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The man with the gun pushed me down onto the carpet. I tried to cower to make my body curl smaller, instinctively covering my head. `Oh God, please don't kill me.' My words clung to my teeth and now my whole body was so cold. All I had left were these words. `Please. Please don't kill me. Jesus. God. Please.' I wanted to live and I knew it with absolute certainty. I don't want to die. Emma Slade was a high-flying debt analyst for a large investment bank, when she was taken hostage in a hotel room on a business trip to Jakarta. She thought she was lucky to come out of it unscathed, but over the ensuing weeks and months, as the financial markets crashed, Emma became her own distressed asset as the trauma following the event took hold. Realising her view on life had profoundly changed she embarked upon a journey, discovering the healing power of yoga and, in Bhutan, opening her eyes to a kinder, more peaceful way of living. From fast-paced City life to the stillness of Bhutan's Himalayan mountains, Set Free is the inspiring true story of Emma's astonishing life lived to extremes and all that that entails: work, travel, spirituality, Buddhism, relationships, and the underlying question of what makes a meaningful life.
One of Sangharakshita's outstanding contributions to Buddhism has been to survey the whole range of Buddhist schools, each with its own approach, own language and so on, and to distil out what is most fundamental. You are a Buddhist because - and only because - you Go for Refuge to the Three Jewels. But how did this become clear to him and what in any case does it actually mean practically to go for Refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha? The nine texts in this volume, composed over a period of more than thirty years, show Sangharakshita's unfolding insight into the meaning, significance and centrality of Going for Refuge. It includes some of his most important communications to the Order he founded: on the ten ethical precepts, his relation to the Order, and the history of his Going for Refuge. And in reflecting on his own bhikkhu ordination there is a challenge to some of the Buddhist world's most deeply rooted assumptions. Sangharakshita writes not just as a student and scholar but with the devotion of one who himself Goes for Refuge and seeks to share the fruits of his journey with others.
For Bettina Vitell the simple art of cooking holds the seeds to a deeper, more life-enriching experience. It is a way to become more aware of ourselves and the world around us, to think clearly and to delight in even the most basic daily activities of our lives.
The dishes in A Taste of Heaven and Earth reflect this Zen philosophy. Bettina Vitell's uncomplicated recipes produce sophisticated, creative meals without ever losing site of her goal of preparing low-dairy vegetarian food. Tastes from both East and West merge with delicious results: here kale and tofu adorn pizza, and udon noodles are dressed with pesto. There are recipes for soup stock and tomato sauce, as well as cashew ginger sauce and apricot lime chutney. The homey breakfast and dessert sections provide recipes for muffins and crisps; and sections on pizza, sushi, curries, and Mexican-inspired foods expand the traditional range of vegetarian cooking.
A Taste of Heaven and Earth explores beyond the reaches of traditional cook-books by offering contemplative essays and ink drawings that heighten the cook's sensory experience in the kitchen. They provide questions and stories that help readers realize the simplicity and beauty inherent in preparing and eating good food.
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.
"Instant Zen" presents the teachings of Foyan, a twelfth-century
Chinese Zen master recognized as one of the greatest masters of the
Song dynasty Zen renaissance in China. Returning to the
uncomplicated genuineness of the original and classical Zen
masters, Foyan offers many simple exercises in attention and
thought designed to lead to the awakening of Zen insight into the
real nature of the self. These succinct teachings emphasize
independence and autonomy, and show us how to open our own eyes and
stand on our own two feet, to see directly without delusion and act
on truth without confusion.
Making Sense of Buddhist Art & Architecture is designed to equip the cultural tourist and art student with the means to interpret each painting, building, or artifact in terms of the iconography and symbolism of the Buddhist religion. With reference to 100 clearly illustrated and diverse historical works, readers will learn to identify the telling details that mean so much to Buddhist devotees. The book's layout is both visually striking and accessible. Each double-page spread features a full-page colour photograph of either a detail of the work or its context, depending on the subject, with a second photograph chosen to illustrate important aspects of the work. Alongside is a detailed exposition of the work's significance in Buddhist art history and philosophy, with key historical facts about the work, including where it may be seen today. By tracing the paths between Buddhist belief and artistic intention, Making Sense of Buddhist Art & Architecture deepens understanding not only of Buddhist art and architecture but also of Buddhism itself.
