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Content by Amy VG
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Amy VG (BC)

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Natural Radiance: Awakening to Your Great Perfection
Natural Radiance: Awakening to Your Great Perfection
by Lama Surya Das
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.62
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Start, Feb. 2 2009
I have found this book and CD set to be very helpful for the beginning Tibetan Buddhist. With-in his short book (76 pages) Lama Surya Das briefly goes through some of the Dzogchen style of meditations. There's definitely enough information here to begin a solid practice.

The accompanying CD has 7 short meditations on it:
Track 1: Morning Wake-up Sky Breath Practice (4:13)
Track 2: Rushen: Subtle Discernment (10:03)
Track 3: Natural Meditation (13:58)
Track 4: Trekhod: Seeing Thru (11:46)
Track 5: SkyGazing Meditation (15:52)
Track 6: HUNG Mantra (10:12)
Track 7: Togal: Being There (11:24)

I don't find Lama Surya Das' voice to be very relaxing, and he has, to me, a thick American accent. But I still thoroughly enjoy this CD. Lama Surya Das is good natured, humorous, and personable and that comes thorough during these meditation tracks. I figure once I gain enough insight from the meditations, I won't really need the CD anymore, so it's a good starting point to develop an individual personal practice. Also, Lama Surya Das suggests using the tracks individually and/or all together for a longer meditation session.

Promised Land
Promised Land
Price: CDN$ 17.22
24 used & new from CDN$ 7.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely!, Jan. 20 2009
This review is from: Promised Land (Audio CD)
This is such a lovely CD. I find Dar Williams voice to be so beautiful, and I love her story-like songs. In recent CDs, Dar Williams has been getting a little more "pop-y", but there's still a bit of folk in this one. I love that most of her songs have a social and environment message too. I was first introduced to the music of Dar Williams when her popular "Christians and Pagans" song came out about 12 years ago. I saw her live back then and I couldn't believe such a tiny woman could have such a powerful voice. Amazing!

Last night, I was dancing with my girls listening to this CD when my oldest daughter said to me "I just love your music Mommy, it's sooo lovely". I couldn't agree more! This is a great album!

The Peddler's Dream: Yoga With a Story About Following Your Heart
The Peddler's Dream: Yoga With a Story About Following Your Heart
5 used & new from CDN$ 0.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, Jan. 20 2009
We received this DVD last week from one of Amazon's independent sellers, as both Chapters and do not have this DVD in stock. I really like the two Storytime Yoga books I have, both by Sydney Solis, and so, I wanted to get a better understanding of a "Storytime Yoga" class.

My kids really like this DVD as it's educational while being very entertaining. I find it's a bit short, only 20 minutes or so, and we move through the poses a little too quickly (great for kids!), but I definitely do recommend this yoga DVD for children, as it's so rich in imagination and so different than any other kids yoga DVDs out there.

Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment
Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment
by Lama Surya Das
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.61
98 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start Here, Jan. 19 2009
What an amazing book! In this hefty volume Lama Surya Das explains, in great detail, the Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-Fold Path. I've read similar teachings from other books, but what sets Awakening the Buddha Within apart is Lama Surya Das' Western view. Four hundred pages full of fabulous wisdom for the Westerner wanting to start a secular spiritual life using the ancient teachings of the Buddha.

Lama Surya Das writes very well, and is highly engaging, making this book an absolute pleasure to read, especially with all his colourful tales from his experiences in India learning from Tibetan monks.

Aside from the historical Buddha teachings, the Tibetan teachings, and his own experiences, Lama Surya Das also provides many suggestions on how to incorporate these practices into our own lives, with lots of marvelous guided meditations, each one building on the previous meditation, plus providing many, mainly Tibetan, fulfilling mantras. So, if just starting out, this one book will build your practice for several years without needing any other book.

One thing to note though: Lama Surya Das writes about how enlightening the practice and teaching of Lojong (compassionate living) can be, but he doesn't go into much detail, only providing several of his favourite "slogans", so if you are interested in learning more (or obtaining) all of the 59 Tibetan "slogans" you will need to find them in another book. Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron goes through the "slogans" in detail. Lama Surya Das does provide a lovely Tonglen meditation though.

