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Understanding Our Mind: 50 Verses on Buddhist Psychology Paperback – February 9, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Incidentally, my father was a Freudian Psychoanalyst and over the course of my life (45) I have spent many hours with him discussing the role of the unconscious in relation to our everyday impulses and actions. I also went through 5 years of intensive psychoanalysis as a young adult. The conceptual base presented in Understanding Our Mind is not altogether different from Freud's treatment of the unconscious. As the author himself points out, the main difference is that Freud emphasizes examining past events rather than transforming their manifestations as mental formations in the present (p.232). I am just now embarking on the path of practicing mindfulness, yet I have little doubt that it will surpass the results achieved through traditional psychoanalytic therapy.
The key phrase for this book is given in the introduction: "When we understand how our mind works, the practice becomes easier". I was always fascinated by the way the mind works, especially after having read Schopenhauer's "On the fourfould foundation of the law of sufficient reason" (sorry, that's how terrible it sounds), which first revealed to me to what a great extent that which we consider to be 'objective reality' is actually shaped by our mind. Later on, I became interested in Zen/Chan, which doesn't really emphasize philosophical discourse on surface (although some of the most profound philosophical works have also been produced by Chan masters - for instance, Dongshan Liangjie). In this book by Thich Nhat Hanh, Chan meets philosophy again for me (philosophy in the Kantian sense - not as a metaphysical discourse, but as an investigation of the nature and limits of our perception and knowledge). For me, unfortunately, Zen practice continuously has to be supported by intellectual conviction that it is the right thing to do, or after some time I lose it. For those as unfortunate as I am, this is the right book.Read more ›
If you are curious about your mind and its ability to transform your world, you will really enjoy this book. If you want to understand meditative techniques, this book is an excellent resource as well. If you are contemplating the purchase of your first book on Buddhism, I would suggest another path, perhaps "Turning the Mind into an Ally," by Sakyong Mipham, which is by no means simple, but well-adapted to communicating with the Western Mind. I would also suggest Thich Nhat Hahn's book "The Miracle of Mindfulness," as a good starting point.
You will never regret the time you spend struggling to understand it. I can honestly tell you that the struggling will pay you back with amazing insights into this life. Inter-Being and Impermanence, No Birth, and No Death: These are truths that cannot be scoffed away by the casual cynic or self-righteous bamboozler. You will NOT come away from this book an enlightened being. But you WILL come away from it like you do when you've looked directly into the sun for a few seconds, and are forced to turn away, overwhelmed by the brightness. This is a book that will change your way of seeing the world, permanently, and for the better, if you let it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Long book. I haven't read it yet but skimming it through, it is a hard one to dissect.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
A clear and yet profound discussion of Buddhist psychology that is a must read for all practitioners.Published 3 months ago by Phillip Baker
thich gets complicated! this is a head stretcher, trying to understand. difficult book. not badPublished 4 months ago by Timothy Wessel
Wonderful book explaining the view from a Buddhist's perspective. I loved it and hope that my Buddhist teacher will incorporate it into his weekly dharma teachings.Published 5 months ago by Cynthia E.