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4.4 out of 5 stars
Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Personal Spiritual Life
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 7, 2009
I have mixed feelings about this book...

I do think this is a good book for those how still believe in their existing faith but perhaps have lost their way from their spirituality. Lama Surya Das provides many inspirational Buddhist practices to bring the Western-reader back to their spirituality without having to loose their existing religion.

For practicing Buddhists, I think you may find some value in reading this book, but perhaps there are many other books solely for Buddhism with its own special practices.

I enjoyed reading Part 1: Matters of the Spirit, which Lama Surya Das briefly touches on some of the Buddhists practices and truths. He, also, blends God and Buddhism quite nicely, for those who believe in God.

I didn't particularly like Part 2: Approaches to Spiritual Practice. I did find a few gems of practice, so it was still worth the read for those, but mostly I thought there was a lot of fluff. Plus I found the text was laden with Lama Surya Das' opinions. Some...a little outlandish. Without going into too much boring detail, I've give two quick examples: Lama Surya Das states that people should only do hatha yoga poses for spirituality, not for just exercise. That seems like a silly statement, as we all know every one has different goals in life. Another example is he promotes the use of drug treatment in therapy situations. While this may or may not be true, and though I am not entirely certain, however, I do not think Lama Surya Das is a certified therapist and has no authority on this matter.

Part Three: Coming Home to Your True Nature has some good suggestions, especially for the beginner.

All in all, before taking the time to read this rather lengthy book, check out all the reviews and perhaps peruse the table of contents before buying this book. Perhaps simply loan it out of the library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2002
It's relatively easy to find a dozen books that lecture in technical Buddhist language, many written by authors that have spent a lifetime in spiritual isolation and many written by foreign authors that might not understand the depth of the difference between the American culture and the Buddhist philosophies. His excellent books provide both the theoretical background and the practices that any seeker on the Buddhist path yearns for - he prepares you for challenges and doubt, assuages your concerns and fears, empowers you to find your own path and seek in your own way, and strengthens your courage while helping in subtle yet powerful ways to diminish your ego.
This book is primarily about practice. The first section provides some additional theoretical background about Tibetan Buddhism (the Dzogchen lineage in particular) and then segues cleanly into literally dozens of meditations, prayers, chants and mantras that we can integrate seamlessly into our American lives. He provides plenty of information surrounding the more active forms of meditation such as Tai Chi or yoga. If you are looking for innovative ways to inspire or renovate your spiritual practice, his words may provide the kickstart that we all sometimes need to break free from a rut.
If you can't take years out of your life to study in a monastery, yet still want to find happiness and freedom, Surya Das may provide the tools that you need. This book is a classic, and will be lifted from my bookshelves many times in the coming years.
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on November 9, 2000
I read the book. Fine. Before I read the book, I was a Libertarian for Harry Browne. After I read the book, I voted for Ralph Nader and became a "Green". Before I read the book, I no longer believed in God. After reading the book, I once again believe in God. Before reading the book, I thought that mathematics was fun - but had no real use. After I read the book, I am including the study of mathematics as part of my spiritual path.
The main point of this book, if there is one, seems to be to hammer away at our attachments. I am this...I am that... On and on and on. The biggest leap in spiritual practice seems to be to jump over the "hurdle" of logic. Lama Surya Das pounds and pounds away. Forging away for a new American Buddhism. I coughed blood many times while reading this book. "He prays to God everyday?!?" "He sees a therapist?!?" "He's one of those 'environmentalists' who have trees growing out of their ears?". "He loves 12-step meetings where they worship a Christian God?"
If you are fixated on one or many different agendas in spirituality, this book will disgust you. It digusted me! But I kept chewing and finally swallowed it. After, of course, spitting it out several times. It's very good to upset the intellect this way. To bruise the ego. I was following into the trap of "I go by logic, therefore, I know everything!" Order and read the book. It may not be a fun read. But it's a good thing to do. Good luck (you will need it!)
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on May 23, 1999
Lama Surya Das is such a wonderful communicator of the Dharma as it applies to all of us in this life. If you are just beginning the quest, don't look to Awakening The Sacred for your answers. But find in this book a friend along the spiritual path, a guide to the answers already inside you. If you are a Buddhist practitioner, a Jewish practitioner, a Christian practitioner...find in this book a friend who walks beside you. As we strive in the West to adapt spirituality to our lives, we have a gift in Lama Das. Read and re-read and re-read his books, then strive to apply, apply, apply. We'll all be better for your effort.
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on April 27, 1999
For as long as I can remember, I've been hungry for a book that would answer many of the questions in my seeker's heart, and gently,graciously, and *practically* show me a way to deepen my spiritual practice without preaching to me about any particular creed or belief. Awakening To The Sacred is that book for me.
In his incredibly clear, wise, and humorous style, Lama Surya Das' has written a book that seems to speak directly to me about bringing the sacred into everything I do.... indeed, embracing it in every moment of my life. I've read the book twice now, and know that I am forever changed by what it's taught me.
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on May 13, 1999
Lama Surya Das has written a wonderful sequel to his last book, "Awakening the Buddha Within." This effort connects buddhist and eastern practices with daily western life. It will help us in the West develop our own spiritual life and practices without the baggage of eastern cultural traditions. Humerous and very personal stories of his own spiritual development sets a wonderful example of western spiritual awakening. Numerous meditations, chants, practices, etc. present many meaningful contributions to a daily practice. I know my personal spiritual practice will bloom as a result of reading this book.
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on July 5, 2000
Lama Surya Das has a way of taking spirituality and bringing it to a level where anyone who is interested can learn. Many people today find that the "religion" they were brought up in is not feeding their spiritual hunger or answering their questions. This book, while most definitely coming from a Buddhist perspective, gives advice that anyone, regardless of where they have come from, can incorporate into their own spiritual practices. For those who would like to delve deeper into Buddhism, Lama Surya Das' last book, Awakening the Buddha Within, is an excellent place to start.
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on August 3, 1999
I couldn't put this book down. Its artful combination of wit and wisdom are a pure joy. Surya Das offers a taste of spiritual-real life through amusing and powerful anecdotes, traditional Tibetan Buddhist (and also less traditional-bound) fundamentals and practices to use each day. How do we lead the right kind of life now, today? Awakening to the Sacred shines a very bright laser-like light in my direction...and maybe yours, too. A very special book.
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on May 17, 2000
Lama Surya Das gives excellent advice, taken from thirty years of spiritual study, on how to bring the sacred into your everyday life. With advice on everything from meditation to chanting to taking a simple walk, he shows us how to make living itself a joyous experience. While the book may seem a little too "New Age-ish" for some, I recommend this book to all seekers of spirituality.
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on September 4, 2001
I spent a long time asking around for good book to introduce me to Buddhist thought practice. This book was simply wonderful. I can't give it enough praise. As much as I would like to be that guy who gives a four star rating among the fives to imply a little more intellect, I can't. If you're even considering to learn more about yourself and society pick it up! It changed my life.
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