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Turning The Mind Into An Ally [Hardcover]

Sakyong Mipham , Pema Chodron
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 7 2003
We need a strong, stable mind that can be relied upon as one's closest ally, and Sakyong Mipham delivers a way to achieve one. Having grown up American with a Tibetan influence, he speaks to Westerners as no one can: relating stories and wisdom from American culture and the great Buddhist teachers in idiomatic English. Strengthening, calming, and stabilizing the mind is the essential first step in accomplishing nearly any goal. Turning the Mind Into an Ally makes it possible for anyone to succeed.


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From Publishers Weekly

Is the mind our enemy? It can be, suggests Shambhala International's director Mipham in his first book. The key to peaceful and sane living, says Mipham, is training our minds. Without that training, people live "at the mercy of our moods." Meditation is the tool that can help spiritual seekers master, rather than be mastered by, their own minds. This book blends a philosophically savvy explanation of why meditation is necessary with an artful and accessible introduction to the basics of meditation. Mipham moves elegantly from the prosaic (how to sit with a straight spine) to the profound (why one should bravely contemplate illness, aging and death). Indeed, those practicing spiritual disciplines from any tradition-Christian, Wiccan, and so forth-could benefit from Mipham's commonsense approach to meditation. He acknowledges, for example, that the tyro might get bored, distracted or even hungry for a cookie. New meditators are likely to find a million and one excuses for not meditating. But, says Mipham gently, "at some point you just have to sit down and do it." Mipham's guide is distinguished by its intelligible prose; unlike many fellow travelers, he does not drown his reader in jargon. He defines Buddhist basics, like "samsara" and "karma," clearly. Three useful appendices, outlining meditation postures and giving simple instructions for contemplation, round out the book, and a foreword by Pema Chodron is an added treat. This easy read is one of the best of the Buddhism-for-Westerners genre.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Mipham is director of Shambhala International, an umbrella organization representing over 100 meditation and study centers that was founded by his father, the renowned spiritual leader Chogyam Trungpa. His first book offers basic guidelines to meditation or peaceful abiding for those interested in learning more about Buddhist meditation. His instruction and discussion of the virtues of peaceful abiding are followed by suggestions for thematic contemplative meditations on topics such as birth, old age, and death. Having grown up in the United States but with traditional Tibetan training, Mipham is able to connect the traditional practice with the Western mind-set. He also brings a youthful spirit to his writing, with frequent use of outdoor sports (e.g., horseback riding, archery, golf, and hiking) to embellish his teachings metaphorically. Unfortunately, this work lacks the passion and depth so notable in his father's writings, and the text breaks little new ground. Those new to Tibetan Buddhism will find more inspirational reading in books by the Dalai Lama, and there is more in-depth instruction on Tibetan meditation practices in works such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's A Meditation Handbook. Recommended for libraries with large Buddhist collections.
--Annette Haines, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mature Vision Jan. 14 2003
Format:Hardcover
I like the voice that comes across in this book. There is a nicety of tone, a coolness that makes me think of the writings of Wallace Stegner. The author delivers the traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings on meditation in a matter-of-fact tone. There is no dramatic language here to pull you in. No, what compels me to keep reading is the precision of the imagery. Using the fine detail of building a relationship with a horse, the author conveys the fine detail of building a relationship with one's mind. I like the uncluttered elegance of the writing. Words that come to my mind are maturity and "no-big-deal."
I've been meditating for 21 years - ho-hum, still not enlightened yet... But, reading this book refreshed my interest. After reading it, when I sat down to meditate, it was like meditating for the first time. I was fresh. I paid attention to the technique. (What a concept!) I was present. Later the same day, I took my car out on the highway. I drove 50 miles in the slow lane. I realized it was natural to just be present with my driving. My habitual tendency is: I don't like to drive. I play music to distract myself. I pass other drivers. I just want to think about getting home. This time, while I felt the pull to get ahead, I was aware of having the choice not to act on it. I just phut-phutted along behind the car in front. This time driving was just a pleasant thing to do - no-big-deal.
Anyhow, enough of that. This is a nice book. I recommend it. It's a treat. Enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning the Mind into an Ally Oct. 1 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is a good book for those who are beginning meditators, those looking for information on meditation, or those who have been practicing meditation for some time. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche uses more Western language versus Tibetan or Shambhala language, which makes this easier to read and understand. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche also has expanded the traditional Shambhala meditation practice to include "contemplation" meditation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditation A to Z March 26 2003
