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A Light in the Mind Paperback – March 19, 2010
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A Light in the Mind is wonderful. Its clear, down-to-earth approach makes the book easy to read and understandable. Chapter 12 says it all. It speaks of home, of coming home to the essence of practice, to turning on a light in the mind. Carolyn Atkinson writes beautifully about the essence of practice. --Sue Dirksen
This book is clear, simple, kind, and tough-minded--all at once. In each of the twelve chapters, Carolyn Atkinson shows us how to find the courage to face our lives, just as they are. This beautifully written book is a wonderful tool for self-acceptance, something which, as her teacher Kobun Chino Otogawa said, "is the hardest thing to do." An outstanding book in every respect! --Ryuchi Daicixin
About the Author
Carolyn Atkinson, a Dharma Heir and Lineage Holder of the late Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi, is Head Teacher at Everyday Dharma Zen Center in Santa Cruz, California. She also teaches at Stiftung Felsentor in Switzerland. She has been practicing Zen Buddhist meditation since 1973, and has also studied in the Vipassana tradition. After training in San Francisco and China, she practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine for twenty years. She is the mother of two grown sons. She is also the author of Quiet Mind Open Heart, also available on Amazon.
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Atkinson doesn't lack credentials in Buddhist theory. She's a Dharma Heir and Lineage Holder of the late Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi. She's practiced Zen Buddhist meditation since 1973 and has also studied in the Vipassana tradition. She's the head teacher at Everyday Dharma Zen Center in Santa Cruz, California and she also teaches at Stiftung Felsentor in Switzerland.
What makes her a popular teacher is what makes her a remarkable author: she brings the theories to life. Take her explanation of the three marks of existence, commonly translated as suffering, impermanence and egolessness:
"So here is the basic perspective: one thing to KNOW--life is made up of all our experiences, both good and bad, and it simply is what it is; one thing to LEARN--it will all keep changing; and one thing to DO--don't take it all so very personally."
This appears in the introduction and it's followed by 12 delightful chapters that open up basic Buddhist concepts and turn them into useful tools we can understand and apply every day, anywhere, with friends, family, colleagues and the driver of the car that just cut you off on the freeway.
The book seems simple because it's so clear, but the stories and ideas keep coming back to me time after time, as I navigate the intricacies of my daily life. It's truly a survival guide.
Creating a light in (and on) the mind allows us to introduce a little space around our constant reviewing and rehearsing -- space in which to live today's life today.
The stories of stories (the cookies-in-the-airport story made me smile and think for weeks) are all thought-provoking, recognizable, and replete with the humor that is such a wonderful component of a view of life that lessens our suffering.
I love this book. I recommend it highly.