Practicing Peace in Times of War: A Buddhist Perspective Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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From Publishers Weekly
This gifty little book by the American Buddhist nun Chödrön is a solid reinforcement of what she has been saying for many years and in many books. Here, her focus is on the relationship between aggression within and the aggression that fuels war. Chödrön begins with some disquieting observations, such as that we can all be fundamentalists—that is, self-righteous and closed-minded—and that peace demonstrators are not terribly peaceful. Like other Buddhist teachers on the subject of political action, she sees a direct connection between what is in the heart and expressed in outward actions. She teaches how to stop the reflexive and habitual emotional reaction to perceived hostility through patience, pausing, breathing. It's not easy, but it is simple. Chödrön is also provocative: insecurity has a positive function, she suggests, so don't run away from it. Some of what this skillful teacher says is almost too simple or underexplained, which can happen when a talk becomes a book, as is the case here. "Don't spin off" is a condensed instruction that is a little too condensed. While it may intrigue beginners, this book will be a better gift for those who are already familiar with Chödrön's body of work. (Sept. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“A solid reinforcement on how to stop the reflexive and habitual emotional reaction to perceived hostility through patience, pausing, and breathing. It’s not easy, but it is simple.”—Publishers Weekly
“In her timely new book, Pema Chödrön offers her insights on the origins of world conflict. Anger originates in our own hearts, she asserts, not on the battlefield. Only by checking our aggression on a personal level can we hope to sow the seeds of peace.”—Body & Soul
"Pema Chödrön's writings have been helpful to countless people trying to find some ground for their being in this chaotic world."—Bill Moyers --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"If we arn't training inch by inch, one moment at a time, in overcoming our fear of pain, then we'll be very limited in how much we can help. We'll be limited in helping ourselves, and limited in helping anyone else. So, let;s start with ourselves just as we are, here and now." (p. 78)
--author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
Her discussion of shenpa is particularly excellent. This Tibetan word, usually translated as attachment, is uncovered in detail with humorous and helpful stories. Shenpa is that experience of tightening we feel when someone says something that pushes one of our buttons or triggers our anger, or touches a soft spot, etc, and is the source of a lot of conflict.
Pema Chodron gives a few suggested practices for dealing with the experience and I have to say I find them both simple and challenging.
What would our family and community life be like if more people were introduced to these ideas and agreed to be more mindful about practicing them? I can't imagine, but would love to see it!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This little book contains 6 essays edited from speeches the author gave. Each one contains grains of truth that can help you stop reacting in fear and anger to situations around you and instead to embrace patience and refrain from acting (or reacting), thus stopping the chain reaction of violence that seems to be swallowing our world.
Although I am not a Christian, this book seems to reflect the core teachings of Jesus when he advised his disciples to "turn the other cheek," "go the extra mile," and when he encouraged them to realize that the person who needs the most help is our neighbor, not the person we feel most alike.
This book has the potential to change your life (and mine) if we simply read the text and allow its messages to sink into our hearts.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me & through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
Per "Awakening Compassion," Pema invokes Tonglen whereby p. 81: "Your own discomfort can connect you with the aversion & pain of other people & awaken your compassion." Furthermore, with mindfulness p. 80: "We can see our interpretations & our opinions as just that," you can p. 50: "`Lower your standards & relax as it is.' That's a slogan for patience," & p. 50: "I've come to find that patience also has humor & playfulness." This reminds me of Theodore Tilton's poem:
"Once in Persia reigned a king, Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise, Which, if held before his eyes
Gave him counsel at a glance Fit for any change or chance;
Solemn words, and these are they: "Even this shall pass away."
It seems to me that Pema's "patient abiding" parallels Shamatha (calm abiding) like two facets of the same gem. Thus, with patience we can let the thoughts (Shamatha) or issues (patient abiding) dissolve of their own accord--observing the process vs. the content--p. 71: "Becoming intimate with pain is the key to changing at the core of our being--staying open to everything we experience." The courage to just be.
Good read ...
What can one person do to bring about peace? This book answers the question. I've considered carrying extra copies of the book to give to friends and strangers: maybe this review will encourage you in some way to pick up a copy for yourself.
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