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Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention Paperback – March 26, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (March 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062516817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062516817
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This book's promotional material asserts that author McLeod "is no guru and has no meditation center; rather, he is a life trainer." Perhaps only in contemporary America can this be touted as an advantage for a Buddhist teacher. McLeod, no doubt, is not the least bit bothered by the implications, as he is writing expressly for "Americans in a thoroughly American way." Still, potential readers should not fear that McLeod has shortchanged them on the details of the Buddhist path. He offers very charming stories, unclouded prose, step-by-step meditations, charts and quotes from such varied sources as Bob Dylan, Milarepa, Rumi, Yogi Berra and anonymous Buddhist sayings ("Think of all sentient beings as Buddha, but keep your hand on your wallet"). McLeod delivers a hefty how-to manual that could prove useful to a single soul in the hinterlands or a sophisticated searcher in Los Angeles, where McLeod directs Unfettered Mind, a Buddhist teaching and counseling service. This text's apparent self-help style is somewhat ironic, since McLeod pointedly asks, "Can you do this work on your own?" and immediately responds, "Basically, the answer is no.... We need a teacher," going against the American apotheosis of the individual. Whether he cops to it or not, McLeod has illuminated the path for solitary individuals who want a long-lasting handbook to begin the journey toward wakefulness. (Apr.)Forecast: A five-city West Coast author tour and a February 15 excerpt in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review should boost sales of this book, which will have a 25,000-copy print run. Advertising is planned in PW and in Tricycle.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Ken McLeod's eminently practical manual goes straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught." -- -- Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs

"McLeod has illuminated the path for solitary individuals who want a long-lasting handbook to begin the journey toward wakefulness." -- --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

One of the more innovative teachers of Buddhism today, Ken McLeod is known for his ability to explain deep and subtle teachings in clear and simple language. "He distills the nature and purpose of Buddhism to make it accessible for any newcomer without dumbing it down," writes Phil Catalfo, Yoga Journal, July 2001, in his review of Ken's first book Wake Up to Your Life.

Born in England in 1948, Ken grew up in Canada and journeyed overland to India (in large part by bicycle) in 1969-70. There he met his principal teacher, Kalu Rinpoche and served as his interpreter on Kalu Rinpoche's first two teaching tours in North America. After Ken completed two three-year retreats, he was appointed to teach in Los Angeles. In 1990, Ken established Unfettered Mind where he continues to teach today.

In 1996, Ken roiled the Buddhist world with his model of one-on-one consultations on Buddhist practice. His approach is now regarded as a viable model for Buddhist teachers in the West. Ken also conducts teacher training programs and mentors a growing number of newer teachers.

In 1999, Ken established a consulting practice focusing on executive coaching, team building and personal and organizational effectiveness. His particular focus is on the use of systems thinking to create organizational dynamics that naturally generate productive interactions within the organization.

Ken has a graduate degree in mathematics from University of British Columbia (Canada), more than twenty years intensive training in Eastern disciplines (including Buddhism, tai chi and other martial arts), and over twenty years teaching and consulting experience.

He is currently exploring the use of the internet for live interaction with students all over the globe, both in course settings and one-on-one meetings.

Customer Reviews

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And you will learn so much.
Bill Butler
Ken Mcleod makes working meditation methods understandable, and presents the path to emotional understanding in a clear and concise manner.
David Hains
Ken McLeod has, in my opinion, written the first work-text book on the Western approach to Tibetian Buddhism.
JEANNE PISANO

