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Turning the Mind into an Ally Hardcover – January 6, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Is the mind our enemy? It can be, suggests Shambhala International's director Mipham in his first book. The key to peaceful and sane living, says Mipham, is training our minds. Without that training, people live "at the mercy of our moods." Meditation is the tool that can help spiritual seekers master, rather than be mastered by, their own minds. This book blends a philosophically savvy explanation of why meditation is necessary with an artful and accessible introduction to the basics of meditation. Mipham moves elegantly from the prosaic (how to sit with a straight spine) to the profound (why one should bravely contemplate illness, aging and death). Indeed, those practicing spiritual disciplines from any tradition-Christian, Wiccan, and so forth-could benefit from Mipham's commonsense approach to meditation. He acknowledges, for example, that the tyro might get bored, distracted or even hungry for a cookie. New meditators are likely to find a million and one excuses for not meditating. But, says Mipham gently, "at some point you just have to sit down and do it." Mipham's guide is distinguished by its intelligible prose; unlike many fellow travelers, he does not drown his reader in jargon. He defines Buddhist basics, like "samsara" and "karma," clearly. Three useful appendices, outlining meditation postures and giving simple instructions for contemplation, round out the book, and a foreword by Pema Chodron is an added treat. This easy read is one of the best of the Buddhism-for-Westerners genre.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Mipham is director of Shambhala International, an umbrella organization representing over 100 meditation and study centers that was founded by his father, the renowned spiritual leader Chogyam Trungpa. His first book offers basic guidelines to meditation or peaceful abiding for those interested in learning more about Buddhist meditation. His instruction and discussion of the virtues of peaceful abiding are followed by suggestions for thematic contemplative meditations on topics such as birth, old age, and death. Having grown up in the United States but with traditional Tibetan training, Mipham is able to connect the traditional practice with the Western mind-set. He also brings a youthful spirit to his writing, with frequent use of outdoor sports (e.g., horseback riding, archery, golf, and hiking) to embellish his teachings metaphorically. Unfortunately, this work lacks the passion and depth so notable in his father's writings, and the text breaks little new ground. Those new to Tibetan Buddhism will find more inspirational reading in books by the Dalai Lama, and there is more in-depth instruction on Tibetan meditation practices in works such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's A Meditation Handbook. Recommended for libraries with large Buddhist collections.
--Annette Haines, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Written for people with little or no knowledge of, or experience in, the art and science of meditation, the book is simply the best how to and to what end book of its kind in the market. Sakyong Mipham writes with uncommon clarity for western as well as eastern consumption, and his illustrative examples bring the basic principles and procedures of "peaceful abiding" to life--out of the world of theory and into that of practical application. (This review is also published on frankzahn (dot) com.
The author uses a clever horse analogy throughout the book and brings it all together with an extraordinary and delightfully skilled culmination. I had to stop and take a deep breath and contemplate on how much thought went into weaving this teaching and metaphor summarizing the lesson with a beautiful mind picture in less than two paragraphs.
I have read and reviewed many great books on Mindfulness meditation. This book takes that meditation to another level of Shamatha and Contemplative meditations for "Turning the Mind Into an Ally," discovering truth, appreciating life and becoming an example for others to emulate.
It is by far worth much more than a 5-star review! Buy it now. You will be glad you did!
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