In this volume Sangharakshita approaches communicating Buddhism in the West from two very different, but equally illuminating, angles. In the first part, in talks given in the early years of his teaching in England, he introduces the apparently exotic worlds of Tibetan Buddhism (1965) and its creative symbols (1972) and Zen Buddhism (1965), clarifying their mysteries while also somehow allowing them to work their magic. In the second part, by contrast, he examines the practice of Buddhism in the context of Western culture. In the polemical paper The FWBO and 'Protestant Buddhism' (first published in 1992) he looks at the characteristics of the Triratna community (the FWBO at the time of writing) as it was 25 years after its founding, in a response to an academic's assessment of the nascent Buddhist movement. And in From Genesis to the Diamond Sutra (first published in 2005) he reveals his own attitude to the literature and doctrines of Christianity, including the Christian view of homosexuality, in a multi-faceted exploration which includes autobiographical material not found anywhere else in his written work.
This groundbreaking history tells the little-known story of how, in one of our country's darkest hours, Japanese Americans fought to defend their faith and preserve religious freedom. The mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is not only a tale of injustice; it is a moving story of faith. In this pathbreaking account, Duncan Ryuken Williams reveals how, even as they were stripped of their homes and imprisoned in camps, Japanese American Buddhists launched one of the most inspiring defenses of religious freedom in our nation's history, insisting that they could be both Buddhist and American. Nearly all Americans of Japanese descent were subject to bigotry and accusations of disloyalty, but Buddhists aroused particular suspicion. Government officials, from the White House to small-town mayors, believed that Buddhism was incompatible with American values. Intelligence agencies targeted the Buddhist community for surveillance, and Buddhist priests were deemed a threat to national security. On December 7, 1941, as the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, Attorney General Francis Biddle issued a warrant to "take into custody all Japanese" classified as potential national security threats. The first person detained was Bishop Gikyo Kuchiba, leader of the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist sect in Hawai`i. In the face of discrimination, dislocation, dispossession, and confinement, Japanese Americans turned to their faith to sustain them, whether they were behind barbed wire in camps or serving in one of the most decorated combat units in the European theater. Using newly translated sources and extensive interviews with survivors of the camps and veterans of the war, American Sutra reveals how the Japanese American community broadened our country's conception of religious freedom and forged a new American Buddhism.
This is a classic text on the essence of Buddhist meditation. It is an excellent, in-depth description of mindfulness practice and its benefits. It includes a concise explanation of clear comprehension, which is the kind of mindfulness you use in the course of your daily life. It also presents an easily understandable explanation of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
This new edition includes an introduction from noted author and teacher Sylvia Boorstein.
Although the Buddha lived over 2500 years ago, his teachings on meditation are among the most effective methods for healing the pain of grief, finding inner peace, and overcoming the sense of dislocation caused by living in the 21st century. Mindfulness is a method not only for committed Buddhists. It is for everyone interested in mastering the mind.
Chinese Pure Land Buddhism: Understanding a Tradition of Practice is the first book in any western language to provide a comprehensive overview of Chinese Pure Land Buddhism. Even though Pure Land Buddhism was born in China and currently constitutes the dominant form of Buddhist practice there, it has previously received very little attention from western scholars. In this book, Charles B. Jones examines the reasons for the lack of scholarly attention and why the few past treatments of the topic missed many of its distinctive features. He argues that the Chinese Pure Land tradition, with its characteristic promise of rebirth in the Pure Land to even non-elite or undeserving practitioners, should not be viewed from the perspective of the Japanese Pure Land tradition, which differs greatly. More accurately contextualizing Chinese Pure Land Buddhism within the landscape of Chinese Buddhism and the broader global Buddhist tradition, this work celebrates Chinese Pure Land, not as a school or sect, but as a unique and inherently valuable "tradition of practice." This volume is organized thematically, clearly presenting topics such as the nature of the Pure Land, the relationship between "self-power" and "other-power," the practice of nianfo (buddha-recollection), and the formation of the line of "patriarchs" that keep the tradition grounded. It guides us in understanding the vigorous debates that Chinese Pure Land Buddhism evoked and delves into the rich apologetic literature that it produced in its own defense. Drawing upon a wealth of previously unexamined primary source materials, as well as modern texts by contemporary Chinese Pure Land masters, the author provides lucid translations of resources previously unavailable in English. He also shares his lifetime of experience in this field, enlivening the narrative with personal anecdotes of his visits to sites of Pure Land practice in China and Taiwan. The straightforward and nontechnical prose makes this book a standby resource for anyone interested in pursuing research in this lively, sophisticated, and still-evolving religious tradition. Scholars-including undergraduates-specializing in East Asian Buddhism, as well as those interested in Buddhism or Chinese religion and history in general will find this book invaluable.
