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As long as our minds are dominated by the conditions of the
external world, we are bound to remain in a state of
dissatisfaction, always vulnerable to grief and fear. How then can
we develop an inner sense of well-being and redefine our
relationship to a world that seems unavoidably painful and unkind?
Monasticism is a social and religious phenomenon which originated in antiquity and which still remains relevant in the twenty-first century. But what, exactly, is it, and how is it distinguished from other kinds of religious and non-religious practice? In this Very Short Introduction Stephen J. Davis discusses the history of monasticism, from our earliest evidence for it, and the different types which have developed from antiquity to the present day. He considers where monasteries are located, from East Asia to North America, and everywhere in between, and how their settings impact the everyday life and worldview of the monks and nuns who dwell there. Exploring how monastic communities are organized, he also looks at how aspects of life like food, sleep, sex, work, and prayer are regimented. Finally, Davis discusses what the stories about saints communicate about monastic identity and ethics, and considers what place there is for monasticism in the modern world. 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.
The key to happiness is not the eradication of all problems but
rather the development of a mind capable of transforming any
problem into a cause of happiness. "Essential Mind Training" is
full of guidance for cultivating new mental habits for mastering
our thoughts and emotions.
If, as Buddhism claims, the potential for awakening exists in all human beings, we should be able to map the phenomenon with the same science we apply to other forms of consciousness. A student of cognitive social science and a Zen practitioner for more than forty years, Richard P. Boyle brings his sophisticated perspective to bear on the development of a theoretical model for both ordinary and awakened consciousness. Boyle conducts probing interviews with eleven prominent Western Buddhist teachers (Shinzen Young, John Tarrant, Ken McLeod, Ajahn Amaro, Martine Batchelor, Shaila Catherine, Gil Fronsdal, Stephen Batchelor, Pat Enkyo O'Hara, Bernie Glassman, and Joseph Goldstein) and one scientist (James Austin) who have experienced awakening. From the paths they traveled to enlightenment and their descriptions of the experience, he derives three fundamental properties of awakened consciousness. He then constructs an overarching model that explains how Buddhist practices help free the mind from attachments to reality and the self and make possible the three properties of awakening. Specifically, these teachers describe how they worked to control attention and quiet the mind, detach from ideas and habits, and open themselves to compassion. Boyle's account incorporates current theories of consciousness, sociological insights, and research in neuroscience to advance the study of awakened consciousness and help an even greater number of people to realize it.
Charlotte Joko Beck is one of the most popular Zen teachers currently teaching in the West. This beautifully written book is a Zen guide to the problems of daily living, love, relationships, work, fear and suffering. Beck describes how to be in the present and living each moment to the full.
Any practitioner, after meditating for some time, inevitably wonders what meditation method the historical Buddha Shakyamuni himself used while beneath the Bodhi Tree. Many people understand that prior to his realization, Shakyamuni Buddha studied with many of great yogis of his time, but most do not know what method he ultimately found leads most directly to Nirvana. In Ajhan Buddhadasa Bhikku's book, "Mindfulness With Breathing, " the Thai meditation master provides practitioners with penetrating insights into the Anapanasati Sutta, the sacred canonical text which many believe is the most direct transmission of Shakyamuni Buddha's breath meditation methods. Combined with a concise translation of the Sutta itself, "Mindfulness With Breathing" is one of the best guides to Buddhist meditation practice available in the English language.
In this volume are collected two works that complement each other very well, each being in its own way at the heart of Sangharakshita's writings. A Survey of Buddhism was first published in 1957, and Lama Anagarika Govinda wrote of that first edition, 'It would be difficult to find a single book in which the history and development of Buddhist thought has been described as vividly and clearly as in this survey. For all those who wish to know the heart, the essence of Buddhism as an integrated whole, there can be no better guide than this book.' The Survey, whose ninth edition is reproduced here, continues to provide an indispensable study of the entire field of Buddhist thought and practice, covering all major doctrines and traditions, and placing their development in historical and cultural context.The Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path of course outlines the best-known formulation of the Buddha's teaching, and if its name sounds archaic, Sangharakshita's vivid explanation of how to follow that path provides a fresh and inspiring guide. Here, to the original text are added seminar extracts that give a range of helpful perspectives on the stages of the path. This volume includes a full section of endnotes locating the teachings to the suttas and sutras that inspired them, as well as a Foreword by Dharmachari Subhuti looking at these two texts from an inspirational and a critical perspective, and bringing out the inner connection between them.
