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Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
by Rick Hanson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.57
158 used & new from $6.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potentially amazing but lacking crucial structure., May 16, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book has wonderful mental exercises. It is fantastic. However there are MANY exercises and there is ZERO info on which ones to do when, how often, etc.

If one were to do all of them it would require memorizing a mass of information. So much that it would require dedicating most of every day to it. One would spend a great deal of every day mentally repeating the exercises, re reading them, and practicing them.

I love this book, it is genius, so I didn't want to write this review until I gave the authors a chance. I emailed both of them and asked them if there was some kind of way to explain what exercises to do when and what not. I got no reply from either author and so here we are.

This book would be gold but a huge amount of exercises with zero information about when to do them or which ones are essential is confusing at best. At worst one may end up only doing the least useful exercises in combination with ones that are redundant.


Chuang-tzu: The Tao of Perfect HappinessSelections Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations)
Chuang-tzu: The Tao of Perfect HappinessSelections Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations)
by Zhuangzi
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.35
40 used & new from $7.04

1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE: NOT A TRANSLATION!, May 14, 2015
She does not translate all of the characters but instead updates and reinterprets many of them. The text was written more than a thousand years ago and yet she decided to translate words like "drum" and "flute" as "rock" and "pop" among other unacceptable choices for a translation.

Accurate translation:

"Look at the wealthy: their ears are overwhelmed with the sounds of the drum, flute and pipe..."

Kohn translation:

"Look at the wealthy: their ears are overwhelmed by the sounds of rock and pop, blues and rap..."

This is just one example of her many questionable or downright deliberately inaccurately translated characters.

Fine and all if that's how one likes it but it should say on the cover that it is not a translation but instead is a hip updated reimagining.


Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five
by Kurt Vonnegut
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.00
306 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps my sanity is going, but this seems almost like a holy book., March 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Probably yes, my sanity is going.

Vonnegut goes on for 200 pages spinning his real life War War 2 experiences with time travel and aliens.

However under and between the lines is absolute magic. The true nature of the universe and time bleed through wonderfully. The narrator seems both omniscient and completely stuck in his own time cycle, his own story.

As much as the Bhagavad Gita is a story that espouses the true nature of the universe via discussions surrounding war and the battlefield, so may be slaughterhouse five.

Nothing matters, yet everything is extremely important.


Buddhist Scriptures (Penguin Classics)
Buddhist Scriptures (Penguin Classics)
by Donald S. Lopez
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.98
112 used & new from $5.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great but BE WARNED:, February 19, 2015
Great volume, lots of sutras from the Theravada beginnings up to late Mahayana texts all arranged with helpful introductions.

One glaring flaw though: The author decided to leave no separate guide as to which sutra is which. Most books like this will have it in the table of contents or even have a separate table in the beginning or an appendix at the end of the book to guide the reader. For this one though you just have to flip through pages until you find the sutra you're looking for. It's kind of absurd really.

So instead of a table that says the name(s) of the sutras contained within he just made up his own cute little titles.

For example:

If you're looking for the text he included from "The Questions of Milinda (Milindapanha)" you'll just have to guess and flip around until you find out he put it under a section with his own fun little title "One Buddha Per Universe".

Or let's say you want to read the selection from the "Gandavyuha sutra" you'll flip around blindly until you stumble upon "Maya, Mother of The Buddha".

Good luck.


The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing
The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing
by Ken Cohen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.30
164 used & new from $0.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful guide book to keep on hand!, February 18, 2015
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A great guide to qigong, very comprehensive and informative. Mostly complete with a great deal of history, science and illustrations to teach proper qigong exercises. Cohen goes so far as to give guidelines for a healthy diet with lists of foods and where they fall in the qigong categorization system and gives sample qigong regimens one could do.

Great to keep on your shelf for a reference in your practice.

ONLY PROBLEM: For some reason this VERY comprehensive and well thought out book fails to have an illustration that maps out the meridians or even the dan tiens! I have no idea why. It's a very strange oversight really.


Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui
Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, a true treasure. One complaint though!, February 18, 2015
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Wonderful book! Actual letters from Zen master Ta Hui to his students. Extremely useful for a Zen student. Ta Hui was the student of the legendary Yuan Wu who wrote the Blue Cliff Record and the former is famous for having allegedly burned the wood blocks used for printing his masters work as he feared obsession with Koan study was hindering the progress of Zen. Yuan Wu's letters are also translated in another book entitled "Zen Letters" translated by J.C. Cleary and his brother Thomas Cleary.