In the 1960s, Americans combined psychedelics with Buddhist meditation to achieve direct experience through altered states of consciousness. As some practitioners became more committed to Buddhism, they abandoned the use of psychedelics in favor of stricter mental discipline, but others carried on with the experiment, advancing a fascinating alchemy called psychedelic Buddhism. Many think exploration with psychedelics in Buddhism faded with the revolutionary spirit of the sixties, but the underground practice has evolved into a brand of religiosity as eclectic and challenging as the era that created it. Altered States combines interviews with well-known figures in American Buddhism and psychedelic spirituality-including Lama Surya Das, Erik Davis, Allan Badiner, Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei, Rick Strassman, and Charles Tart-and personal stories of everyday practitioners to define a distinctly American religious phenomenon. The nuanced perspective that emerges, grounded in a detailed history of psychedelic religious experience, adds critical depth to debates over the controlled use of psychedelics and drug-induced mysticism. The book also opens new paths of inquiry into such issues as re-enchantment, the limits of rationality, the biochemical and psychosocial basis of altered states of consciousness, and the nature of subjectivity.
Beginning with the introduction of the religion into China, this chronicle depicts the evolution of Buddhism. The career and achievements of the great Kumarajiva are investigated, exploring the famed philosophical treatises that form the core of East Asian Buddhist literature. Providing a useful and accessible introduction to the influential Tien-t'ai school of Buddhism in Japan as well as the teachings of the 13th-century monk Nichiren, this examination places special emphasis on the faith of the Lotus Sutra and the major works of masters such as Hui-su, Chih-i, and Chanjan. From the early translations of the Buddhist scriptures to the persecution of the T'ang dynasty, this exploration illuminates the role of Buddhism in Chinese society, and by extension, in humanity in general.
Buddhists: Understanding Buddhism through the Lives of Practitioners provides a series of case studies of Asian and modern Western Buddhists, spanning history, gender, and class, whose lives are representative of the ways in which Buddhists throughout time have embodied the tradition. * Portrays the foundational principles of Buddhist belief through the lives of believers, illustrating how the religion is put into practice in everyday life * Takes as its foundation the inherent diversity within Buddhist society, rather than focusing on the spiritual and philosophical elite within Buddhism * Reveals how individuals have negotiated the choices, tensions, and rewards of living in a Buddhist society * Features carefully chosen case studies which cover a range of Asian and modern Western Buddhists * Explores a broad range of possible Buddhist orientations in contemporary and historical contexts
Research over the past decade has helped to demystify hypnosis and meditation, bringing these practices into the scientific and clinical mainstream. Yet, while hypnosis and meditation overlap on many levels, few scientific accounts have explored their complementary rapprochement. Despite cultural and historical differences, hypnosis and meditation share common phenomenology, cognitive processes, and potential therapeutic merits. This book provides a synthesis of knowledge concerning the bridging of hypnosis and meditation. The authors adopt a trans-disciplinary approach considering cultural, historical, and philosophical perspectives to elucidate contemporary questions in cognitive, neurobiological, and clinical science. The book explores the relationship between hypnosis and meditation in five progressive sections: Part 1 investigates historical, cultural, and philosophical issues to contextualize the scientific study of contemplative practices. Part 2 presents a range of views concerning the similarities and differences between hypnosis and meditation. Part 3 explores the psychological and cognitive mechanisms at work. Part 4 integrates recent brain imaging findings to unravel the neural underpinnings. Finally, part 5 examines how juxtaposing hypnosis and meditation can enhance clinical applications. Hypnosis and Meditation is a valuable resource to both specialists as well as interested lay readers, and paves the road to a more unified science of how attention influences states of brain, body, and consciousness.
