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Content by Amy VG
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Reviews Written by
Amy VG (Southern Ontario)
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Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices
Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.82
33 used & new from CDN$ 23.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Resource, March 20 2009
I'm extremely impressed with this collection: full of gathas, practices, recitations, meditations, ceremonies, plus numerous discourses, and even sheet music for the main chants. Absolutely amazing! The ceremonies are so beautiful, one for children, mothers, refuge, Buddha's birthday, weddings, New Year, burials, and so much more. Everything you, your family, or a practice group, needs to have a lovely Buddhist practice in Thich Nhat Hanh's Zen tradition.

The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation: As Taught by S. N. Goenka
The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation: As Taught by S. N. Goenka
by William Hart
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.50
37 used & new from CDN$ 5.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, March 16 2009
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What a wonderful little book!

This little volume of 157 pages is absolutely full of wisdom from the teachings of S.N. Goenka, who teaches the ancient art of Vipassana, a specific meditation technique as taught by the Buddha 2500 yrs old. This book is full of insight, quoted sutras, personal stories, plus specific guidance of the practice, and much more. If you are interested in meditation, this book is a perfect little guide, along with the audio or video S.N. Goenka's Discourse Summaries off the Pariyatti website.

Obviously taking the free 10-day vipassana meditation course is highly advisable, but if you can't make it because of other obligations this is will at least get you started until you can take a course.

Insight Meditation Kit
Insight Meditation Kit
by Sharon Salzberg
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: CDN$ 24.44
28 used & new from CDN$ 23.36

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Essential!, March 10 2009
Out of everything I have read on "beginner"/"novice" Buddhism thus far, this kit has been the most beneficial for me.

The kit comes with an amazing 200+ page workbook that goes through a lot of the Buddha's main teachings. The information is clear and simple; each lesson is packed with amazing wisdom. At the end of each lesson, there are optional questions and additional writing space to explore the teachings a bit more. The authors suggest working with one lesson per week, but because of all the additional activities to explore each lesson I found I was working through each lesson in about two weeks. There are six guided meditations included with the kit, and truthfully, I wish the authors included guided meditations for each of the nine lessons, but for three you will need to explore on your own. But of the six, all are fantastic to meditate to. The voices are clear, and extremely helpful with maintaining focus and for working through that particular lesson. I really learned a lot just from the guided meditations alone, regardless of having read the lessons in the workbook as well. The kit also comes with lovely study cards. I didn't use them that much, but I gather the cards would be very helpful to carry around for the week, or to sit on the meditation table/altar to glance at while meditating.

If you what to learn how to "insightfully" meditate, and learn it correctly in the comforts of your own home, I highly recommend this kit!

Open Heart, Clear Mind: An Introduction to the Buddha's Teachings
Open Heart, Clear Mind: An Introduction to the Buddha's Teachings
by Thubten Chodron
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.98
45 used & new from CDN$ 3.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Introduction of Tibetan Buddhist Core Beliefs, March 10 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thubten Chodron does an amazing job explaining Tibetan Buddhisms main teachings in such a down-to-earth way; really helping the beginner understand and relate to the teachings. Chodron also has a way of really getting the reader to "wake up" and realize some things, in an honest thought provoking way. With-in the book's 200 or so pages, Chodron helps the beginner along their spiritual path; jam-packed with such wisdom and sound advice. Of course I say "beginner", but I would think any one of every level would benefit from reading this book, I know I will be reading this over again from time to time. I highly recommend.

Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Personal Spiritual Life
Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Personal Spiritual Life
by Lama Surya Das
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.99
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be sure to check this out from the library first, Feb. 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.

Frog, Bee and Snail Look for Snow
Frog, Bee and Snail Look for Snow
by Loek Koopmans
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.69
22 used & new from CDN$ 8.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, Feb. 2 2009
The illustrations are absolutely stunning: gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! The story is simple, but it definitely captures the attention of my six and four yr olds. There's too much text for my wiggly two yr old, but that's to be expected.

The basic story is of these three friends, the frog (water), bee (air), and snail (earth/land) who go looking for snow, as of course they are usually hibernating during winter (so it's a great book to read during week 16 of Oak Meadow Grade 1, as for science we go through hibernation). The story goes through all the seasons to eventually winter, where they are too cold. Beautiful Mother Nature comes to carry them back home. So this book is also lovely for pagan-friendly families.

Begin to Hope
Begin to Hope
Price: CDN$ 15.00
35 used & new from CDN$ 4.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Unique!, Feb. 2 2009
This review is from: Begin to Hope (Audio CD)
What an amazing voice! And a unique songwriter! Regina Spektor is kind of folksy, but in a funky pop sort of way. Some of her songs are a bit odd...but definitely fun. I absolutely love the first track called Fidelity. Second track Better is lovely. Same with the third track Samson. And I just love the forth track On The Radio. Highly recommend if you like lovely jazz/folk style music!

Guided Meditation: Six Essential Practices to Cultivate Love, Awareness, and Wisdom
Guided Meditation: Six Essential Practices to Cultivate Love, Awareness, and Wisdom
by Jack Kornfield
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 17.98
24 used & new from CDN$ 14.83

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, Feb. 2 2009
This is such a lovely meditation CD. Lovely lovely lovely!

This 2-CD set has a total of 6 guided meditations in various lengths.

Sitting Practice (22:59)
Lovingkindness Meditation (22:00)
Forgiveness Meditation (12:44)
Buddha Transforms Difficulties (10:33)
Gratitude Meditation (12:25)
Mind Like Sky Meditation (29:29)

Jack's voice is soothing and soft. And he does an excellent job walking through these ancient Vipassana/Insight/Buddhism style meditations. I do enjoy all of them, but I especially like Lovingkindness and Mind Like Sky, both are just fabulous! Definitely opens the mind, providing such spaciousness which lasts for many hours afterwards. Highly recommend!!

Natural Radiance: Awakening to Your Great Perfection
Natural Radiance: Awakening to Your Great Perfection
by Lama Surya Das
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.57
26 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$ 12.99
24 used & new from CDN$ 9.22

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!

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