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The Feeling Buddha: A Buddhist Psychology of Character, Adversity and Passion Paperback – June 1, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Taking as the framework for his discussion the first teaching offered by the Buddha after he attained enlightenment (wherein he revealed the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path), Brazier (Zen Therapy, Wiley, 1996) offers a modern perspective on these ideas and notes some useful parallels with psychoanalytic theory and practice. Brazier's reasoned and insightful interpretation of the Buddha's message, as he tells us, is the result of many years of study and reflection, and he takes the reader beyond the surface of these familiar texts. While the approach may not be as revolutionary as Brazier would have us believe, this admirably clear and perceptive book has much to offer, particularly for those with some experience of Buddhist practice. Many libraries might want this to supplement the Dalai Lama's recent The Four Noble Truths (Thorsons, 1998). Recommended for libraries collecting in the flourishing area of contemporary Buddhist thought.?Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Buddhism does not offer an escape from suffering, writes Zen Buddhist psychotherapist Brazier, but rather teaches us how to live "meaningfully in an afflicted world." Believing that this is but one of many widespread misconceptions regarding core Buddhist teachings, Brazier offers a new and clarifying approach to the Four Noble Truths in this commonsensical and quietly radical treatise. He begins with a fresh definition of the phrase "noble truth" itself. The "truth," he asserts, is not that life is suffering but that "suffering will always be a part of our lives." Pain and pleasure, life and death are inextricably connected, and it is this paradoxical dynamic that makes life rich and compelling. Nobility implies courage and states of mind and actions worthy of respect. What the Buddha understood, Brazier explains, is that "pride and dignity play a central role in human psychology." This helpful elucidation leads to a discussion of the Middle Path, or the Eightfold Way, that will guide Westerners to a genuine understanding of Buddhist precepts and to applying them to everyday life. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; Reprint edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031229509X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312295097
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
This is a life changing book.
Anonymous
If you read brother Jesus through the powerful lens that Brazier provides, you will see that Jesus is Buddha.
Jim Shields
This book explains it all in a clear and practical way.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By judith johnson on June 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was very excited when I located a course in Buddhist psychology at Shipensburg University. Unfortunately it is not offered on the net, and would cost $1300 US if it was. So I have contented myself, and temporarily placated my monkey mind which I love and cultivate, by reading the recommended material including The Feeling Buddha.
Brazier's interpretation of Buddha's teaching is unconventional, challenging the idea that one can "overcome" suffering, so it is interesting that this interpretation fits with my own experience of Zen practice better than many more traditional works. There are similarities between existential thought and therapy and Buddhist thought and therapy that are nicely illustrated by this text, but if you don't give two hoots about existentialism or therapy this is still a very stimulating and not too difficult read. It will strike a chord with many "meditators" who don't identify as Buddhist or any "ist."
David Brazier is a psychotherapist, has practised Zen Buddhism for 30 years, spent some time as a Zen monk, and has studied original Buddhist scriptures for many years. He endeared himself to me early on in the book, by stating that much though we want to blame someone for our problems "In Buddhism there is no God to call to account. Suffering simply is." (Brazier goes to great lengths to use alternative terms rather than simply "suffering," read the book to find out why.) Later on he agrees with other Buddhist teachers that belief in rebirth is beside the point. He states, as have others, that the idea of the wheel of life with recurring death and rebirth is Hindu: not an original Buddhist idea.
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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really have no idea whether David Brazier succeeded in one of his goals for this book. Namely, to reconstruct what the Buddha really meant when he gave his first sermon around 2500 years ago. Given all of the inherent difficulties with such an undertaking, it seems to me that no one can ever know for sure what the Buddha really said or meant. Brazier's arguments are not always rigorous. For example, he indugles in a little hand-waving when he writes, on page 98, 'This seems both improbable and out of kilter with the general tone of the Buddha's teaching'. But the book stands on its own with a profound, thoughtful, and deeply important message to the rest of humanity: that the one thing we can do in this difficult and mysterious life to give it real meaning and dignity, regardless (and because of) the circumstances, is to live Nobly. The perosn who lives the Noble Life accepts the inevitable difficulties in life, the passions that arise in response to these difficulties, and finds a way to use those passions in ways that are constructive, courageous, compassionate, and selfless. Such a person does not chase after solace in toys, intoxication, sex, or other such pleasures, but enjoys them for what they are while finding real happiness and meaning in the Noble Life. The Noble Life is certainly no easy goal-- not what many a weary and world-worn soul may wish to hear. But Brazier's book rings of gentle and inspirational truth for me, and I rank it as my most cherished book on the human condition. I have recommended it to dozens of friends and family members, and I recommend it to you, too. The book itself is a wonderful demonstration of how to live the Noble Life. If you're looking for a nuts-and-bolts handbook for practice, look elsewhere (such as 'Mindfulness in Plain English', by Venerable Henepola Gunaratana; or 'Breath by Breath', by Larry Rosenberg; or 'Start Where You Are', by Pema Chodron), but read this book too!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Once in a while a book can change one's whole perspective, set things clear that have been obfuscated and clarify many contradictions. David Brazier's "The Feeling Buddha" certainly does that. As a long-time buddhist practitioner I had always been struck by some of the contradictions in doctrine: How is it possible to be compassionate without grasping and avoiding? Is buddhism stilted and emotionless? We seem to be biologically designed to have strong preferences and emotions, how to handle these without increasing suffering? This book explains it all in a clear and practical way. If you are interested in Buddhism and psychology, you really must read this.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read the entire text of A Course in Miracles, several books on Buddhism, Christian, Eastern and Pagan mystic teachings. Nothing I have read has impacted my daily thoughts and behavior as this book has. For all it's simplicity, it's (the book's) suggested path is not easy and somehow that seems perfect. I highly recomend this book for people who have experienced great pain in their lives and for those going through it. Even those experiancing "little" sorrows will see the wisdom of these reinterpreted teachings.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Syverson on March 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most Buddhists can recite the catechism of the four noble truths taught by the Buddha, and most believe they understand these timeless truths as a logical progression: human existence is marked by suffering (also translated as affliction, dis-ease, or stress); suffering is caused by thirst (desire, grasping); suffering can be extinguished; the way to extinguish suffering is by following the eight-fold path. There has been little dissent about these basic truths and their sequence. Brazier sets 2500 years of teaching on its ear with a startling and yet completely plausible interpretation that reverses this sequence and furthermore offers a convincing case for his view. In the process he clarifies why these truths can be understood as both *noble* and *ennobling*. This interpretation challenges the conventional notion of Buddhist practice as the earnest attempt to live the eight-fold path in order to extinguish our suffering through ending the desire that causes it.

By Brazier's account, the Buddha taught that suffering is the inescapable fact of human existence: to face this fact squarely, clearly, is noble. Arising *together with* suffering is thirst, the natural human response to suffering. Recognizing this dependent arising of thirst with suffering as the second truth is also noble. The third noble truth is not about cessation or extinction of suffering but *containment*, the "banking" of the fire of suffering and thirst so that its energy becomes transforming, rather than destructive. The consequence of this containment is a life that unfolds as the eight-fold path. This truth, too, is both noble and ennobling. The perfectly logical exposition of this original perspective on the fundamental teachings shared by all branches of Buddhism seems eerily natural.
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