Brilliantly and concisely summarises the essence of core teachings such as the Jataka Tales, Samyutta-nikaya, Anguttara-nikaya, Diamond Sutra, White Lotus Sutra, Vimalakirt-nirdesa, Lankavatara Sutra, Sutra of Golden Light, Flower-Ornament Sutra, Perfection of Wisdom teachings, the Abhidharma and more. Also addresses the question of what actual constitutes Buddhism's authentic canonical literature. This new edition includes a fresh preface by the author. Realizing that he was a Buddhist at age 16, Sangharakshita eventually spent 20 years in India. Returning to England, he established Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (1967); Western Buddhist Order (1968). Author of nearly 50 books.
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.
How can we be more mindful when the world is this f*cked up? How to Stay Human in a F*cked Up World is the fresh, engaging answer to this important question. If you've tried mindfulness before and failed, we get it. Likely you were told to sit on a pillow in a dark room, meditate, or count your breaths. But mindfulness isn't about separating ourselves from the problems in the world. Instead, it is about re-learning how to get out there, connect with the suffering of every living being and in so doing, embrace your own personal suffering to heal, transform, grow, and finally find peace. Tim Desmond-an esteemed Buddhist philosopher who has lectured on psychology at both Harvard and Yale and studied under Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh-has spent his life cultivating new ways to bridge the gap between the ancient tradition of mindfulness and modern life. With How to Stay Human in a F*cked Up World Desmond gets right to the heart of our collective pain with a life-changing mindfulness practice for surviving the sometimes-miserable world we live in, featuring strategies and guidance you can start using to feel more connected, joyful, and present today.
As human beings, we have one thing in common: we search all our lives for lasting happiness. YOUR WERE BORN FOR A REASON tells us that happiness can indeed be found. But it is not found in the place we ordinarily look, such as status, achievements, or family. This book, which has sold nearly half a million copies since its original publication in Japan, shows us how to navigate life's obstacles from a deep and abiding source of inner peace. The authors―a Buddhist teacher, a psychotherapist, a philosopher―bring their combined wisdom to bear on the age-old question: what is the purpose of life? They direct us toward answers contained in often-overlooked Buddhist teachings―specifically, in the words of Shinran, who is the founder of Jodo Shinshu, the largest of Japan's schools of Buddhism. In clear and compelling language, YOU WERE BORN FOR A REASON shows why human life is not only meaningful, but infinitely precious. It considers the many ills that plague modern society―suicide, murder, angst, a constant sense of futility―and guides us to the enduring truths that can renew our hearts and finally provide real happiness. CONTENTS: The Eternal Questions. Shinran's Answer/ The Root Cause of Suffering/ The Dark Mind: The Source of Suffering/ The Mind Shrouded in Ignorance/ The Dark Future Casts a Shadow on the Present/ The Tragedy at Rajagrha and the Vow of Amida/Shinran's Fulfillment of Life's Purpose/ Shinran's Masterwork Begins and Ends with a Cry of Joy/ The Clash over Whether or Not Life Has a Purpose/ The Key to the Mystery of Why We Live/ Turning a Blind Eye to Ourselves/ The Difficulty of Knowing Oneself/ Revelation of the True Self, etc.
The Lotus Sutra is arguably the most famous of all Buddhist scriptures. Composed in India in the first centuries of the Common Era, it is renowned for its inspiring message that all beings are destined for supreme enlightenment. Here, Donald Lopez provides an engaging and accessible biography of this enduring classic. Lopez traces the many roles the Lotus Sutra has played in its travels through Asia, Europe, and across the seas to America. The story begins in India, where it was one of the early Mahayana sutras, which sought to redefine the Buddhist path. In the centuries that followed, the text would have a profound influence in China and Japan, and would go on to play a central role in the European discovery of Buddhism. It was the first Buddhist sutra to be translated from Sanskrit into a Western language--into French in 1844 by the eminent scholar Eugene Burnouf. That same year, portions of the Lotus Sutra appeared in English in The Dial, the journal of New England's Transcendentalists. Lopez provides a balanced account of the many controversies surrounding the text and its teachings, and describes how the book has helped to shape the popular image of the Buddha today. He explores how it was read by major literary figures such as Henry David Thoreau and Gustave Flaubert, and how it was used to justify self-immolation in China and political extremism in Japan. Concise and authoritative, this is the essential introduction to the life and afterlife of a timeless masterpiece.
