Book Review: Complete Idiot’s Guide To Buddhism

“Complete Idiot’s Guide To Buddhism, Third Edition”
by Gary Gach
Published by Alpha

I’ve searched around a bit in my years of following the Buddhist path for a book that explains a little about alot. Meaning, The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Buddhism is a vast wealth of knowledge, from Zen to Tibetan Buddhism, Pureland to Nichiren there’s something for everyone.

While it may not be the most literary book written, it’s written in a way any of us “idiot’s” can understand. This being the third edition of “Complete Idiot’s Guide To Buddhism”, it obviously has had some revisions. Not only did it have a different author, but Gary Gach revisited and edited nearly a third of the book updating quite a bit of it.

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Book Review: Buddha’s Wish For The World

“Buddha’s Wish For The World” by Monshu Koshin Ohtani
Published by American Buddhist Studies Press

This book was my first introduction to Shin Buddhism, which all together, didn’t seem very much different from the other Buddhist schools I have read about and studied. The major difference is the belief that after leaving this existence, we are brought to another plane of existence known as the Pure Land. I am still a newbie on the Pure Land idea, so I can’t say too much about it. I do know that I enjoyed this idea, that there are no need for precepts, we are always bound to break them whether we mean to or not. It’s the constant awareness to not act upon the things we are vowing not to engage in that seem to be of more importance than the vow itself. Maybe I am misunderstanding though.

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Book Review: Less

“Less: Accomplishing More By Doing Less” by Marc Lesser
Published by New World Library

“Though we often associate busyness with activity and speed, and lack of busyness with stopping or slowing down, this is not always the case. It is possible to be actively engaged and not be busy. Not being “busy” does not require that you stop, slow down or step out of the activity of your life.”

Marc Lesser has written a true gem of a book/ instruction manual on ways to straighten out the unnecessary, self-produced busyness of our lives, so we can in turn really live our lives and achieve the goals we have for ourselves. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t some life coach mumbo jumbo, Marc’s experience is tried and true.

Marc is a Zen teacher, over 30 years of practicing under his belt, plus he has an MBA from New York University. He currently coaches those in the corporate world on how to communicate more effectively and is also a corporate facilitator coach.

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Middle Road: Clutter

nullFunny, I was looking at the Buddhist section in the local book store, and really didn’t find anything that struck me. So I left empty handed, an unusual circumstance.

Working at the library I have the ability to see tons of new books coming in and one happened to catch my eye, “Clutter Busting”. I have always had a problem with to much stuff. I married a woman with similar problems. Hers is Genetic I think. Mine is I am a Pack Rat.

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Book Review/ Interview: Saltwater Buddha

Ed. Note- At the end of this book review please check out the interview I was able to do with Jaimal. I had a good time with it and thank him for taking time out to do it for Precious Metal!

Saltwater Buddha
written by Jaimal Yogis
Published by Wisdom Publications

More and more we’re seeing books published that parallel one’s lifestyle with the teachings of the Buddha. Jaimal’s life as a surfer and Zen practitioner meld together as if they were meant to go hand in hand. It’s not just the surfing and the Zen, his life in general parallels someone we all know, Buddha.

While a youngster, like Buddha, Jaimal became dissatisfied and went on a search to find something larger than himself. When faced with adversity and thoughts of potential failure, rather than give in he overcame the obstacles. In certain cases, he excelled right past them, focused and aware of his intentions.

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Book Review: Wisdom 2.0

wisdom2coverWisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected
written by Soren Gordhamer
Published by HarperOne

As the 20th Century was put to rest, and we ushered in the 21st, we’ve seen massive technological advances. Whether it be faster and more stable computers & internet connections, Blackberries, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and even recently Amazon launched it’s Kindle. We’ve been overwhelmed by technology, whether we have come to terms with it or not.

Wisdom 2.0 teaches valuable lessons on relinquishing the grasp our new attachment to technology has on us, and what we can do to slow down the need to be constantly plugged in all the time. I for one am a HUGE techno-abuser, whether I’m right here typing away, checking my Facebook, E-mail (incessantly) I’m nearly always plugged in.

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Book Review/ Interview: Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate

Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate written by Brad Warner
Published by New World Library

Ed. Note- At the end of this book review is a brief interview I was able to do with Brad over the past day or two via e-mail. As you may or may not know, he is a week deep into his book tour, so I thank him for taking the time to answer some of my banter…

Firstly let me say this, for those that don’t think this book was one that needed to be written, it did indeed need to be written and I’ll explain. In a world where we put “masters” and “teachers” on pedestals (or on mountaintops) and think they are infallible, this book dispels that myth. Brad Warner very much so is a “zen master” in today’s world, his dharma transmission is not only legit but is irrefutable.

Brad shatters the image we have of what we think a “zen master” should be like. His life is not unlike mine or yours, he breathes the same air we do, and deals with the same problems we all deal with, and this book details those things. I think the book is very relevant in the 21st century world of Buddhism and I recommend you give it some time to read through.

In “Zen Wrapped In…” Brad opens up to the readers and goes to great lengths to tell the story of his most recent past. He details the passing of his mother, his grandmother, the downfall and eventual end of his marriage as well as issues he has at work and more.

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Book Review: The Jewel Trader Of Pegu

jeweltraderThe Jewel Trader of Pegu: A Novel written by Jeffrey Hantover
Published by Harper Collins

Jeffrey Hantover weaves an interesting tale of a Jewish man, Abraham, whose world has collapsed around him. Both his wife and son have passed away, leaving him lost in a familiar surrounding. He decides to travel from his comfortable land in Europe to the unfamiliar area of Pegu located in Burma.

Abraham’s task while in Pegu is to set up shop as a jewel trader, gain a large sum of money, and travel back with this new found fortune. Upon his arrival in Pegu, Abraham is quite closed and nearly pessimistic in how perceives what the future holds for him there. He looks at the native people and their culture as “heathens” and can’t quite grasp the Buddhist customs.

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Opening a window to a culture unlike that in U.S.

From Portland Press Herald – Jaed Coffin’s childhood in Brunswick was typical of his peers but with one big difference: His mother was an ethnic Thai woman who’d married his American father during the Vietnam War.

That fact may not seem terribly significant at first. Coffin’s mother, a nurse and single mom during her son’s growing up years in the 1980s and 1990s, didn’t teach Jaed or his older sister the Thai language, or raise them to be Buddhists. Coffin excelled in school, then went to Middlebury College to study philosophy.

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