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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Although written by an American Tibetan Buddhist Lama, this book is really for anyone that finds themselves saying "I just don't have time" (which is just about everyone.) It contains teachings, insights and exercises on mindfulness and meditation designed to help us shift our relationship to time, in a world in which we are constantly overstimulated, and pushed to do more faster. Although many of these teachings are drawn from Tibetan Buddhism, the book has a very ecumenical feel, with quotes, anecdotes and teachings drawn from virtually every other religious tradition, as well as medical science, neuro-scientific research, and popular culture.

I have always been a fan of Lama Surya Das' Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World, and frequently recommend it to people interested in learning more about Buddhism, because it is accessible and grounded in daily life within the Western world. I feel that is a great strength of this book too, as he effortlessly glides from telling a story about a traffic jam he was recently in, to a Sufi parable, to describing the different kinds of human brain waves and how meditation impacts them. This fluidity and movement between stories from daily life that almost any of us can relate to, to religious themes, to neuroscience, keep the book engaging and relevant throughout.

It begins with chapters on mindfulness, a cornerstone theme through the book (and of course of Buddhism too.) As the book progresses, it moves closer and closer to exploring what he calls 'Buddha Standard Time', a level of consciousness and/or insight both outside of and within the 'linear' version of time that we normally experience. Every chapter includes two kinds of suggested exercises - 'Mindful Moments' describe ways to engage with our daily lives more fully in the moment, and 'Time Out' meditations describe more formal meditation techniques for retreating - even if just for a few minutes - from our hectic pace.

The exercises really span the gambit, and I think almost anyone will be able to find something they resonate with - he includes basic breath, chakra, mantra (chanting), insight, and deity visualization meditations, among others. He talks a lot about nature, and finding ways to connect to natural cycles, including the circadian rhythms of our own bodies (which he describes in plain English terms that anyone can understand.) Towards the end of the book he moves into a discussion of aging, our relationship with death and dying, and various theories on the nature of time - and its seeming acceleration in the modern age. As someone especially interested in women's spirituality, an added bonus for me were several sections that described some of the ways Tibetan Buddhism honors the sacred feminine, and others that summarized neuro-scientific findings on differences between the female and male brain.

Along the way there are many fun cultural references (did you know Sherlock Holmes traveled to Tibet and studied meditation in the original books??) It is a deeply spiritual book that doesn't always seem to be - which I mean as a compliment, and hopefully you know what I mean. So overall, an excellent book that I would recommend to almost anyone - relevant, grounded, accessible, engaging, and inspiring.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2011
Lama Surya Das has always had the ability to present deep truth in terms, which can be easily understood at first glance and revisited at different times of life yielding various and deeper insights with each encounter. I think this is one of the timeless (pardon the pun) wriings that will wear well over the course of a lifetime. The simple meditations and exercises fit anyone's time schedule and call to that which is common to humankind. Who does not get caught up in the beauty of the occasional sunrise or sunset, which catches us unaware by its spectacular display? I find these moments have more to do with my focus than the actual event. This is one of the teachings I took away from this newest book, to bring awareness to as many moments as I feel like. I refuse to put awareness on a to do list and make it a chore. By offering so many easy to do meditations, I feel pretty sure I can fit one of Lama Surya's suggestions into my day. The one that comes to mind first is breathing itself. Since I am already breathing, paying attention to an in breath and an outbreath once in a while, and stepping outside of clock time to rest in the stillness of that moment, seems brilliant. I hope everyone can have the opportunity to find time enough to be on BST (Buddha Standard Time). Lama Surya has certainly provided enough options for me to find a way to be more present. Maybe I will even find the time to take pleasure in the time I "find."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2011
I really recommend this book especially for readers like myself who have had difficulty starting and persisting with medication practice. In particular if you procrastinate because of a hectic schedule & busy lifestyle.

