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Customer Review

100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something wonderful is happening in the West!, March 25, 2009
This review is from: Don't Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions (Audio CD)
-This book represents something wonderful happening with Eastern spirituality during its exile. Gradually, teachers are finding ways to communicate deep spiritual concepts, in a way that Westerners can really understand and find the "juice". This CD deals with a fundamental Buddhist concept, "attachment". I've been aware of this term for many years, but it didn't really mean much to me at all.
-Buddhists are supposed to eliminate their "attachments", but what does this mean? Should you abandon your loved ones? Leave the healthy things in your life that you love the most? It doesn't mean that!
-Working with her guru, Ani Pema has found language to explain the concept of attachment to Americans. Our attachments are not the objects of our love, but the way that happenings in our life "hook" us. A driver cuts you off, and calls you a "meathead!", say. Within less than a second, you are in a rage. You may even "see red"--yes, seeing red is a possible human physical experience of anger. Assuming you restrain yourself from retaliating, for the next few hours your mind is a turmoil of anger, revenge fantasies, thoughts of what you should have done, self- recrimination perhaps, and a deeply buried sick feeling you may not even be aware of.
-You've been "hooked"! Deep emotional and behavioral patterns have been triggered, so fast that you couldn't dodge them. Ani Pema shows how to do the hard work of coming to terms with these reactions, so you can walk through the world doing a bit less damage, leaving a more beautiful footprint. This can be a labor of years, no mistake. But through this CD you can see clear to the end of where you're going, and start on a path you can understand somewhat, and which becomes much clearer the further you go.
-There is a Buddhist joke about a Samurai who comes to a Zen monk and asks what "hell" and "heaven" are. The Buddhist starts insulting the Samurai and the Samurai pulls out his sword to kill him. The monk says "That's hell." The Samurai experiences a moment of awakening. The monk says "That's heaven."
-Your habitual and naive reactions are a good way of understanding one aspect of the concept of "Karma", your inherited and unconsciously built up destructive behavior. Karma is not a mystical concept of "fate". In fact, Buddhists emphasize that your destiny isn't unchangeable.
-One reviewer here comments that this shows you how not to engage with these thoughts. In fact, you DO engage with them--you just don't give them complete power over you. You come to terms with your deeper self including your faults. You may feel disgust at being so subject to manipulation by events, but you can then apply "loving kindness" to yourself, not excusing your mistakes, but coming to terms with your true self as a loving parent might help you to do. Anger itself isn't bad. In fact, many times it is fully "justified", Lord knows. But losing your mind because of it is something to avoid.
-You might like to know that anger will still hurt, after you have taken most of its power over you. Buddhists are not invulnerable. In fact they must expose their tender, awakened hearts to suffering, in order to learn the lessons of their lives.
-Anger is one example of an attachment. There are many others, including the sick idea that you must never lose your loved ones, because you will then fall apart. Everything in life passes, but there is always room for love without self-deception.
- There is nothing in these CDs to offend other religions. Nothing urges you to convert to the Buddhist religion (if it is a religion at all.) Christians can practice these down-to-earth spiritual exercises, and become better Christians through doing so. I'm a Christian myself. Catholics may like to know that some of the Dalai Lama's books on spiritual exercises have received the Imprimatur.
-Intellectual understanding isn't enough; you have to practice these ideas to understand them fully. If you want to move from dry concepts to fresh, vital, "juicy" experience and deep understanding, this CD is a wonderful start.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 4, 2011 9:38:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2011 9:39:08 AM PDT
Cynthia says:
Thank you and bless you for a loving review. I will get this book/cd and start my journey toward peace. Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2011 2:38:27 PM PDT
Your comment is very touching. If you go on this path with dedication, the act of starting with sincere aspiration will be a major step toward becoming happier.

I think there is one kind of prayer that has the best chance of being answered: praying to find a wonderful quality latent in one's own self, such as courage, generosity, happiness, and a decent, appropriate, unconditional, self-love (not indulgent, clear-sighted, warm and encouraging, never giving up on one's self.) Like the ideal parent most of us didn't have.

Bless you, as well!

Posted on Feb 23, 2015 7:46:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 23, 2015 7:51:11 PM PST
JNagarya says:
If you continue your studies of Buddhism, you'll find it is not -- as defined in the West -- a "religion," because -- in Western terms -- a "religion" has a "God". Buddhism doesn't posit a "God"; instead it prescribes a radically individual responsibility -- with no place to shift it onto.

(Think of the football player who scores a touchdown: he "thanks the Lord". But what does he do if instead he fumbles? He blames himself. What does that -- giving responsibility for everything good that happens in one's life to someone else; blaming oneself for all the bad that happens in one's life -- do to one's self-esteem?)

Buddhism is at core, according to an American monk, psychology and values. It is an exceedingly mature system of ethics -- which one applies in one's life first and foremost to one's relationship with oneself.

It is also a "mental health" method: insight meditation is a process of digesting one's "unfinished business"; and during that, correcting whatever misconceptions that arise. That includes, of course, dealing with the "negative" emotions, such as repressed/suppressed anger.

Anyone can gain from Buddhism, regardless their "religion," and without any "conversion from and to," with no harm whatsoever to whatever one's "religion".

Yours is a good review, by the way. For much more -- and free -- Buddhist materials, in excellent English translation, check out --

accesstoinsight dot org.

Though that website is located in New England, if you were to research Buddhist websites around the world, including in Asia, you would find it at the top of their links: it is that excellent. And all the materials provided are wholly free.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2015 8:41:51 PM PST
If you continue YOUR studies of Buddhism, you may learn to be less aggressive and patronizing. My time in the monastery taught me that, but as you see I can still be irritable. Please forgive MY aggressiveness.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2015 2:46:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2015 2:52:12 AM PST
JNagarya says:
"Aggressiveness"!? How is that different from assertiveness?

"Patronizing"!? Where did you say that you had been in a monastery? Am I to be impressed by that?

Okay, I'll briefly play:

Your time in the monastery taught you that you were aggressive and patronizing? Being taught is obviously not the same as learning that which one is taught.

Perhaps you should work on your self image instead of accusing me of being your superior.

Otherwise, your review -- which I quite appreciate, and therefore endeavored to affirm -- would be easier to read if you put a space between paragraphs.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2015 11:27:40 PM PST
Yes, you were meant to be impressed by that.
Paragraphing is kind of funny in html.
I apologize that you got my goat. You ARE being aggressive and patronizing though. However, please, let's forget this ever happened. None of us needs a flame war, and I for one will no longer fight one.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2015 12:45:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 28, 2015 12:47:47 AM PST
JNagarya says:
Your effort to impress is patronizing. Were I ego-centered I'd be impressed; I am not.

And your jumping down my throat was aggressive.

Stop the projection.

Paragraphing is not difficult at all: one only need press "Enter" twice at the end of the paragraph.

Posted on Jul 30, 2015 10:54:46 PM PDT
"Hooked," line and sinker.

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