Posts Tagged With: Digging the dharma

Book Review: Rebel Buddha: On the Road to Freedom

Rebel Buddha: On the Road to FreedomIn Rebel Buddha, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche gives us a guidebook for leaving behind the status-quo and becoming the rebel that’s inside you.  No, not like a ‘James Dean’ rebel but a rebel from the world of illusion that we create.  DPR drops all the tradition Buddhist lingo and lays out the path to achieving freedom in a more accessible language.

I have to admit I initially was having difficulty resonating with the book but about halfway it started to click and after re-reading it,  I really appreciate what he wrote much more.  The book offers a challenge to our normal habits, traditions, view of self and practice. It allows us to truly discover the ‘why’ of Buddhism.

What frees us from being stuck?  What cuts through our psychological blockages?  We need the courage of our rebel buddha heart to leap beyond forms, to go deeper into our practice and find a way to trust ourselves.  We must become our own guide.

The book has a wonderful appendix with an incredible explanation of meditation.  He describes mindfulness and analytical meditation practices and how to work with problems during the session.  He ends with some great poems like the following:

You are so creative
And your tricks are so original
Look at your magic
So deceptive, real, and endless

You are a great storyteller
So dramatic, colorful, and emotional
I love your stories
But do you realize that you’re telling them over and over and over?

You are such a dreamer
And you’re tirelessly so passionate
For your dream characters and the world
But do you see that you’re just dreaming

You are so familiar
Yet no one knows who you really are
Are you not called “thoughts” by some?
Are you really there-or simply my delusion

Are you not taught to be the true wisdom mind?
What a beautiful world this could be
If only I could see through this mind.

Well, it doesn’t really matter
Because I don’t exist without you!
“Who am I?” is perhaps the right question
After all, I’m just one of your many manifestations!

review by Digging the Dharma (Philip)

Categories: Books, Buddha, Illusion, Meditate, Potential, Reality, Truth, Wisdom, World | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Book Review: ‘Surviving the Dragon’ by Arjia Rinpoche

Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of 40 Years under Chinese Rule Arjia Rinpoche was born in Tibet in 1950. He was recognized 2 years later as the 8th Arjia Rinpoche, the reincarnation of the father of Lama Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism.
As the Arjia Rinpoche, he is the Abbott of one of the largest and most influential Monasteries in Tibet, The Kumbum Monastery. In his book, Surviving the Dragon, he tells the story of his life as first, a monk; second, a Tibetan under the occupation of the Chinese Communist Party; and third, a refugee without a home to return to.
I met Arjia Rinpoche when he came to Atlanta to visit Emory and Drepung Loseling Monastery. I was enthralled with his retelling of the travesties done to the 10th Panchen Lama at his death and the subsequent choreographed Golden Urn Ceremony to choose his successor.
As I read the book, I developed a great respect for Rinpoche as he illuminated the problems he faced growing up under the Chinese abuse. He tells of the times he lost himself in the secular world forced upon him by Communism and the great teachers that gave him inspiration to carry on and return to his roots. His struggles to cooperate and work within the Communist bureaucracy are illustrative of the intentions of the Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way solution to the Tibetan problem. It also illustrates the intentions of the Chinese to never truly allow a compromised solution.
“The current regime in China is uneasy with political and social changes of any sort.  But if a federation of autonomous regions were ever to be established, if a democratic way of life were ever to prevail, then His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s dream of the Middle Way, his hope for a genuine autonomy for Tibetans and other minorities, could be fulfilled, At last minorities could be free to follow their particular religious beliefs and celebrate their unique customs.  The five stars on the Chinese flag could truly stand for the equality of China’s ethnic groups – the Han majority and the Tibetan, Manchurian, Mongolian, and Muslim minorities – just as the 50 stars on the US flag stand for 50 separate but united states.  Like those white stars in a field of blue, China’s golden stars would shine for free people’s who share the daunting but glorious duty of governing a free country.  Then the dreams of His Holiness the Dalai Lama will come true for Tibet — and for the world. This too is my dream;  this is my hope;  this is my prayer. “

His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked Arjia Rinpoche to write this memoir. He also asked him not to make any angry public statements against the Chinese despite his mistreatment by them. Rinpoche follows this request perfectly: he describes the abuses and mistreatment without any hatred or disgust, just as you would expect a Buddhist monk to.
Surviving the Dragon is an excellent book: a must-read for students of Tibetan/Buddhist history as well as an inspiration to the practitioners of the Buddha’s teachings. ~ Digging_the_Dharma
Categories: Attitude, Books, Buddhist Quote, Dalai Lama, Faith, Freedom, Loving Kindness, Reality, Tibetan Buddism, Truth, Wisdom, World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Book Review: ‘The Art of Happiness’ by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama

The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living
What else needs to be said about a classic?  This book literally changed my life.  When I first read the book I was in a really bad spot in my life and need to “change my perspective” and sure enough this book taught me how.

The 10th chapter of the book is entitled “Shifting Perspective”.  His Holiness explains his philosophy on perspective as such “The ability to look at events from different perspectives can be very helpful.  Then, practicing this, one can use certain experiences, certain tragedies to develop a calmness of mind.  One must realize that every phenomena, every event, has different aspects.  Everything is of a relative nature.”  He goes on to explain that allowing our perspective to be so narrow and self-center just furthers our problems and doesn’t allow us to see solutions.

The book, in my opinion, is required reading for anyone.  It isn’t a Buddhist book, it’s a wonderful self discovery book written by a psychiatrist and a monk.  The discussions are incredibly relevant to our busy, over-loaded society where issues of anxiety, depression, anger far outweigh those instances of true sublime happiness.  We all need to learn this Art of Happiness. ~ Digging_the _Dharma

Categories: Books, Buddhist Quote, Dalai Lama, Everything, Happiness, Health, Heart, Meaningful, Mind, Philosophy, Potential, Reality, Self Confidence, Thought, Tibetan Buddism, Truth, Wisdom, World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Book Review: ‘Buddhism for Beginners’ by Ven. Thubten Chodron

Buddhism for BeginnersIn answering the most basic questions, this book will help new practitioners dispel confusion and gain a realistic, down-to-earth approach to the Buddhist path...”  Alexander Berzin, The Berzin Archives ~  I think that quote sums up my feeling on this book that I have gone back to numerous times during my fledgling practice.

The book is an overview of all the central concepts involved in Buddhist practice.  The book’s question and answer format made it very easy to return to again and again for answers that I was unclear on. Ven. Thubten Chodron‘s explanations are concise and easily accessible.

I find myself using it to answer questions that non-Buddhists ask me. Ven. Chodron explains the answers in such simple but thorough manner.  This book was recommended to me when I first started investigating Buddhism.  Since then I have found great wisdom in Ven. Thubten Chodron books and online resources. ~ Digging_the_Dharma

Categories: Books, Buddhist Quote, Meaningful, Meditate, Mind, Philosophy, Truth, World | Tags: , , , ,

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

Categories: Books, Dalai Lama, Everything, Philosophy, Right Mindfulness, Sangha, Self Confidence, Tibetan Buddism, Wisdom, World | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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