Book Review: Why I Am A Buddhist

“Why I Am A ¬†Buddhist: No-Nonsense Buddhism with Red Meat and Whiskey”
Written by Stephen Asma PhD
Published by Hampton Roads

Stephen T. Asma has a PhD in Philosophy and is currently teaching Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Humanities at Columbia College Chicago. He currently holds the “title” of Distinguished Scholar at Columbia as well.

I saw the PhD at the end of Stephen’s name, and based on my own assumptions and aversion to reading “technical” Buddhist books, I was pleasantly surprised that this book was not a textbook or some overly confusing book written a language most of us don’t speak. I am by no stretch saying it is a simple book either, what I am saying it is understandable and enjoyable. Continue reading →

Book Review: Rebel Buddha

“Rebel Buddha”
By Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Published By Shambhala Publications

This has got to be the most clear and concise take on Buddhism for the Western audience. Without all the buzzwords and mysticism, DPR breaks down the facade many folks in the West have of Buddhism and other Eastern religions/ philosophies.

“Rebel Buddha” briefly tells the story of DPR’s upbringing. From the revolutionary 60’s to the current status of the West, his insights and instruction are distinct. I love his comparison to the age of the US to that of a young child, still asking questions and still trying to find our identity and direction in the world, “Who am I?”

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Book Review: Buddhist Warfare

Buddhist Warfare
by Michael Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer
Published by Oxford University Press

I was really interested in reading this book. I had read a couple reviews and thought it’d be worth checking out. I always prefer to hear both sides of a story, and as we all know, there are always two sides to a story.

The description, and intent, of the book says, “Though traditionally regarded as a peaceful religion, Buddhism has a dark side. On multiple occasions over the past fifteen centuries, Buddhist leaders have sanctioned violence, and even war. The eight essays in this book focus on a variety of Buddhist traditions, from antiquity to the present, and show that Buddhist organizations have used religious images and rhetoric to support military conquest throughout history.”

I did feel like this book was more of an attack on Buddhism than it was an expos√® on violence in the Buddhist realm. I understand the idea behind it, to tear down the veil and mysticism and bring Buddhism down to earth for those that are “hypnotized” by the peacefulness of the religion. I also felt like the writers/ editors compiled this stuff to intentionally smear those involved in Buddhism. The funny thing is though, those “in the know” already know there is, and has been, violence in Buddhism.

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Book Review: Golf’s Three Noble Truths

“Golf’s Three Noble Truths”
by James Rogonnet
Published via New World Library

The Three Noble Truths of Golf are:

  • Awareness
  • Balance
  • Unity
  • To be honest, when I first received this book I was caught off guard. I asked myself “how could golf, of all things, relate at all to Buddhism?” That was before I had no knowledge of golf, not that I am proficient in it now, but after reading this book I understand the parallels James was trying to help us understand.

    “Golf’s Three Noble Truths” is an interesting take on combining the solitary sport of golf, which can very much so be a game played inside one’s mind before ever hitting the ball off of the tee.

    “Relaxation means the absence of activity. When time stops, that’s relaxation. In relaxation the only moment is the now moment. Don’t spend your energy on the past or future. Focus on the action of the moment. Trade activity for action.”

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    Deadly Light “Six Walls” review/ interview

    I recently had the opportunity to hear a great new band. Max from Deadly Light sent me a message via Facebook filling me in on who they are and what they do.

    From their website:

    Deadly Light writes loud, metal-infused, cinematic songs dealing with the nature of consciousness and the search for meaning.

    Being a huge fan of metal I was really looking forward to checking them out. Max sent me a digital copy of their EP “Six Walls” and I’ve been listening to it ever since. Yes, it’s not death metal, don’t be shocked here… I like ALL forms of metal.

    There are elements of many different bands here, from the layered sound of bands like Paradise Lost, dirge like riffs of Sunno))), the quirkiness of Voivod and more. There’s a bit here for every metal fan.

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    Book Review: Dream Yoga

    “Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light”
    by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
    Published by Snow Lion Publications

    Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is one of the world’s leading master’s in the Dzogchen tradition. Born in Tibet, and recognized as two mind stream emanations, Norbu’s youth was jam packed with studies, empowerments, retreats, etc. Today his teachings reach a wide audience. Although his mainstay is in Italy he holds retreats all over the world. Some of his teaching styles are quite revolutionary in the Tibetan Buddhist world. There are a few who do this, but Norbu not only teaches via the web but also gives teacher to student transmission via the web as well. I have been lucky enough to have tuned in to a couple so far.

    “Dream Yoga…” is a new concept to me and I am very grateful to have received the book for review here. Norbu teaches through various techniques, how not only to control our dreams but to bring our practice into the dream world. It is believed, as Norbu explains, that practice in this dream state is that more effective and meaningful because our minds are more focused on one thing at a time.

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    His Eminence Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche passes away His Eminence Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche passes away

    From The Buddhist Channel

    His Eminence Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, passed away today at 5:45am April 12th, India time, in Dharamsala, India. Lati Rinpoche was 88 years old.

    The renowned Rinpoche, passed away peacefully in his residence unexpectedly with only slight stomach trouble as a symptom. He was not hospitalized.

    It was reported that he had circumambulated His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s temple just prior to his passing. Rinpoche’s body is currently still warm and in a meditative state (bardo). His body will be brought back to Mundgod for his fire puja (cremation).

    Lati Rinpoche was recognized as a reincarnation of a great practitioner and became a monk at the age of 10.

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    Shadows Fall: Thoughts Without Words

    I’m more of a cookie monster vocals type of death metal but I’ve have liked Shadows Fall since hearing them years back at the Palladium when they were opening up for much larger bands. They have bands opening for them now though. Anyway, I’ve been listening to a bit more of them mainly because people have mentioned how they have a “Buddhist” inspired lyrics.

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