Classical Tibetan Buddhist scriptures forbid the selling of Buddhist objects, and yet there is today a thriving market for Buddhist statues, paintings, and texts. In Buddha in the Marketplace, Alex John Catanese investigates this practice, which continues to be viewed as a form of "wrong livelihood" by modern Tibetan Buddhist scholars and early Buddhist texts such as the Vinaya. Drawing on textual and historical sources, as well as ethnographic research conducted in the region of Amdo, Tibet, Catanese follows the trajectory of Buddhist objects from their status as noncommodities prior to the Cultural Revolution to their emergence as commodities on the open market in the modern period. The book examines why Tibetans have more recently begun to sell such objects for their personal livelihoods when their religious tradition condemns such business activities in the strongest possible terms. Addressing the various societal and religious ramifications of these commercial practices, Catanese illustrates how such activity is leading to significant cultural and economic changes, transforming the "moral economy" associated with Buddhist objects, and contributing to a reinterpretation of Tibetan Buddhist identity.
Many of us, even on our happiest days, struggle to quiet the constant buzz of anxiety in the background of our minds. All kinds of worries-worries about losing people and things, worries about how we seem to others-keep us from peace of mind. Distracted or misled by our preoccupations, misconceptions, and, most of all, our obsession with ourselves, we don't see the world clearly-we don't see the world as it really is. In our search for happiness and the good life, this is the main problem. But luckily there is a solution, and on the path to understanding it, we can make use of the rich and varied teachings that have developed over centuries of Buddhist thought. With clarity and compassion, Nicolas Bommarito explores the central elements of centuries of Buddhist philosophy and practice, explaining how they can improve your life and teach you to live without fear. Mining important texts and lessons for practical guidance, he provides a friendly guide to the very practical goals that underpin Buddhist philosophy. After laying out the basic ideas, Bommarito walks readers through a wide range of techniques and practices we can adopt to mend ingrained habits. Rare for its exploration of both the philosophy that motivates Buddhism and its practical applications, this is a compassionate guide to leading a good life that anyone can follow.
A detailed and practical explanation of one of Buddhism's best-loved teachings, Eight Verses of Training the Mind, by the great Tibetan Bodhisattva, Langri Tangpa. Clear methods are simply presented for transforming all life's difficulties into valuable spiritual insights, for improving our relationships, and for bringing greater patience, empathy and compassion into our daily life. These methods have inspired generations of Buddhist practitioners for almost a thousand years, and brought lasting peace, inspiration and serenity to countless people. Now, with this book, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso shares the immeasurably rich insight of this ancient wisdom to help us find greater happiness and meaning in our busy, modern lives. With this revised presentation, The New Eight Steps to Happiness, Geshe Kelsang re-introduces us to the essential practices of Training the Mind. He not only challenges our entire understanding of the world, but also challenges us to transform ourself into the greatest being we can possibly become!
