Book Review: Daring Steps, Traversing the Path of the Buddha

“Daring Steps: Traversing the Path of the Buddha”
Written by Ringu Tulku
Published by Snow Lion Publications

I’ve read quite a few books that try to break down the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism, but truly believe that “Daring Steps…” is one of the most explicit books I’ve read on the subject to date.

The section on empowerments really helped me understand the meaning and purpose behind them, as well as transmission. I’ve received a couple different empowerments, and understood the practices at the time. But, being a noob there were still some questions I always held in the back of my mind.

“Daring Steps…” is a great overview of the three yanas (Shravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana) as well. What I liked though, is the fact Ringu Tulku did not try to separate them all. He says they are all dependent and independent of each other, and as crazy as that sounded at the time of reading it, it makes perfect sense now.

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Tibetan Buddhist/ supporter Yauch of Beastie Boys wins battle against cancer

From Palyul

A longtime supporter of Tibet and member of Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch, has won his eighteen month long battle against cancer. The singer, also known as MCA, was diagnosed with cancer in July 2009 after which the band’s album “Hot Sauce Committee, Part 1” was delayed indefinitely.

Yauch underwent a surgery in July 2009 to remove a cancerous tumor from his left parotid gland. In September 2009, he visited Dharamsala, the headquarters of the exile Tibetan government and the home to the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama. During his visit, Yauch consulted Tibetan doctors of traditional Tibetan medicine. In an email update to the Beastie Boys’ official fan list in 2009, Yauch said, “I’m taking Tibetan medicine and at the recommendation of the Tibetan doctors I’ve been eating a vegan/organic diet.” He was spotted at a teaching of His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the same trip.

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Book Review: The Four Immeasurables

The Four Immeasurables: Practices to Open the Heart
Written by B. Alan Wallace
Published by Snow Lion Publications

“The Four Immeasurables: Practices to Open the Heart” is a compendious study of the four immeasurables, the precursor to generating bodhichitta, a core piece in Tibetan Buddhist teachings.

For those unfamiliar with the four immesaurables, which can be written or recited in various ways, they are as follows…

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger 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: The Courage To Feel

“The Courage To Feel”
by Rob Preece
Published by Snow Lion Publications

“A therapist may bring all manner of skills and understanding into the therapeutic relationship, but if compassion is missing, a fundamental catalyst for healing is absent.”

Rob Preece brings together psychology  from a Jungian perspective and Tibetan Buddhist practices of compassionate contemplation/ meditation in a way that is not only easily understood, but easy to incorporate into one’s own practice.

“The Courage To Feel” is a veritable handbook for practices such as exchanging self for others, tonglen and delving deep into the idea of recognizing all beings as motherly beings.

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A Response to my post for the Vlog Swap

In response to my video on the most recent blog (vlog) swap, I wanted to take a little more time to explain in detail why, and how, I am where I am now on the path. For the past 4 1/2 years, minus some assistance from some dharma friends, I’ve been “unaffiliated” with any Buddhist group. Until this point, I really and truly thought it would stay that way.

Recently, I was even quoted in Buddhadharma magazine about my non-affiliation…

Individual practice is definitely a plus sometimes, because we are not following someone just for the sake of having a teacher. On the other hand, though, we can get stuck and need help. I know my practice has gone stale from time to time and I’ve had a question or two to ask. I’ve reached out to many people—through the internet, phone calls, and attending dharma talks—and asked some close friends who are also on the path.

A teacher can be found anywhere. I know, because my main teachers, or “root gurus” as they are sometimes called, are my children. I learn many things from them, such as patience, compassion, and right speech.

To sum it up, individual practice can be very enlightening, but sometimes we need a nudge or some guidance from someone who may have traveled a bit farther along the path. The great thing is, we can take the advice and implement it, or reflect on it to make sure it is right for us. Regardless, the fact of the matter is it’s up to us how we do it. But the key is doing it!

I’ve been to teachings from a range of Buddhist schools, from Korean Kwan Um Zen, Zen from the Thich Nhat Hanh perspective, Theravada/ Insight Meditation and Tibetan. I’ve been on two retreats, one with the Kwan Um school and the other, more recently, at Insight Meditation Society. At various points, I thought I had found a path, maybe it was just the bliss from the experiences I was having (as you’ll see from the posts linked).

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DVD Review: Blessings

Blessings: The Tsonkyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet
Chariot Videos

“Blessings” is a truly enlightening journey into an extraordinary world not as well known as the rest of the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition. A group of Western woman travel to various nunneries tucked away in the mountains of Tibet, not only to record an esoteric, spiritual culture, but to learn what it means to push forward, no matter who you are.

During the Chinese invasion and brutal takeover of Tibet, many of the nunneries filmed in this documentary were completely destroyed. Countless nuns were killed, placed in work camps or retreated to caves to hide and practice. After coming out of hiding, nuns began rebuilding, brick by brick– by themselves.

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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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