Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Other-help is the best self-helpMay 21 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Reading this book has given me the opportunity to examine some of the basic, subtle assumptions I make about others and the world we share, and in so doing to see options for living that aren't normally available to me. The Shambhala Principle targets the thinking behind the seemingly insignificant but ultimately life-controlling personal and social decisions we make throughout our days. Literally, after each chapter I find myself doing something differently--cleaning seemingly immovable piles of procrastinated work, having conversations that I thought were not possible, or taking action in situations in which I have long been stuck.
This book differs from self-help books because, while it is written in a straightforward style, it looks at things from the point of view of the Shambhala teachings which the author received from his father, a historically significant Tibetan Buddhist teacher. The premise of this perspective is a truth that is self-evident but rarely acknowledged in our culture--that things are basically good as they are. There are other books which make this point, of course, but I guess I am liking this one so much because of its focus on how the everyday decisions we make as individuals are actually the decisions that create the larger world. I will let others wax enthusiastic about saving the world, but I will say that the perspective put forward in this book rings true and points out a way to live one's life without ceaselessly fumbling with the twin snaps of self-doubt and self-promotion.
The book's format is delightful and appropriate to the importance attached to relationships and the elements of daily life. In each chapter the author reflects on a phrase or two spoken by his father--in once instance for example, he comes to see his father's invitation to a dinner party with "just you and me" as a teaching on how society is built of a web of one-on-one relationships. At the heart of this book is the notion of "ceremony"--which in another day might have been called ritual. In this perspective, ceremony conveys the idea that everything we do has a rippling significance, and the little things matter a lot. This is challenging but also quite exciting and brings the elusive possibility of making a difference in the world within our grasp.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A Beautiful ReadMay 7 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is not just about meditation, like most Buddhist books I read. It's about how we can manifest our innate goodness and how that can have a positive impact on society. Sakyong Mipham has written a very intimate, personal book that also offers practical advice on how basic goodness can shift our culture in many positive ways. I particularly appreciated his chapters on health, education, the economy, and the environment as he has laid out in detail how the Shambhala principle can pragmatically help us help all beings. A great read; I highly recommend it.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful, Insightful and ChallengingMay 15 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
This book takes a deep look into our human society and the challenges that face our culture. Sakyong Mipham invites us to look at our lives and world from a different point of view; one of basic goodness. The Shambhala Principle offers us a choice and an opportunity to change the course of society; from one that is driven by fear, greed and aggression to a society that is based on the human qualities of kindness, generosity and trust. We are being asked to take part in a conversation regarding the future of our humanity. I am grateful for this invitation and this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Manifesto for creating Enlightened SocietyOct. 28 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This text combines the intimate conversations of father and son/teacher and disciple with thirty years worth of contemplations on some of the key points transmitted. Shambhala Buddhism is a very unique manifestation of Tibetan wisdom teachings that have arisen in part, as a result of the Tibetan Diaspora and the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Chogyam Trungpa, the father, was deeply saddened but not ultimately discouraged by the near total destruction of a culture, a people and a vast and profound living wisdom tradition. As a child he had already become famous as a discoverer of sacred hidden treasure texts and had received several having to do with Shambhala and the mandate of creating enlightened society on this earth. As he escaped from Tibet, traveling over the Himalayas in the winter one step ahead of the Chinese, he again received Shambhala Terma (treasure teachings) and committed himself to this notion of creating a culture and social structure within which these precious teachings could flourish, spread and benefit the whole world. Beyond just "religion" or Yogic practices for cultivating individual enlightenment the Shambhala teachings are designed to bring about a social transformation based in this deceptively simple yet all encompassing principle of Basic Goodness.