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 117 people found the following review helpful By George L. Draffan on March 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Originally published in the Northwest Dharma News [...]
Hundreds of books on Buddhism have been published in recent years, but Wake Up To Your Life, a new book by Ken McLeod, is one of the first systematic curricula written by a Westerner thoroughly trained in traditional Tibetan ways. With deep insight, clear instructions, and entertaining stories, McLeod has given us a comprehensive manual for a lifetime of spiritual work.
Wake Up To Your Life begins as many books do, introducing the context and motivations for practicing meditation, and covering basic topics such as the four noble truths, the three disciplines of morality, meditation, and understanding, and the cultivation of mindfulness. It continues with contemplations on death and impermanence, karma, reactive emotions, and the four immeasurables, and ends with difficult practices for mind training, insight, and direct awareness.
McLeod breaks new ground from beginning to end. For example, the differences and synergies between mindfulness, awareness, and attention are clearly delineated, and active attention ("volitional, stable, and inclusive") is the central principle. That has practical implications, one of which is that ethical behavior becomes primarily a natural expression of attention, rather than a set of rules dictated by an authority or tradition.
Wake Up To Your Life is especially valuable in making explicit what has been hidden from or confusing to many practitioners. Those who have struggled to practice with insufficient instruction will benefit from McLeod's pragmatic approach. For example, he makes clear the important differences between the purpose, methods, effects, and results of meditation practice.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David Hains on July 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Mcleod's book on meditation is the most inspiring book on working Buddhism I have read. Meditation is the single most important aspect of self-actualization available. Knowing ourself is truely the key to wisdom and ethical behavior. Trying to "white knuckle" ethics, and teach oneself wisdom / understanding never works. We cannot understand what we haven't experienced. Meditation takes intellectual understanding and turns it into emotional understanding. This leads to wisdom and changes in our behavior (ethics). Ken Mcleod makes working meditation methods understandable, and presents the path to emotional understanding in a clear and concise manner. This book would take many lifetimes to complete. I have purchased many Buddhist books in the past and have never written a review on one before. However, this book is worthy of even my praise. A true lifesaver. OUTSTANDING !
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By dharmastrider on September 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Wake Up" is very accessible and informative. It treats many fundamentals of Buddhism with the lay-person in mind, and does that very very well. But be aware; this is a manual intended for use by someone who is considering a serious commitment to mindful meditation and (especially) inner transformation. It is written like a set of instructions (OK, now do this. Then do that. etc.). If you are interested in transforming your life, and you are committed to a Buddhist path, you will truly get a great deal out of this wonderfully well written book. But it does get a bit pedantic at times.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By JEANNE PISANO on February 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ken McLeod has, in my opinion, written the first work-text book on the Western approach to Tibetian Buddhism. He has presented the practices in clear, direct language, making them understandable and available to anyone interested in the path of awakening. There is no cultural overlay to obscure the teachings or confuse their purpose.There are many fine books about Buddhism, but the actual "how to" laid out in the precise order it should be studied and practiced has been missing. Now we have it in "Wake up to Your Life". I encourage anyone with more than a passing interest in Buddhism to get this book. You will use it for the rest of your life.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
While this text indeed provides a refreshing and vibrant presentation of contemplations conventionally used in Tibetan Buddhism for centuries, I disagree that it avoids central Buddhist principles of, for example, karma and rebirth. In fact, one of the strengths of this text is its presentation of these and other critical aspects of Buddhist philosophy so subtly that it could go unnoticed. The discussions and meditation exercises are not in any way heavy-handed and would be comfortable for those who have not had the opportunity to study and practice Tibetan Buddhism directly with a genuine lama. Those who have had that chance will find fresh new ways to expand and enhance their regular practice. The meditation exercises are nothing to sneeze at--they would take years to finish, even following the minimum time guidelines, and that would miss the point. These are reflections to take up and continue throughout one's life, just as the Tibetan tradition has encouraged students since the Dharma came to Tibet.
Mr. McLeod's own insistence that one undertake them in conjunction with consistent resort to a spiritual teacher knowledgeable about the path and able to guide students makes this one of the few books written from a Westerner's perspective that honors the dual importance of spiritual guidance and commitment to practice in this tradition. Kalu Rinpoche, Mr. McLeod's own lama, to whom he dedicates this book, was widely regarded as a great meditation master and spiritual guide. Through Mr. McLeod, he continues to present the Dharma to Westerners in a manner that is true to the principles of Buddhism while taking into account the differences between our cultures.
This book is not for the faint of heart.
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