One gripe though, J.C. Cleary, who is a FANTASTIC translator and I've never had a problem with before, says in the intro that he deliberately left some letters out because they referenced too many koans (public cases). I find this to be unacceptable and presumptuous on his part that I as a reader am incapable of understanding such information. Even if I was incapable of understanding I could still research all esoteric terminology and figure it out! "Public cases" are not hard to come by! Most can be found online for free in the many koan collections.

That being said, I don't know of any other translation of this work and so this is de facto the best there is.
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Jupiter Ascending (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD +UltraViolet  Combo Pack)
Jupiter Ascending (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD +UltraViolet Combo Pack)
DVD ~ Channing Tatum
Price: $29.99

3 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Going to have to cut myself just so I can feel something again after watching this anaesthetic movie., February 17, 2015
It was like a very bad Doctor Who episode stretched over two hours but without the saving grace of a vibrant and fun main character. Tatum played the lone wolf well enough in his rocket roller skates as a supporting actor since this type of character need not be very gripping. But Mila Kunis is completely empty and boring with almost no personality which is unacceptable for the main character in such a movie.

There are no physics in the movie, just crazy space fights that do not create any sense of danger at all. Like a disney movie. Yeah, this should have been edited a little, given a PG rating and Kunis could be the next Disney princess "Princess Jupiter".

There are no characters with enough depth to make a connection with. The movie fell so flat that I left the theater completely numb and am wondering how to feel again.

Sad really, The Matrix is on my top ten list and Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite movies, I have no idea where this horrid movie came from.


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack)
DVD ~ Ian McKellen
Price: $27.99
34 used & new from $17.76

19 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOPE, December 20, 2014
the first hobbit movie was cute and pleasant with some silliness, three stars.

the second was exciting and fun, four stars, however this hobbit failed in almost every way (side note for what it's worth i rate all three lord of the rings movies an easy five stars. i've read that trilogy, the hobbit and the silmarillion. They all get off the charts ratings beyond five stars).

it became like a looney toons film. absurd characters like the assistant to the lord of lake town, bizarre fight scene physics, hilarious characters with extremely strange movements and physiology in serious roles:

a giant goblin with maces for feet, a giant goblin who hammers down a wall with his head and passes out, a dwarf king who is 100% cg and takes out many enemies by head butting them when everyone else must use swords/hammers, etc.

and these are all during serious war scenes. it ruins the film. i found myself laughing out loud. sincere laughter, no sarcasm or exaggeration, i was just cracking up. and when you're cracking up at scenes that are supposed to be gripping and exciting it ruins the film.

it gets more than one star simply for the scene depicting gandalf, saruman, galadriel and elrond fighting in dol goldur.

other than that this movie has almost nothing to offer. it has made a mockery out of the series, surely indeliberately but still that's the case.

another gripe *begin minor spoiler*:

thorin for no reason whatsoever is affected by the gold in almost the exact same way that the ring of power affects people. why? i suppose they realized that there is nothing in the hobbit story that is as deep or gripping as the ring twisting the mind of it's owner and wanted to borrow the idea? in the book thorin becomes obsessed with the treasure sure, but he doesn't go completely mad, hallucinate, and have a mental showdown with himself. in the book he is as obsessed as any person could be with a vast treasure, nothing out of the ordinary. in the movie they went nuts with it.

*end minor spoiler*

all things aside, had it been only an hour and twenty minutes or so i would have been less annoyed and probably wouldn't have written this review! but it's two hours and twenty four minutes! that's a long time to watch a looney toons episode!


X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past
DVD
Price: $12.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top ten movies I've seen., May 26, 2014
Seemless blending of drama action and comedy. Enthralling plot. Relatively true to the source materials. PERFECTLY cast (especially michael Fassbender as magneto). Amazing special effects. It is a dazzling story stretching from 2020 to 1970's told through consciousness links and altered histories. The characters grow, change, and come alive on the screen.

Ill be watching it again.


The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel
DVD ~ Willem Dafoe
Price: $11.61
29 used & new from $7.61

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best wes yet, April 15, 2014
This review is from: The Grand Budapest Hotel (DVD)
It has the quirky characters and humor of his other films but is harmonized and balanced with a serious plot involving crime, death, and action and is perfectly tuned by an expertly written main character who inspires hope in the idea that man can in fact be good. It is absolutely inspiring and beautifully written. I nearly cried at the end simply from being moved by the entire piece as opposed to what normally evokes tears in a film such as tragedy.


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