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174 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book with heart, July 1, 2003
This review is from: Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha (Hardcover)
'A book with heart.'
In the 25 centuries since the Buddha's enlightenment under the tree in northern India, his teachings have taken on unique expressions as they spread from India and throughout Asia. The core of the teachings kept their integrity and directness, but the forms and expressions they took both helped shape and were shaped by the cultures and pre-existing traditions in these countries.
As the Buddha's teachings have spread to the West-particularly in the last two generations-a similarly fascinating encounter is at work. Westerners have the opportunity to read, explore, and practice in a variety of Buddhist traditions-Tibetan, Zen, Insight meditation and others. At the same time, Buddhism in the West is being shaped by our own social, political, cultural, and scientific history of recent centuries-so already Buddhism here looks less monastic, more gender equal, more focused on the inner search for truth than on external rites and rituals, and more agnostic on questions that are not so easily testable by our own direct experience, e.g., reincarnation.
The spiritual marketplace is rich with the extraordinary contributions of Westerners who have spent extensive time in Asia studying with teachers there and coming back to share their wisdom-Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Christopher Titmuss, to name just some of those teaching in the Insight meditation tradition. They have all succeeded in taking these perennial wisdom teachings and expressing them in a language that is accessible to Westerners from many walks of life and spiritual backgrounds.
Tara Brach's `Radical Acceptance: Embracing your Life with the Heart of a Buddha' is a wonderful continuation of this still-new encounter. As a Buddhist meditation teacher and a psychotherapist, Brach is well placed to bring the wisdom and compassion of Buddhist teachings together with the insights and understandings of psychotherapy. But this is not a slam-dunk. Ancient wisdom teachings mixed with Western therapeutic approaches can come out as New Age pablum. Brach succeeds by staying true to the Buddha's statement: "I teach one thing and one thing alone: suffering and its end.' She finds much of our suffering in the West in our own lack of worth or worthiness and sees that happiness, contentment, and awakening must come through a full and loving acceptance of who we are-rather than trying to escape from, avoid, or transcend our fears, desire, and longings.
`Radical Acceptance' is a book full of heart, full of the desire for all of us, all beings, to realize our true potential, our true nature, our Buddha nature. It is replete with stories from Brach's own experience that do not put her on a pedestal-`the teacher: be like her'-but say clearly that these fears, this lust, this anger, greed, the pleasant and unpleasant emotions and states of mind... are in our natures as humans, and happiness and ultimate freedom come through accepting and embracing them and seeing that they are not `me' or `mine.'
`Radical Acceptance' is a deeply kind and generous contribution to a suffering world. Truly a book with heart.
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