I found the material to be quite profound and yet available & grounded. Each chapter ends with some "small steps" anyone can take to start small and go slow. He makes it seem less daunting to begin to alter one's sense of time and to become mindful during a variety of moments we all move through each day. I also felt a sense that his spirituality is well honed by years of his own practice & not just a superficial Americanization of Buddhism. Take (back) your time with this book. It will reward.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2011
Buddha Standard Time by Lama Surya Das is the book to read if you are so busy that you think you don't have time to do things. Read this book and start to de-stress by getting back in tune with the natural time of things - not a clock.

Buddha Standard Time is a book that everyone who thinks they are so busy they have no time to even stop and enjoy a sunrise or sunset should read. It includes guides to help readers start living in the present moment and to enjoy things that they really want to do. It doesn't promise to expand your 24 hour day into 48 hours, but if you start practicing some of the steps and meditations, you may just find yourself with extra time in the day so you can start enjoying your "time" once again.

Overall, I found that the exercises are quite helpful in learning how to meditate and reconnect with nature. I highly recommend this book to everyone who needs help de-stressing and enjoying the time in a day again.

* Thank you to the publisher of Buddha Standard Time, Harper One, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2011
As a person living in today's western world with a full time job, family, etc, Lama Surya's newest book Buddha Standard Time is a necessary, healing, and soothing medicine which comes at a crucial time. I too, like so many others nowadays, complain that I don't have enough time or energy to devote to my spiritual practice. Lama Surya's heart advice illuminates this fallacy for what it is- laziness, and a lack of focus or priority. He holds aloft the blazing torch of Buddhahood in the here and now, and reminds us that the Buddha is ever present and shining through every moment. This is a most rare and precious transmission. We would be doing ourselves and the world a great benefit by deeply listening and following his advice, learning to live in Buddha Standard Time. How amazing, how sweet it is. Thank you Lama Surya for upholding the light so that we too may see the light within ourselves and others.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2011
Whether one is a student in the university or a doctor, lawyer, professor, executive, professional or worker of any type, is there anyone in today's environment who is not faced with the seemingly impossible tasks to accomplish more with less while usually being constrained by that short but huge parameter we call time? Many of us literally race about with our demanding jobs and chores at our offices, homes, classes, autos, wherever, often leaving us with various levels of frustration, disappointment and lack of fulfillment. We become faced with our self-generated stress, often taking it home to spouses, children, loved ones, friends, colleagues--options which are not good for our mental, physical, emotional health. But recognizing this dilemma which so many face today, Lama Surya Das has stepped up in a `timely' manner and prepared for us a most interesting, sensitive, moving set of words and practices that have as their major focal point this seemingly lack of time in our modern and often hectic world.

Buddha Standard Time, Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now, is about various and numerous ways of slowing ourselves down, letting time seemingly move more slowly, move more with us rather than ahead of us, with the result our having more time, more quality time, less frustration and stress as we face our daily lives. Said differently, this book is about finding ways in our growing day-to-day race with time to live a more meaningful life generally, a more meaningful spiritual life in particular, a life more attuned to the basic rhythms of the natural world. It is a book about how to live our lives more peacefully within the uncompromising flow of all that seems to constantly confront us at every angle. It is a book about learning to be oneself, changing the ways we cope, and enjoying ourselves more while continuing to get our necessary activities performed.

The tools laid out for us in Buddha Standard Time are not surprising to those who have experience in studying Buddha dharma. These tools are essentially mindfulness, meditation, nowness-awareness and compassion. These powerful practices are smoothly integrated into each chapter's short applications called Time Outs and Mindful Moment (Meditations). Even with practice of a few minutes a day, the rewards to us and, hence, to those dear to us, are discussed throughout the book,

As many know from his previous books, including the best selling Awakening the Buddha Within, Lama Surya Das was trained for decades in the Nyingma and Kagyu Tibetan Lineages in Tibet, Nepal, and India, As one of the few Lamas of American birth currently teaching and practicing in America, he writes and teaches generally in the Tibetan Dzogchen Buddhist tradition.

So, to whom is this book directed? Buddhists or Dzogchen Buddhists? Yes to both, but the focus of this book is much broader; it is for all of us, particularly those who become frustrated and stressed with the frenzied pace of today's world. Whether one considers themselves Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, or those practicing Judaism, Islam, Atheism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, or whatever one's spiritual bent, this book, Buddha Standard Time, is for all of us.

