the law. Patrick Olivelle's lucid translation is the first to be based on his critically edited text, and it incorporates the most recent scholarship on ancient Indian history, law, society, and religion. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
For more than two thousand years, the Heart Sutra has been part of
the daily life of millions of Buddhists. This concise text, so rich
and laden with meaning, concentrates the very heart of Buddhism
into a powerful and evocative teaching on the interdependence of
The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of how Arjuna, the great warrior, is seated in his chariot about to engage in battle, when he sees his own kinsmen and his revered teacher arrayed in battle against him, and feels that he cannot fight. It is then that Krishna, the Cosmic Lord, comes to counsel him. Arjuna represents the human soul seated in the chariot of the body and Krishna is the inner Spirit, the God within, who is there to consel him. Today we see humanity divided against itself and threatened with nuclear war and mutual destruction. No political means are adequate to deal with this problem, and many are driven to despair. It is then that the message of the Gita comes to teach us that it is only when we rise above human schemes and calculations and awake to the presence of the indwelling Spirit that we can hope to find the answer to our need.
An exploration of the use of cannabis as a sacrament in spiritual practice * Provides instructions for using marijuana for the spiritual practices of spontaneous movement, ecstatic dance, sitting meditation, and gazing meditation, allowing you to open the body's energies more fully and get closer to the Divine or your higher self * Includes a new translation of the Five Moral Precepts of Buddhism, adapted to include energetic practices and the judicious use of entheogenic substances as a legitimate support for spiritual growth With the end of marijuana prohibition on the horizon, people are now openly seeking a spiritual path that embraces the benefits of cannabis. Drawing upon his decades of experience as a teacher of Buddhism, breathing, yoga, and embodied spirituality, Will Johnson examines Eastern spiritual perspectives on marijuana and offers specific guidelines and exercises for integrating cannabis into spiritual practice. The author explains how the great Hindu god Shiva enjoyed consuming bhang, a marijuana mixture that would cause his body to make spontaneous movements. From these cannabis-inspired movements, Shiva brought the body-focused practices of dance and yoga to the world. Examining the spiritual path of Shiva, including the Sadhu tradition, Johnson provides specific instructions and protocols for using marijuana as a sacrament as Shiva did.
Hinduism is practised by nearly eighty per cent of India's population, and by some seventy million people outside India. In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott offers a succinct and authoritative overview of this major religion, and analyses the challenges facing it in the twenty-first century. She discusses key preoccupations of Hinduism such as the centrality of the Veda as religious texts, the role of Brahmins, gurus, and storytellers in the transmission of divine truths, and the cultural and moral importance of epics such as the Ramayana. In this second edition Knott considers the impact of changes in technology and the flourishing of social media on Hinduism, and looks at the presence of Hinduism in popular culture, considering pieces such as Sita Sings the Blues. She also analyses recent developments in India, and the impact issues such as Hindu nationalism and the politicization of Hinduism have on Hindus worldwide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This practical guide introduces us to the expansive inner world of meditation through a series of twenty-one meditations which lead us step-by-step to increasingly beneficial states of mind. Together, these meditations form the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment. By following simple meditation instructions, readers can experience the inner tranquility and lightness of mind that comes from meditation- thereby bringing greater happiness to ourself and others. Clear and relevant meditation break practices are revealed, so readers can integrate the meditations into their daily activities.
Following Alan Watts' acclaimed book on Zen Buddhism The Way of Zen, he tackles the Chinese philosophy of Tao. The Tao is the way of man's cooperation with the natural course of the natural world. Alan Watts takes the reader through the history of Tao and its interpretations by key thinkers such as Lao-Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching. Watts goes on to demonstrate how the ancient and timeless Chinese wisdom of Tao promotes the idea of following a life lived according to the natural world and goes against our goal-oriented ideas by allowing time to quiet our minds and observe the world rather than imposing ourselves on it. By taking in some of the lessons of Tao, we can change our attitude to the way we live. Drawing on ancient and modern sources, Watts treats the Chinese philosophy of Tao in much the same way as he did Zen Buddhism in his classic The Way of Zen. Including an introduction to the Chinese culture that is the foundation of the Tao, this is one of Alan Watts' best-loved works.
Mindfulness involves learning to be more aware of life as it unfolds moment by moment, even if these moments bring us difficulty, pain or suffering. This is a challenge we will all face at some time in our lives, and which health professionals face every day in their work. The Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living programme presents a new way of learning how to face the pressures of modern living by providing an antidote which teaches us how to cultivate kindness and compassion - starting with being kind to ourselves. Compassion involves both sensitivity to our own and others' suffering and the courage to deal with it. Integrating the work of experts in the field such as Paul Gilbert, Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer and Tara Brach, Erik van den Brink and Frits Koster have established an eight stage step-by-step compassion training programme, supported by practical exercises and free audio downloads, which builds on basic mindfulness skills. Grounded in ancient wisdom and modern science, they demonstrate how being compassionate shapes our minds and brains, and benefits our health and relationships. The programme will be helpful to many, including people with various types of chronic or recurring mental health problems, and can be an effective means of coping better with low self-esteem, self-reproach or shame, enabling participants to experience more warmth, safeness, acceptance and connection with themselves and others. Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living will be an invaluable manual for mindfulness teachers, therapists and counsellors wishing to bring the 'care' back into healthcare, both for their clients and themselves. It can also be used as a self-help guide for personal practice.
