Happy Saka Dawa day!

*Saga Dawa Düchen (Wyl. sa ga zla ba dus chen), the ‘Festival of Vaishakha’ — one of the four major Buddhist holidays. It occurs on the full moon (the 15th day) of the fourth Tibetan lunar month, which is called Saga Dawa in Tibetan. It celebrates Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment andparinirvana. At the age of thirty-five Buddha attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya. This day also marks the anniversary of his parinirvana at Kushinagara.

Enlightenment

 

*information from Rigpa Shedra site

 

    May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
    May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
    May all sentient beings never be separated from the happiness which is without suffering.
    May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free from both attachment and hatred, holding some close and others distant.

In training the mind, perspective is of crucial importance.

In training the mind, perspective is of crucial importance. We cannot expect to transform our minds in a few minutes or even a few weeks, thinking, perhaps, that the blessings of an enlightened individual will enable us to obtain immediate results. Such an attitude is not realistic. It takes a long time, sometimes years or even decades; but if we persevere, there is no doubt we will make progress. ~ His Holiness. The 14th Dalai Lama

Book Review: ‘Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment’ by Deepak Chopra

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

Book Review: ‘How to Practice’ by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

How to Practice : The Way to a Meaningful LifeIn How to Practice, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama presents the path to achieving enlightenment in these instructions for those seeking to follow the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.

The book is written for practitioners of all levels from those who are curious or just beginning with meditation to an explanation of the philosophy of mind and emptiness for those further along their path.

I thoroughly enjoyed every chapter.  This title will be one I return to on a regular basis for guidance and wisdom.  The book is separated into sections that correspond to a practitioner’s ability to gain understanding starting with morality.  Behavior and ethics are discussed as related to the Four Noble Truths, Refuge and the ethical precepts taken by Buddhists.  He then moves on to explaining meditation and the types and methods for cultivating your practice.

The final section expounds upon the essence of emptiness and wisdom with an explanation of the Heart Sutra and then briefly explains Deity Yoga and Tantra and their relationship to the path.  This to me is a must have title for everyone seeking to understand the teachings of Buddhism. ~ Review by Digging-the-Dharma