Each of us is born with a unique combination of heavenly and earthly energies dictated by the stars overhead and the season on Earth at the moment you take your first breath. Known in Taoist astrology as the Four Pillars of Destiny, this "birth chi" can be calculated using the year, month, day and time of your birth. Master Mantak Chia and astrologer, Christine Harkness-Giles reveal how to interpret your birth chi and strengthen weaknesses within your astrological energies. They explain how each of us is ruled by one of the Five Elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water - in a Yin or Yang state. For each Element and Yin or Yang combination, the authors describe personality traits, ideal career paths and emotional and health issues. They reveal how to discover your levels of success, wealth and power; how your astrological strengths will manifest; and how to understand your relationships with partners, friends and family. They, also, explain how to use your chart to calculate your organ health and annual luck cycles. The authors show how to use Inner Alchemy techniques, such as colour therapy and feng shui and Universal Healing Tao exercises, such as the Healing Sounds and Chi Kung, to harmonise and strengthen the inborn imbalances and weaknesses in your chart. This hands-on method of astrology allows you to take control of your health and destiny by connecting your personal energy with the energies of the cosmos * Describes how to interpret your Taoist astrology birth chart and discover the unique combination of Five Elements underlying your personality, health and destiny * Reveals how to strengthen your birth chi with Inner Alchemy techniques and Universal Healing Tao exercises * Explains how to calculate your wealth phase, organ health and luck cycles
Walk step by step through the stages of this tantric ritual of
purification with inspired commentary and sixty full-color
HINDUISM / MYTHOLOGYThe Hindu spiritual landscape is populated by multidimensional characters whose embodiment of both positive and negative aspects finds no parallel within the good versus evil mythology of the Western world. From the goddess Kali to the mysterious elephant-headed Ganesha, Indian Mythology explores the rich tapestry of these characters within ninety-nine classic myths, revealing the essence of the Hindu worldview and demonstrating how these ancient stories can inform a contemporary generation. Devdutt Pattanaik examines the meaning behind the metaphors of the classic myths in symbolic art and in a multifaceted tradition of ritual practices. Fifty artistic renderings of important mythological figures (from seventeenth-century temple carvings to twentieth-century calendar art) illustrate the complex polytheistic Hindu tradition and show how central these figures are to the Hindu conception of the world. Vishnu and Shiva, Gauri and Kali, Krishna and Rama embody the inherent tension between two poles--positive and negative, light and dark, preservative and destructive, world affirming and world rejecting. These opposing energies are valued equally in the cyclical Hindu worldview--a long view that recognizes their natural balance over time. The author also compares and contrasts Indian mythology with the stories of the Bible, ancient Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia, and Mesopotamia, offering Western readers a way to decode the symbolism of the rich Hindu tradition--an enduring mythic tradition that has empowered millions of human beings for centuries. A medical doctor by training, DEVDUTT PATTANAIK moved away from clinical practice to nurture his passion for mythology. His booksinclude The Goddess in India and introductions to Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi. He lives in Mumbai, India, where he works as a health communicator and writes and lectures on Hindu narratives, art, rituals, and philosophy.
Vajrayogini is a tantric goddess from the highest class of Buddhist
tantras who manifests the ultimate development of wisdom and
compassion. Her practice is prevalent today among practitioners of
Tibetan Buddhism. This ground-breaking book delves into the origins
of Vajrayogini, charting her evolution in India and examining her
roots in the Cakrasamvara tantra and in Indian tradition relating
Eight years ago, in an unprecedented intellectual endeavor, the Dalai Lama invited Emory University to integrate modern science into the education of the thousands of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in exile in India. This project, the Emory Tibet Science Initiative, became the first major change in the monastic curriculum in six centuries. Eight years in, the results are transformative. The singular backdrop of teaching science to Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns offered provocative insights into how science and religion can work together to enrich each other, as well as to shed light on life and what it means to be a thinking, biological human. In The Enlightened Gene, Emory University Professor Dr. Arri Eisen, together with monk Geshe Yungdrung Konchok explore the striking ways in which the integration of Buddhism with cutting-edge discoveries in the biological sciences can change our understanding of life and how we live it. What this book discovers along the way will fundamentally change the way you think. Are humans inherently good? Where does compassion come from? Is death essential for life? Is experience inherited? These questions have occupied philosophers, religious thinkers and scientists since the dawn of civilization, but in today's political discourse, much of the dialogue surrounding them and larger issues-such as climate change, abortion, genetically modified organisms, and evolution-are often framed as a dichotomy of science versus spirituality. Strikingly, many of new biological discoveries-such as the millions of microbes that we now know live together as part of each of us, the connections between those microbes and our immune systems, the nature of our genomes and how they respond to the environment, and how this response might be passed to future generations-can actually be read as moving science closer to spiritual concepts, rather than further away. The Enlightened Gene opens up and lays a foundation for serious conversations, integrating science and spirit in tackling life's big questions. Each chapter integrates Buddhism and biology and uses striking examples of how doing so changes our understanding of life and how we lead it.
Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets provides an ethnographic study of varmakkalai, or "the art of the vital spots," a South Indian esoteric tradition that combines medical practice and martial arts. Although siddha medicine is officially part of the Indian Government's medically pluralistic health-care system, very little of a reliable nature has been written about it. Drawing on a diverse array of materials, including Tamil manuscripts, interviews with practitioners, and his own personal experience as an apprentice, Sieler traces the practices of varmakkalai both in different religious traditions-such as Yoga and Ayurveda-and within various combat practices. His argument is based on in-depth ethnographic research in the southernmost region of India, where hereditary medico-martial practitioners learn their occupation from relatives or skilled gurus through an esoteric, spiritual education system. Rituals of secrecy and apprenticeship in varmakkalai are among the important focal points of Sieler's study. Practitioners protect their esoteric knowledge, but they also engage in a kind of "lure and withdrawal"--a performance of secrecy--because secrecy functions as what might be called "symbolic capital." Sieler argues that varmakkalai is, above all, a matter of texts in practice; knowledge transmission between teacher and student conveys tacit, non-verbal knowledge, and constitutes a "moral economy." It is not merely plain facts that are communicated, but also moral obligations, ethical conduct and tacit, bodily knowledge. Lethal Spots, Vital Secrets will be of interest to students of religion, medical anthropologists, historians of medicine, indologists, and martial arts and performance studies.
Urgyen Sangharakshita is unique in his experience with Buddhist traditions and his distillation of their core practices. Born Dennis Lingwood in South London, he is neither of the East nor of the West -- rather, he springs from both, providing readers with the best of both traditions. Profoundly knowledgeable, articulate, and well-read, he uses his knowledge of every field of human experience to stir followers to a deeper understanding of timeless truths. Equally at home with science, philosophy, myth, and poetry, he uses every inner avenue to communicate the dharma. He engages both intellect and heart countless times in a single chapter, attacking delusions on all fronts, sometimes methodically, sometimes lyrically, drawing perfect examples from sources as diverse as Orwell, Aeschylus, and Jane Austen. These thoughtful, wide-ranging essays are a sparkling distillation of his 50 years of study, practice, and personal experience with Buddhism.
This book presents comparative perspectives on the nature of mind, motivation, conflict, anxiety and suffering, as well as the therapeutic management of these problems, in both the writings of Sigmund Freud and the discourses of the Buddha. The nature of the instinct of sexuality, ego instinct and the death instinct in Freud are compared to parallel concepts in Buddhism. This fourth edition has been revised and updated and looks at the emerging dialogue between Buddhism and psychotherapy. It includes new chapters on the nature of the unconscious, the therapeutic basis of early Buddhist psychology, and the Freudian search for the ideal therapeutic model.
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
Pyrrho of Elis went with Alexander the Great to Central Asia and India during the Greek invasion and conquest of the Persian Empire in 334-324 BC. There he met with early Buddhist masters. Greek Buddha shows how their Early Buddhism shaped the philosophy of Pyrrho, the famous founder of Pyrrhonian scepticism in ancient Greece. Christopher I. Beckwith traces the origins of a major tradition in Western philosophy to Gandhara, a country in Central Asia and northwestern India. He systematically examines the teachings and practices of Pyrrho and of Early Buddhism, including those preserved in testimonies by and about Pyrrho, in the report on Indian philosophy two decades later by the Seleucid ambassador Megasthenes, in the first-person edicts by the Indian king Devanampriya Priyadarsi referring to a popular variety of the Dharma in the early third century BC, and in Taoist echoes of Gautama's Dharma in Warring States China. Beckwith demonstrates how the teachings of Pyrrho agree closely with those of the Buddha Sakyamuni, "the Scythian Sage." In the process, he identifies eight distinct philosophical schools in ancient northwestern India and Central Asia, including Early Zoroastrianism, Early Brahmanism, and several forms of Early Buddhism. He then shows the influence that Pyrrho's brand of scepticism had on the evolution of Western thought, first in Antiquity, and later, during the Enlightenment, on the great philosopher and self-proclaimed Pyrrhonian, David Hume. Greek Buddha demonstrates that through Pyrrho, Early Buddhist thought had a major impact on Western philosophy.
Bringing the rich Japanese Shinto artistic tradition to life, this handsome volume explores the significance of calligraphy, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts within traditional kami veneration ceremonies A central feature of Japanese culture for many centuries, the veneration of kami deities-a practice often referred to as Shinto-has been a driving force behind a broad swath of visual art. Focusing on the Heian period (795-1185) through the Edo period (1615-1868), this generously illustrated volume brings the rich Shinto artistic tradition to life through works of calligraphy, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. Thematic essays authored by both American and Japanese scholars explore different dimensions of kami veneration and examine the significance of these objects-many of which have never been seen outside of Japan-in Shinto ceremonies.
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