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Thursday, January 28, 2010
There is nothing better to revitalize one’s faith than to read a good spiritual book. In Ma’s India there are so many great sales of spiritual books that almost any spiritual reader’s desires can be fulfilled. Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Eastern religions are all represented in the spiritual books available. Perhaps this will inspire you to start a spiritual book club. This is a great idea for those who wish to garner spiritual growth through small groups or those who are looking for spiritual support groups. It is also suggested that if one is struggling with questions of faith, one could benefit from talking about a particular spiritual book with other like-minded people. In Stumbling Towards Enlightenment, the author Geri Larkin speaks of how the path to spiritual enlightenment is replete with feelings of doubt and obstacles and is not just a straight sun-filled path to halcyon enlightenment.
Similar to this is Thich Nat Hanh’s spiritual book, Taming the Tiger Within, where he speaks of the difficulty of transforming the emotions of envy, fear, anger, jealousy and provides meditations and practices to transform these feelings. This spiritual book is a truly valuable tool in these difficult times where feelings about life and its myriad challenges in general sometimes run amok.
Speaking about the dangers inherent in the spiritual path alongside with difficult emotions is what Chogyam Trungpa refers to in the spiritual book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Trungpa addresses the possibility of the ego fooling one into thinking that he/she is on the path to spirituality because of certain so-called spiritual abilities whereas in truth, only ego delusion is increasing. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism is truly a seminal spiritual book by a great master of Buddhism and is considered a spiritual sine qua non for spiritual book reading.
Again, dealing with the problems and pursuits of spiritual life, renowned master Sogyal Rinpoche, teaches 365 meditations, pithy, pragmatic prose dealing with every possible situation in life and death, in his spiritual book, Glimpse after Glimpse. Even if you are meeting at your spiritual book club once a week, you will certainly have enough relevant and meaningful material in Rinpoche’s book to fill each scheduled meeting for quite some time.
In your spiritual book club, if you are religiously and politically compatible, and very interested in how conservativism has adopted a religious brand all of its own by creating a Jesus in accordance with its views, you might want to read Hijacking Jesus by Dan Wakefield. This is a fascinating spiritual book, which raises a lot of discourse and ire perhaps at the same time.
Another spiritual book that meets the criteria of provoking controversy, is Women’s Buddhism, Buddhism’s Women which addresses how throughout history, women have been held back in their attempts to fulfill their spiritual practices through obstacles to reaching full ordination within their orders. In these scholarly and personal essays, this spiritual book describes how women have significantly contributed to revamping and revitalizing Buddhist practice to meet their ever evolving spiritual needs. Another spiritual book, Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes, gives us more thought-provoking and salient essays addressing contemporary problems in women’s lives such as stress, abortion, cultivation of harmony in these difficult times, and how women can bring their Buddhist practice into greater relevance in contemporary times through their practice. These are but a few of the spiritual book choices to be made. Come to our store and choose your spiritual book for the New Year and be spiritually refreshed, revitalized and inspired again in your spiritual pursuits!!
by: Mas India 0 Comments
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Saturday, August 29, 2009
If one were to think of an American spiritual spokeswoman and advocate for kindheartedness and compassion, one would have to look to Pema Chodron. A long time devotee of the great Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Pema Chodron has found her own voice and place in our hearts as we grapple with the everyday problems of being human while still trying to lead a spiritual life. Coming from a place of humility and every-day ordinariness, Pema Chodron is not ordinary at all, but a true illuminator and clarifier of the complexity of life. She has managed however to compress and simplify complex dharmic Buddhist proscriptions to simple, but never mundane, maxims for us to live and by which to be nourished. Pema Chodron at once illuminates, expounds, clarifies and expresses in true humor the wisdom of Buddhism. Pema Chodron also “walks the walk” as she pokes fun at her own attempts at leading a spiritual life. Pema Chodron is at once readable and profound.
Many of us who practice spirituality in these times cannot help but be overwhelmed and saddened at the ever-present and increasing violence. In Practicing Peace in Times of War, Pema Chodron in her usual clarity explores the origins of this violence and lays the responsibility for it at our feet. Pema Chodron tells us that while we may not be directly responsible for such aggression, that when we too practice a violent way of responding we are contributing to this culture. Pema Chodron further admonishes and instructs us how to respond in these times with compassion and open-heartedness and gives us techniques to forward that purpose. From this book one realizes that the true place of power comes from extending compassion to those who engage in this type of violence and our endeavoring to practice non-violence or ahimsa in our daily lives.
Pema Chodron’s book The Wisdom of No Escape is truly a balm for the tortured soul. While admitting the “no exit” place to which our suffering leads us, she speaks of how it can serve as a vehicle for our awakening into consciousness. When we don’t “escape” from the “messy” situations of our lives, we sometimes fall into the delight that awaits us. Pema Chodron encourages us to open up to the challenges in our lives and develop a soft heart as we encounter them. Taking refuge in the Buddha for Pema Chodron is about reconnecting with our wakefulness and removing the heart armor that covers our wisdom. Pema Chodron gave the talks in this book during a one-month practice at Gampo Abbey.
Pema Children is well known for encouraging us to look at our pain and suffering and not to run from it, but she does not leave us without tools to encounter painful or difficult times. In fact, as we confront our suffering, loneliness and despair, from which we cannot escape, we may encounter a fundamental happiness that lies beneath our fear. In the book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron has written a manual of instructions for those of us who aspire to maintain an open heart and become compassionate warriors in our life.
Again with a wonderful title, The Places that Scare You, to which we as ordinary people can relate, Pema Chodron welcomes us all into the path of her what can only be termed kind and compassionate Buddhism. She teaches that at the heart of our painful moments in life, we have a nugget of spiritual awareness to extract and that it is ours if we are brave enough to witness our pain and the places of vulnerability that frighten us. Again Pema Chodron reminds us of the basic goodness within us, how humility is our strong suit and why our vulnerability and “soft spots” awaken us. Pema Chodron is truly a spokeswoman of realism, compassion and simplicity in this age of complexity.
by: Mas India 0 Comments
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