This book is so great! It provides such a wealth of inspiration and practical information, I could write so much more about Awakening the Buddha Within...but I will write just one more thing: I have read several Buddhist books now, mainly on Zen, and so, this is my first book on Tibetan Buddhism, and while I like the clean, simple teachings of Zen, I'd have to say I find Tibetan Buddhism to be delightful, full of such vibrant compassionate living. Just lovely!

Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice
Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.95
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opening, Jan. 13 2009
I really like Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching/writing style. He writes very simply, yet poetically, which helps the novice to understand. I did enjoy reading Zen Keys, though truthfully, it was not what I had expected. I thought this "guide to Zen practice" would be full of the theories and practices of Zen, but instead Thich Nhat Hanh's message is very straightforward: Zen is not about concepts and study, it's about experience, about living mindfully every moment of every day, that when we keep becoming "stuck" in our head with concepts, we will never fully see "true reality".

What I really liked about this little book is his explanation on the Zen koans, which to me seem so contradictory and confusing. Well...they are supposed to be. To help practitioners stop thinking conceptually and to "awaken" to simply living mindfully. Thich Nhat Hanh also writes about reality, and how when we think too much we are not in "true reality", only the reality we've fabricated. To see "true reality" we have to practice living fully moment to moment.

You see the theme here? Thich Nhat Hanh wants us to simply practice mindfulness and meditation. But just don't have any expectations about your practice, as he says that should not be the aim!

Zen Keys is a little book (it is sometimes nice to have quick reads) consisting of 161 pages of simple explanations of Zen practice, and then 40 pages of translated writings from Tran Thai Tong, a Vietnam king who reigned in 1225-1400ce and who practiced Zen. Tran Thai Tong eventually gave up his throne to practice Zen full-time. To read these writings is definitely a wonderful treat.

I also thoroughly enjoyed reading the intro by Philip Kapleau. His words are also full of such eye-opening wisdom.

One odd thing I found while reading Zen Keys is I found that Thich Nhat Hanh was trying to convince readers that Zen is the "true" way from the Buddha's original teachings (less dogma and study, more experiential). While this may be true, however, aren't all styles of Buddhism helpful, regardless of which one is the "best" way to enlightenment? Of course, this is just my personal interpretation of this, and other readers may certainly not have "felt" this.

Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Edition: Paperback
59 used & new from CDN$ 2.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could rate this a 10, it's so good!, Jan. 9 2009
Everyday Blessings is so moving, so inspiring, and to read it provides such essential healing, for parents and, as a result, hopefully for children.

It speaks about things I think most new parents intuitively feel when they become a parent, and yet...society has parenting so backwards at times.

Basically the premise of the book is to inspire parents to live their life mindfully (to practice mindfulness, which is the practice of living moment-to-moment), and in doing so, brings awareness to their life, that perhaps the parent was living on "autopilot" until beginning their practice of mindfulness. What's the problem with living on "autopilot"? many things. But, if I may tackle this question, with-in the realm of parenting after just finishing reading this book: if a parent lives on autopilot, they usually repeat old habits and patterns from their parents, and for a large part, from society "norms" of the time.

Living on autopilot means missing out on life and your children's lives. And perhaps, without meaning to, being cold and distant to your children, which seems like nothing, but it really is something, as, if you look into your own memories of childhood I'm sure you'd find a child who perhaps felt misunderstood, or lonely, or...________ (fill in blank).

Perhaps to live with a bit more awareness we can truly see our children, with-out our own expectations forced on them; perhaps with a bit more awareness we can truly see what our children really need (usually lots of love and attention), with-out just thinking of ourselves and putting our own needs first; perhaps with a bit more awareness we can ride the wild ride of parenting, knowing when to change to suit the needs of each individual child.

