When it comes to reading books, I rarely choose historical fiction. In fact, this was my first spiritual historical fiction. (At least that I remember!) So I will admit some reluctance in starting this book.
Mr. Chopra does a fine job of storytelling with this ‘possible’ tale of how Siddhārtha Gautama became The Buddha. He outlines Siddhārtha’s separateness before birth and how human he was. And how different he was from others around him. Yet he was the same, for he felt pain, suffered, and enjoyed pleasures as all humans do. Siddhārtha’s difference is what made him seek out the answers to the questions we all ask.
I will not say much more about the book for fear of telling too much. I will say I felt what Siddhārtha felt and at times had to put the book away until my eyes were not clouded with tears. (Maybe I was just tired and thus the watery eyes?) And the end is not quite what I had envisioned but it was great.
Now for the not so good: I felt the story plodded much of the time. Sometimes the scene changed abruptly which caused me to go back over what I had read to make sure I hadn’t missed a line or so. I also felt there was not always a clear reason for the main character to make a decision when he did.
All this taken into consideration, I say…..read this book. Glean from it as you may or not.‘Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment’ is worth your time. ~ Debra Saturday
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
Besides settling the mind, mindfulness meditation develops a certain kind of strength, a sort of mindfulness muscle, and cultivates stability so that every thought doesn’t drag us out of the room. Hostile thoughts, sexual thoughts, thoughts about ice-cream don’t just drag us away. We are able to be steady and present with whatever arises in our mind – that’s why this practice is also known as calm abiding. ~ David Nichtern
As meditation moves us toward wholeness, we discover a strong center, an inner store of mental and emotional strength that was once lost to us. Many people who practice concentration to steady their attention use the same word to describe the feeling it gives them: empowered. Once we have a sense of a center, we can more easily withstand an onslaught on overstimulation, uncertainty, and anxiety the world launches at us without getting overwhelmed. We’re stronger because we not only see more but also see more clearly. When your attention is diffused, it’s like a broad, weak beam of light that doesn’t reveal much. Concentration brings the weak beam down to a single, sharply focused, supremely bright, exponentially more illuminating point. ~ Sharon Salzburg, Real Happiness
Renunciation is realizing that our nostalgia for wanting to stay in a protected, limited, petty world is insane.
Once you begin to get the feeling of how big the world is and how vast our potential for experiencing life is, then you really begin to understand renunciation… Every time we are willing to let the storyline go, and every time we are willing to let go at the end of the out breath, that’s fundamental renunciation: learning how to let go of holding on and holding back. ~ Pema Chodron
1 February is the first day of Tricycle’s 28 – day meditation challenge.
If you are like me, you have a zillion books to read. Well, maybe not a zillion, but near that many! 🙂 So the prospect of getting another book…well, it was daunting.
You can take this challenge without having to buy a book. Click here for the link.
My thoughts: The most important part of the 28 days will be the act of sitting every day. Lately, I have been sitting almost every day with #OMCru & #Drepung (twitter groups). Knowing there are others sitting with me at the same time…even if we are a world apart works well for me. I am curious to see how my days unfold as I move along the month.
Hoping you will join me and many others as we ‘Commit to Sit’ .
Been there? Done that? 🙂 Let’s start again, who knows what you will learn this time around!
Sharon Salzburg has a 28 Day Meditation Challenge …starting in February
Words regarding this event:
‘For the month of February, we have invited a diverse group of people to participate in the meditation program that Sharon Salzberg has laid out in her latest book, Real Happiness. We are asking them to reflect on their experiences—pleasant, difficult, and in between—and let us know how it’s going. They will be blogging and tweeting about their experiences. We will post all of the feedback we receive here on Sharon’s website.’
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzburg