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The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness Paperback – May 27, 2008
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The New York Times Bestseller!
“Compelling, readable, and informed.”
“Rinpoche’s investigations into the science of happiness are woven into an accessible introduction to Buddhism”
“There is real wisdom here. Fresh and clear. Mingyur Rinpoche has offered us what may well be an essential link between the Buddha and contemporary neuroscience and physics. He effortlessly makes connections between seemingly disparate and complex disciplines, and makes the journey sparkle. His voice is generous, intimate, and refreshingly personal. As he repeatedly reminds us, our experience of ourselves and our world is none other than an interactive projection of our mind; and most important, our minds can change. Our neurons can change structure and function, merely by observing the flow of our mental activity. Through repeated familiarity with positive mind states, such as love and compassion, and by transforming our limiting mental conceptualizing into vast freedom, we can achieve the already present basic mind of clarity and knowing—true happiness. Read this book.”
“An extraordinarily clear book on the whys and the hows of cultivating mindfulness effectively in our lives. It makes use of the idiom and exciting discoveries of modern science in ways that are easy to understand and entirely relevant to the meditation practices themselves.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Coming to Our Senses and vice-chair of the Mind and Life Institute
“The first of its kind . . . a truly compelling and infinitely practical fusion of Tibetan Buddhism and scientific ideas. Mingyur Rinpoche is a teacher for our time, uniquely gifted to bridge these two worlds.”
—Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
“It is extraordinary to see the words lineage, compassion, spacetime foam, and limbic resonance all in the same book. . . . The Joy of Living is a personal, readable, and wonderfully warm and clear guide to changing the way we see ourselves and the world.”
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
“Mingyur Rinpoche is a charismatic teacher with a heart and smile of gold. The clarity, humor, and wisdom of his stories and teachings are collected in this book, and it will always be with me as a most valued companion. This is one of those rare books where you meet the author and learn from his radiance.”
“A beautiful tapestry of Buddhist insight woven together with modern science, this book is a landmark in the development of a contemplative neuroscience . . . a must-read for anyone interested in the causes and consequences of happiness.”
—Richard J. Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry and Director, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
A rising star among the new generation of Tibetan masters, YONGEY MINGYUR RINPOCHE is an internationally known and respected teacher of Buddhist philosophy and meditation techniques.
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Personal history: For 7 years I have been practicing meditation and studying Buddhist texts, and going to the occasional retreat.
In my humble opinion, after reading upwards of 70 books on Buddhist meditation styles, and sitting in meditation for well over a thousand hours, this book is the best I have come across yet for me.
The reason this is the case for me is that this author is a new type of Tibetan Buddhist, he is of the lineage of Tibetan Buddhism but he is involved closely with modern science' investigation into insight meditation and related subjects. This union of Tibetan meditation practices and Buddhist philosophy with Western science resources of investigation, along with the excellent writing ability of writer Eric Swanson, has produced a tome that "enlightened" me to the practical nature of and the outcome of insight meditation to produce wisdom and happiness.
This one humbly feels he is "home" now. May all beings achieve happiness, peace and wisdom.
Frankly, the science portion of the book (maybe the first third) is great for what it is, but the real gold comes from the author's gentle, encouraging and empowering words on meditation. I found myself thoroughly persuaded by his argument that all of us have the choice to be happy in this world. Beyond just words, Mingyur Rinpoche provides the actual instructions for finding inner peace.
After reading the book I was inspired to start a daily meditation practice, which has provided me with much greater perspective on my life, with less stress over the daily nonsense we are all consumed with 99% of the time. Reading this is a step in the right direction for anyone looking to get more enjoyment and meaning from their life.
As others have maybe said, this book is geared mostly towards people without too much experience with meditation, although I believe it would be of benefit to practitioners of all levels.
It includes some basics of the neuroscience behind meditation, which I appreciated, being a scientist myself. I also liked that the author included his own life story and his problems with anxiety before he became a practiced meditator.
"The mind is the source of all expereince, and by changing the direction of the mind, we can change the quality of everything we experience. When you transform your mind, everything you experience is transformed."
The book is divided into three parts. Part one is "The Ground". To trully understand the benefits of meditation, you need to understand how the mind works and what we need to do to make it work for us. Here Yongey goes into great detail to explain the different parts of the brain and their function. He also enlightens the reader with the movement of scientific research concerning the mind and how the Eastern and Western thoughs are moving toward the same goal.
Part two is The Path. Here Yongey gives detailed instructions on the various methods of meditating. His explanations are very easy to understand and follow. Unlike many books I have read on meditation, he tries to make it simple and workable. He is not so much concerned with technique as he is with results.
Part three is The Fruits. This is simply a recap of the benefits to be gained from meditation.
Even if you never plan to do any formal meditation, there is a lot to be learned from this book. Basically we grow up thinking in dualistic terms - that is self vs others, mine vs theirs, having or not having. When we think this way, we are bound by limitations. This way of thinking is a habit and habits can be changed.
There are basically two concepts that cause the majority of our problems - attachment and aversion. We become attached to the way we want things to be and have an aversion to change. The lessons about reality and preception are extremely good.
Do not expect to read this book once and become enlightened. There are many concepts that will take time to sink in and become part of your way of thinking. It is a book that will need to be studied and the concepts put into practice to give you the ultimate - The Joy of Living.