This book is full of so much wisdom, it's a amazing journey that I highly recommend to anyone open enough to digest what the authors are saying.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is very well-known as the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and has several other extremely popular books on the benefits of practicing mindfulness. Jon and Myla are the parents of three - now grown - children. When this book was written, in the early 90s, their children were teenagers.

Seven-Year-Old Wonder-Book(paper)
Seven-Year-Old Wonder-Book(paper)
by Isabel Wyatt
Edition: Paperback
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Magical, Jan. 7 2009
This "waldorf" chapter book is a rare gem. Full of magical delight for my six yr old son. Jam packed with highly imaginative fairy tales that highlight important festivals and holidays throughout Sylvia's (the main character) sixth year.

My six yr old and four yr old immensely enjoyed the first half of this book. But somehow the book didn't capture their attention with that same intenseness during the latter half. Hard to pinpoint as to why.

And though I did thoroughly enjoy The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book by Isabel Wyatt (who was a Waldorf/Steiner teacher in England), I do have two complaints. Firstly, because the story is marking (anthroposophical) developmental steps for a six yr old's full year, my son often compared himself to the main character, and often wondered why those "magical" events aren't/weren't happening to him (for example, when Sylvia lost her first tooth she was visited by three fairies and went on a magical quest for her "first-tooth" gifts). It was tough to explain that this is just a story as at this age he believes everything he sees and hears. Secondly, this book has a strong "anthroposophical Christian" undertone. The descriptions of the festivals are heavily Christian (and for that matter heavily Anthroposophical).

I do plan to read this book again when my eldest daughter turns six. I do think this book is highly valuable for enriching their young imaginations in a very positive way. And from what I've researched about Anthroposophy thus far, it's pretty interesting, and harmless.

No Title Available

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, Jan. 6 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Jillian Michaels is a popular trainer from The Biggest Loser TV show. While I don't watch the show, I read a bunch of Amazon reviews for this DVD and so, it looked like a winner. And I wasn't disappointed!

The DVD consists of three circuit training workouts, each equaling 20min in length. Each circuit is 6min long; 3min of strength, 2min of cardio, and 1min of abs. There are three levels, from easier (but not easy) to hard, and yep, I found level 3 to be really intense. What I really like about this DVD, are her cues on good form, her safe and controlled exercises, and her very unique take on basic strength and cardio moves. A lot of her cardio are fun polymeric moves, which of course, helps keep the heart rate up and gets it up there FAST.

For me, it's so tough to get to a gym, so it's nice to have a DVD like this to introduce new moves, and definitely for motivation to workout hard. Highly recommend this one!

In Search of the Thunder Dragon
In Search of the Thunder Dragon
by Romio Shrestha
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.95
19 used & new from CDN$ 1.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, Jan. 6 2009
My kids and I love this book. The illustrations are so vivid and beautiful. The story is the perfect length - not too short but not too long - and reads very well aloud. The beginning of the story starts off with a young girl visiting her extended family in Bhutan (which is in between Tibet and India, I believe). The excitement builds slowly as the girl and her cousin start looking for the mysterious Thunder Dragons. They eventually find the dragons and have a wonderful adventure. My six yr old son loves it!

This book is so enchanting and definitely captures the audiences' attention. It's a great addition to any Buddhist family's library. Great Buddhist books for children are hard to find. But you don't have to be a Buddhist to enjoy this book. It's simply a great book to introduce young children to the rich history and traditions of the Bhutan culture.

Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler's Sleepy Book of Yoga
Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler's Sleepy Book of Yoga
by Rebecca Whitford
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 16.82
29 used & new from CDN$ 1.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite Bonding Time, Jan. 2 2009
With my 2.5yr old I love going through the Little Yoga books, by Rebecca Whitford. It is definitely one of my favourite times in the day. There are 7 poses in the book; first with colourful double-page illustrated pictures of the poses with some text, and then at the end of the book, it shows the poses again, this time as photographs of toddlers performing the poses. My toddler watches me demo the pose and then tries it herself. It's fun and highly enjoyable!

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