Could there be a civilization on a mote of dust? How much of your fate have you made? Using pleasingly paradoxical vignettes, known as Koans, that follow the ancient Zen tradition and have a flair for explaining complex science, physicist Anthony Aguirre tackles cosmic questions from the meaning of quantum theory and the nature of time to the origin of multiple universes.
A guide to key writings from Buddhism's meditative tradition and what they reveal about the history and practice of meditation Is it possible to capture the spirit of Buddhist meditation, which depends so much upon silence and unspoken wisdom? Can this spirit be found after two millennia? This wise and reassuring book reminds us that the Buddhist meditative tradition, geared to such concerns from its inception, has always been transmitted through texts. A great variety of early writings-poems, stories, extended practical guides, commentaries, and chants-were purposely designed to pass teachings on from one generation to the next. Sarah Shaw, a longtime practitioner and teacher of Buddhism, investigates a wide and varied range of ancient and later Buddhist writings on meditation. Many of these texts are barely known in the West but, as the author shows, they can be helpful, moving, and often very funny. She begins with early texts of the Pali canon-those that describe and involve the Buddha and his followers teaching meditations-and moves on to "commentaries," with their copious range of practical tips, anecdotes, and accounts of early meditators. The author then considers other early texts that were inspirational as Buddhist traditions spread through India and on to China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet. Centuries after being written, early Buddhist texts have lost none of their relevance, this authoritative book shows. In a tradition characterized by flexibility and mobility, these writings offer wisdom unchanged by time.
"Being Nobody, Going Nowhere" is the winner of the Christmas Humphreys Award for Best Introductory Buddhist Book. In this new edition of her classic best-selling book, Ayya Khema gives clear, practical instruction on meditation and techniques for overcoming counterproductive mental habits and beliefs. Through the simple practices detailed here, one can develop deeper insight, a sense of calm well-being, and a greater capacity to love and feel loved on a daily basis. This incredible book also includes an eloquent, sparklingly lucid outline of the Buddhist path that can be understood and enjoyed by everyone.
2009 brought the end of the protracted civil war in Sri Lanka, and observers hoped to see the re-establishment of harmonious religious and ethnic relations among the various communities in the country. Immediately following the war's end, however, almost 300,000 Tamil people in the Northern Province were detained for up to a year's time in hurriedly constructed camps where they were closely scrutinized by military investigators to determine whether they might pose a threat to the country. While almost all had been released and resettled by 2011, the current government has not introduced, nor even seriously entertained, any significant measures of power devolution that might create meaningful degrees of autonomy in the regions that remain dominated by Tamil peoples. The Sri Lankan government has grown increasingly autocratic, attempting to assert its control over the local media and non-governmental organizations while at the same time reorienting its foreign policy away from the US, UK, EU, and Japan, to an orbit that now includes China, Burma, Russia and Iran. At the same time, hardline right-wing groups of Sinhala Buddhists have propagated-arguably with the government's tacit approval-the idea of an international conspiracy designed to destabilize Sri Lanka. The local targets of these extremist groups, the so-called fronts of this alleged conspiracy, have been identified as Christians and Muslims. Many Christian churches have suffered numerous attacks at the hands of Buddhist extremists, but the Muslim community has borne the brunt of the suffering. Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities presents a collection of essays that investigate the history and current conditions of Buddhist-Muslim relations in Sri Lanka in an attempt to ascertain the causes of the present conflict. Readers unfamiliar with this story will be surprised to learn that it inverts common stereotypes of the two religious groups. In this context, certain groups of Buddhists, generally regarded as peace-oriented , are engaged in victimizing Muslims, who are increasingly regarded as militant , in unwarranted and irreligious ways. The essays reveal that the motivations for these attacks often stem from deep-seated economic disparity, but the contributors also argue that elements of religious culture have served as catalysts for the explosive violence. This is a much-needed, timely commentary that can potentially shift the standard narrative on Muslims and religious violence.
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