Format:Hardcover
Sakyong Mipham has written an excellent A to Z primer on basic meditation techniques. I will keep my copy in an accessible place, because I intend to read it again and again. I recommend this book to both experienced meditation practitioners as well as to those who are interested in exploring the benefits of meditation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book was written by the son of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. He distills the wisdom of his father in a simple and easy to understand style of writing. After reading a few pages you will realize that the greatest enemy is your mind; the only obstacle that is making you unhappy. This book will show you how to turn your mind into your ally. A good book for anyone pursing peace of mind and harmony with others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book July 12 2014
By Aaron
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very well written. Inspiring and encouraging. Explored the multi faceted ways that meditation and other means of transforming your mind towards enlightenment are doable
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great source for Meditation Advice Jan. 5 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really liked this book - some of it is a little over the top for me but its good to have something to strive for.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if you want to know about meditation this is it!! Jan. 29 2003
Format:Hardcover
For all of you folks out there that have any interest in figuring out what meditation is all about this is the book for you, so easy to understand. the ideas are so lucidly explained that you can just read and read and it all just makes sense. Its like all those things that you have felt deep down but could not put your finger on placed out on the table for you in plain and simple language.
also for all of you like myself who have been meditating for a few years its a great book to reinvigourate your practice, i have found that his examples just jump into my mind through out the day and remind me of what this path is all about and why i am on it
i really recomend this book for all
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Meditation Relevant Jan. 19 2003
Format:Hardcover
Sakyong Mipham's writing style is simple and to the point. Sometimes you don't even know you're being hit with deep wisdom until the 2nd or 3rd time you read it, which is the way most good books seem to work. His style is very different from his father Chogyam Trungpa's. What's great about this book is that he actually explains in precise detail, using simple but profound metaphors, exactly why somebody would want to do meditation, and exactly what the benefits are for you and the people around you. His instructions are never vague and mushy the way so many new-age teachers seem to be. He makes it all accessible and the barriers to actually starting to practice meditation seem to fall away in a hurry. It's not some ancient tradition of mystic-worshippers; it's something that can inform and aid our lives right here and right now, no matter what kind of lifestyle we lead.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars No Easy Answers
Sakyong Mipham is not some easy-answers-miracles-in-a-day guru like all those names that line the self-help section of your local bookstore. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2008 by Lee G. Stringer
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is like a guide and has everything I was looking for.
As someone just beginning my meditation practice, this book had everything I was looking for:

-A discussion on why people meditate. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2007 by Eeve
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for beginners
I found this book to be very useful to me as a beginner when it comes to meditation. It is written in language that I can understand. Read more
Published on May 12 2004 by Bryan D. Uslick
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for everyone, new and old
This book is great for those both brand new to the teachings, and not so new to the teachings. We all get stuck in our practice sometimes, and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche gives very... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2003 by Cynthia Choi
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent meditation book
for the beginning meditator, it would be difficult to find a better book. clear, deep, concise -- it covers a wide range of issues and will become a reference manual you will read... Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by Oldant
5.0 out of 5 stars U need a good foundation before the deep stuff
I read the Sakyong's book and also attended his program based on this book. I have to say the book was very easy to read. Read more
Published on July 25 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Portable Zabuton!
The Sakyong's book is like a portable Zabuton (cushion for meditation). The book provides a solid, yet comfortable, base for the practice of meditation: it's not too soft and not... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2003 by Melanie McBride
5.0 out of 5 stars Attaining Stability, Clarity, and Strength of Mind
As a student of Sakyong Mipham, I am delighted to see the publication of his first book on meditation. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2003 by G. Hasty
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