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Turning the Mind into an Ally Hardcover – January 6, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; 1st Printing edition (January 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573222062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573222068
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Is the mind our enemy? It can be, suggests Shambhala International's director Mipham in his first book. The key to peaceful and sane living, says Mipham, is training our minds. Without that training, people live "at the mercy of our moods." Meditation is the tool that can help spiritual seekers master, rather than be mastered by, their own minds. This book blends a philosophically savvy explanation of why meditation is necessary with an artful and accessible introduction to the basics of meditation. Mipham moves elegantly from the prosaic (how to sit with a straight spine) to the profound (why one should bravely contemplate illness, aging and death). Indeed, those practicing spiritual disciplines from any tradition-Christian, Wiccan, and so forth-could benefit from Mipham's commonsense approach to meditation. He acknowledges, for example, that the tyro might get bored, distracted or even hungry for a cookie. New meditators are likely to find a million and one excuses for not meditating. But, says Mipham gently, "at some point you just have to sit down and do it." Mipham's guide is distinguished by its intelligible prose; unlike many fellow travelers, he does not drown his reader in jargon. He defines Buddhist basics, like "samsara" and "karma," clearly. Three useful appendices, outlining meditation postures and giving simple instructions for contemplation, round out the book, and a foreword by Pema Chodron is an added treat. This easy read is one of the best of the Buddhism-for-Westerners genre.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Mipham is director of Shambhala International, an umbrella organization representing over 100 meditation and study centers that was founded by his father, the renowned spiritual leader Chogyam Trungpa. His first book offers basic guidelines to meditation or peaceful abiding for those interested in learning more about Buddhist meditation. His instruction and discussion of the virtues of peaceful abiding are followed by suggestions for thematic contemplative meditations on topics such as birth, old age, and death. Having grown up in the United States but with traditional Tibetan training, Mipham is able to connect the traditional practice with the Western mind-set. He also brings a youthful spirit to his writing, with frequent use of outdoor sports (e.g., horseback riding, archery, golf, and hiking) to embellish his teachings metaphorically. Unfortunately, this work lacks the passion and depth so notable in his father's writings, and the text breaks little new ground. Those new to Tibetan Buddhism will find more inspirational reading in books by the Dalai Lama, and there is more in-depth instruction on Tibetan meditation practices in works such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's A Meditation Handbook. Recommended for libraries with large Buddhist collections.
--Annette Haines, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book is all about the importance of mindfulness meditation.
Geos59
This book will help many to understand the subtleties of meditation, and the practical effects it has in ones life.
S. Plowright
He distills the wisdom of his father in a simple and easy to understand style of writing.
Gavin Newsum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Nichtern on January 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sakyong Mipham's writing style is simple and to the point. Sometimes you don't even know you're being hit with deep wisdom until the 2nd or 3rd time you read it, which is the way most good books seem to work. His style is very different from his father Chogyam Trungpa's. What's great about this book is that he actually explains in precise detail, using simple but profound metaphors, exactly why somebody would want to do meditation, and exactly what the benefits are for you and the people around you. His instructions are never vague and mushy the way so many new-age teachers seem to be. He makes it all accessible and the barriers to actually starting to practice meditation seem to fall away in a hurry. It's not some ancient tradition of mystic-worshippers; it's something that can inform and aid our lives right here and right now, no matter what kind of lifestyle we lead.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bourdon on October 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a good book for those who are beginning meditators, those looking for information on meditation, or those who have been practicing meditation for some time. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche uses more Western language versus Tibetan or Shambhala language, which makes this easier to read and understand. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche also has expanded the traditional Shambhala meditation practice to include "contemplation" meditation.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Henry M. Mchenry on January 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Karen Armstrong's The Buddha is a beautiful exposition of the life of the Buddha, but has little to say about how to bring his wisdom and compassion into our lives. Turning the Mind into an Ally is a practical guide based on profound understanding of how to stabilize, clarify and strengthen the mind so that we can bring this wisdom and compassion into our lives. The author, Sakyong Mipham, writes with clarity, directness, and authority about how to live a life of true joy and deep compassion in our modern world. The book is a deceptively simple exposition of mind transformation through the meditation technique of calm abiding. The author is a direct intellectual and heart descendant of the wisdom teachings that go back more than 2500 years.
Sakyong Mipham follows the Buddha's tradition of piercing honesty about our predicament as sentient beings. He does not shy from telling the truth of suffering, impermanence, and selflessness of our existence. In these troubled times, it is wonderful to know that there is a practical and doable path of personal transformation by which we can live without deception and with loving kindness to benefit ourselves and all beings.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Brian Smith VINE VOICE on January 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been meditating for about three or four years. I got started with contemplative prayer. Then, once I started studying Buddhism have been practicing based on Buddhist meditation techniques. I've found meditation to be relaxing, frustrating, hard to stick with and extremely beneficial. I want to meditate but there's always something more urgent to do. I want to meditate but it's so boring just sitting there by myself. I want to meditate but I just can't slow my thoughts down long enough to feel the time has been well spent. I've read books about meditation and contemplative prayer and listened to many PodCasts. But, of all the materials I have studied, the best so far is Turning the Mind Into An Ally by Sakyong Mipham.

It's likely you don't think of your mind as an enemy. But, for many of us an untamed, out of control mind is just that. I've known for years that my thoughts race. I knew I wanted to get control of the flashes of anger that could just pop out or the rush of fear that could be triggered by a single thought. One thought leads to another which leads to another and you "wake up" minutes later to find you've said or done something you regret. Meditation helps us study the often unconscious habitual patterns our minds fall into, so that we can see those things happening as they happen and, ultimately, before they happen. Buddhist practice isn't so much a religion as it is a disciplining of the mind and an attempt to face ultimate reality. When I first started reading the book, it seemed too basic for me, like Meditation 101. It's written in non-technical language and is full of real-life illustrations that make the material easy to read and grasp.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By trustyson on February 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been helpful for dealing with anxiety/depression. I'm not much into just meditating or even following Buddhist thinking, however, there is value in what I've learned from this book -- disciplining the mind and learning to keep the mind "present". This has helped me from worrying "too far ahead" or losing perspective of life by helping strengthen my mind. I highly recommend this book along with practicing some form of meditation if you struggle with anxiety or negative/worrying thoughts.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By entity3sf on January 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've read a number of wonderful Buddhist authors. I really enjoyed them. The reason I recommend this one so highly is that it was so effective at getting me to actually begin meditating and doing so on a regular basis.

I am by no means advanced in my practice, but just doing it has been of incredible benefit to me. I don't know how to better describe it. I really do owe it to the focused approach Sakyong Rinpoche explains in this book.

'Turning The Mind Into an Ally' was responsible for getting me from a wild, untamed mind - procrastining and reading one book after another - to actually sitting down and beginning my meditation.

As a friend who observed me reading alot of books once told me, "Just remember, the map is not the journey."

I do feel that this book will start you on your mindfullness journey.
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