Author, Sakyong (Earth-Protector) Mipham, the son, and the reincarnation of Mipham-the-Great of 19th centaury Tibet, also a channel for bringing Shambhala teachings into this world, muses in each chapter around a few simple words spoken to him directly by his father and then expands them to relate directly to our lives both as individuals and as a collective. In the chapter-Life is a Ceremony-for example he has us contemplate how our calendar, which originally had sacred meaning with a day set aside for family and one for spirituality has been almost totally co-opted by the predominant culture of materialism. "Within this system personal growth and spirituality are not priorities, because there is little room left in the calendar for examining the purpose of life and developing one's heart and mind. My father would always say 'Desire leads to more desire, it does not lead to satisfaction' what leads to satisfaction is appreciation."
As a psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher working in health care, the cancer field, and mental health, I am witness daily to tremendous suffering brought about by people’s deep doubts in their worthiness, and in their sense of belonging to something important, good and larger than themselves. The culture of materialism has sown deep doubts in humanities faith in their own goodness and potential and systematically cultivates a culture of inadequacy, fear, dissatisfaction, distraction and endless craving. I call these social mind viruses and The Shambhala Principle is a powerful and practical antidote to these viruses. I recommend it for your health and wellbeing and for the ultimate health and wellbeing of society at large for generations to come.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I can truly say my life has been bettered by reading this.July 9 2014
Ryan J. Dejonghe
- Published on Amazon.com
500 words, are you kidding me? That’s the number of words I’m allowed to quote without needing special publisher permission. If I could, I’d quote for you most of chapters six, seven, eight, and eleven. I found those chapters the most profound and life changing. I’m not saying that lightly. Here’s one quote I put on Twitter while reading this book: “Every moment has its energy; either it will ride us, or we can ride it.”
Let’s start with some definitions. Shambhala is a word that means “source of happiness”. From my understanding, it was the area of Shangri-La, now obtainable through meditation. The author goes into much greater detail of this, some of which is abstract for folks like me, who come into this mostly uninitiated. The author’s title of Sakyong means to be “an earth protector, protecting the goodness by awakening other to it.” It is much like the Indian dharmaraja (dharma king), or the Chinese sheng huang (sage ruler). The author inherited the title from his father; this book describes much of that transition.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. “The principle of basic goodness is not particularly religious or secular. It is about how humanity at the core is complete, good, and worthy.” The author says THE SHAMBHALA PRINCIPLE moves “beyond the parameters of Buddhism” and goes to talk about supporting “the unique qualities of various traditions”. He says that everything boils down to this: “humanity is good, and good is the nature of society.”
It’s a lot to take in, but the process is a worthy endeavor. No matter your religious belief system, you have much to benefit from this book and its practices. Both Eastern and Western cultures are blended together to reveal the virtue of mankind. The author mentions Plato (virtue meaning humanity), Aristotle (virtue meaning “manifestation of the good”), Buddha (“Let whatever you are doing become your meditation, and your path will deepen”), and many others. The author states you become virtuous by “being mindful, feeling compassion, and exercising patience” which leads to “pleasure and lightness of mind.”
One of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books comes to mind when the author states, “Appreciating where we are right now is a helpful antidote to depression.” That quote came spawned from the author’s father’s teaching of, “Be where you are and who you are. That’s how to cheer yourself up.” Furthermore, what I learned from another book called HARDWIRING HAPINESS was reflected in this statement by Mipham: “Even if it is only finding time to take a shower or to feel good that we made it to work after missing the bus, we need to find small victories in the day—and slow down enough to appreciate them.”
As with my review of THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, and as alluded to above, some thoughts may appear abstract to many. Such things include non-weaponed warriors with visions of the future and communicating through snapping fingers and touching chests. Also, the end-book applications to global economics and health were interesting, but a bit too far reaching for my understanding.
For what I gained from reading this, the value is immeasurable. Many ideas are gleaned from others; this is a nice crystallization that presents a new vision. My life is bettered for reading this.
Thanks to Harmony, Crown, and Random House for providing this book for me to review.
And one last quote, “The day does not have to be perfect in order for us to feel a sense of celebration.” Let us all go and enjoy our special day.