Lama Surya Das is an enlightened thinker, teacher and writer. Buddha Standard Time is a joy to read, to learn from, to laugh with, to shed tears with. I highly recommend this book and it's timely, elegant messages to all.
.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2011
In this hyper-speed age of instant gratification it is becoming exceedingly difficult to find profoundly qualified spiritual mentors who have truly put in decades of deep mind training, and have discovered for themselves the inner peace for which we all yearn. Once found, such teachers may be hard to relate to, given their years of hermetic living. Lama Surya Das is a rare breed, deeply established in the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, yet fully integrated into contemporary life. Full of compelling stories that reflect our familiar daily postures, this latest offering serves as a clarion call to find the very life of life embedded within our most mundane moments. Synchronization is recommended!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
STRESS! That's the No. 1 issue I hear people talk about as I travel and meet with groups nationwide. There are many branches on the tree of stress: stress over our financial meltdown, stress over aging, stress over our little children (and our adult children and our parents, as well)--and even stress over whether any of this daily stress makes any difference in the long run.

That's why I'm joining other reviewers in strongly recommending, Buddha Standard Time: Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now. Lama Surya Das, a popular American-born Buddhist teacher, has written a dozen books over the past two decades about Buddhist wisdom. In his newest volume, he zeroes in on stress as a function of our limited Western conceptions of time. The West has produced marvels of technology and production, he acknowledges, but we've also confused life's core purpose with our competitive use of time. We may think "time is money," but time is far more precious than that, he writes.

Of course, it's silly to assume that any 200-page book can suddenly impart the wisdom of a life-long spiritual journey. You won't whirl through this book and close the cover as a Buddhist sage, calmly facing every challenge that lies ahead. But, think of this as good retreat for the mind and heart. Think of it as a tune up for the engine of the spirit.

Are you drawn to Buddhist teaching as an American? Millions are--and, in fact, millions of Americans who describe themselves as Christian, Jewish or members of another faith--are also drawn to the compassion, mindfulness and meditation techniques of Buddhism. You may find that Surya Das' teaching is your cup of tea. Of course, the Dalai Lama also is a very popular teacher in the Buddhist tradition. If you're looking for a more narrative approach to Buddhist teaching for Americans, you might enjoy trying Geri Larkin's Plant Seed, Pull Weed: Nurturing the Garden of Your Life.

In addition to personal reflection, Buddha Standard Time also is a great choice for group discussion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2011
Although I am retired and not into a frantic pace of life this book is geared for, it is a good reminder of awakening to the eternal now. Some of the things he recommends I am doing already and it is a good reminder to stay present. A challenge I have at times is to go from meditation into my daily life remaining in present, "Buddha Standard Time." I hope many people from all walks of life and cultures will order this excellent book. Though it didn't tell me anything I didn't know already it presented ways to stay in the eternal now which are awakening. Sometimes people of other religions than Buddhism would never pick up a book by a Buddhist teacher. Some people would do so. As one of the other reviewers writes it doesn't matter awhat one's religion is or even no religion. It is a timely book to help people slow down and stay present. It especially speaks to people who are working or perhaps raising children going from one place to another. However, all people can benefit from this timeless wisdom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2013
If you have stopped for a minute or so in your busy schedule to read this review, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! Surya Das distinguishes between linear time and Buddha Standard Time. The former is measured by clocks, watches, calendars, etc.; while the latter is more in tune with natural time and the ebb and flow of the seasons. There is wisdom here for both Buddhists and non-Buddhists, especially if you find yourself driven by deadlines, the clock, and your own inner self.
If you find yourself feeling that you have to stay connected 24/7; if you check your email several times a day and cannot bear to be disconnected from social media, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! Using suggestions including attention to the breath and the value of the present moment, the author seeks to move the reader from a hectic schedule or pace to a point where we regularly "breathe, smile, relax." I recommend the book and the practice. And as Surya Das concludes: "You have time."
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