Retells the "Ramayana," the ancient Indian tale of love, duty, and
sacrifice, for a modern audience
Practicing meditation under difficult conditions, Upsasika Kee eventually broke through to complete inner peace. Here is her achievement -- direct, plain-spoken talks on how to deal with sickness, how to allow suffering and stress to always 'disband, ' as she calls it, and how to how to keep the mind centered. Upasika Kee was a uniquely powerful teacher. Evocative of the great Ajahn Chah, her teachings are earthy, refreshingly direct, and often funny. In the twentieth century, she grew to become one of the most famous teachers in Thailand-male or female-all the more remarkable because, rarer still, she was a layperson
"Flow with whatever may, happen and let your mind, be free. Stay centered by, accepting whatever you are, doing. This is the ultimate." - Zhuangzi. And this is Zen... We live busy lives in busy times. Anxiety, depression and discontent are on the increase. There is no quick fix for the woes of modern living. We are born and we die but in between can be glorious - this is the way of Zen. Zen is NOT a religion, it is NOT a dogma, it is a way of life that is extremely practical and applicable to modern life. ""A path is made by walking on it."" Begin your walk with, Zen now and reconnect with, the joy in your life.
"A Burning Desire" is a gift for those who struggle with the Twelve Step program's focus on the need to surrender to a Higher Power. Taking a radical departure from traditional views of God, Western or Eastern, author Kevin Griffin neither accepts Christian beliefs in a Supreme Being nor Buddhist non-theism, but rather forges a refreshing, sensible, and accessible Middle Way. Griffin shows how the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha, can be understood as a Higher Power. Karma, mindfulness, impermanence, and the Eightfold Path itself are revealed as powerful forces that can be accessed through meditation and inquiry. Drawing from his own experiences with substance abuse, rehabilitation, and recovery, Griffin looks at the various ways that meditation and spiritual practices helped deepen his experience of sobriety. His personal story of addiction is not only raw, honest and engrossing, but guides readers to an inquiry of their own spirituality. In doing so, he poses profound questions, including: - "How can I understand God from a Buddhist perspective?" - "How can I "turn my will and my life over" as a Buddhist?" - "How can this idea of God "remove my shortcomings"?" - "How do I learn this God's "will"?"
A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy is the most comprehensive single volume on the subject available; it offers the very latest scholarship to create a wide-ranging survey of the most important ideas, problems, and debates in the history of Buddhist philosophy. * Encompasses the broadest treatment of Buddhist philosophy available, covering social and political thought, meditation, ecology and contemporary issues and applications * Each section contains overviews and cutting-edge scholarship that expands readers understanding of the breadth and diversity of Buddhist thought * Broad coverage of topics allows flexibility to instructors in creating a syllabus * Essays provide valuable alternative philosophical perspectives on topics to those available in Western traditions
' What is rooted is easy to nourish What is recent is easy to correct' Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (The Book of the Way) is the classic manual on the art of living. In 81 short, poetic chapters, the book looks at the basic predicament of being alive and teaches how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao, or the basic principle of the universe. Stephen Mitchell' s acclaimed translation is accompanied by ancient Chinese paintings that beautifully reflect Lao Tzu' s timeless words. An illustrated edition of one of the most widely translated texts in the world. Features the best of classical Chinese painting A modern, accessible translation which reflects the poetry of Lao Tzu's words. ' Beautiful and accessible; the English, as 'fluid as melting ice,' is a joy to read throughout' The New Republic. ' I have read many translations of this ancient text but Mitchell' s is by far the best.' James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces.
In a society that has seen epochal change over a few generations, what remains to hold people together and offer them a sense of continuity and meaning? In Songs for Dead Parents, Erik Mueggler shows how in contemporary China death and the practices surrounding it have become central to maintaining a connection with the world of ancestors, ghosts, and spirits that socialism explicitly disavowed. Drawing on more than twenty years of fieldwork in a mountain community in Yunnan Province, Songs for Dead Parents shows how people view the dead as both material and immaterial, as effigies replace corpses, tombstones replace effigies, and texts eventually replace tombstones in a long process of disentangling the dead from the shared world of matter and memory. It is through these processes that people envision the cosmological underpinnings of the world and assess the social relations that make up their community. Thus, state interventions aimed at reforming death practices have been deeply consequential, and Mueggler traces the transformations they have wrought and their lasting effects.
Whether speaking of student or master, Zen hinges on the question. Zen practice does not necessarily focus on the answers, but on finding a space in which we may sustain uncertainty and remain present and upright in the middle of investigations. "Zen Questions" begins by exploring "The World of Zazen,"--the foundational practice of the Zen school--presenting it as an attitude of sustained inquiry that offers us an entryway into true repose and joy. From there, Leighton draws deeply on his own experience as a Zen scholar and teacher to invite us into the creativity of Zen awareness and practice. He explores the poetic mind of Dogen with the poetry of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, and even "the American Dharma Bard" Bob Dylan. What's more, Leighton uncovers surprising resonances between the writings of America's Founding Fathers--including Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin--and the liberating ideals at the heart of Zen.
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