"Dharma Readers" - Minneapolis Buddhist Book Club Message Board › Book 7 Voting Information
It is time to vote for what book we will be reading next. At the bottom of this page is a link that is highlighted in red. If you click on that it will take you the page where you may cast your vote. Following beneath are images and short reviews of each book. If you still cannot decide which book you would like to vote for after reading these short descriptions, further information about all of these books can be found on the internet.
Zen practitioner and non-profit community developer Bernie Glassman offers powerful teaching stories that illustrate ways of making peace one moment at a time. Each chapter focuses on an event or person and demonstrates how a particular peacemaker vow is put into practice. Through these stories and Glassman's personal testimony we come to understand the essence of peacemaking.
The brain physiology associated with spiritual states has been fertile ground for researchers and writers alike. Neuropsychologist andmeditation teacher Hanson suggests that an understanding of the brain in conjunction with 2,500-year-old Buddhist teachings can help readers achieve more happiness. He explains how the brain evolved to keep humans safe from external threats; the resulting built-in negativity bias creates suffering in modern individuals. Citing psychologist Donald Hebb's conclusion that when neurons fire together, they wire together, Hanson argues that the brain's functioning can be affected by simple practices and meditation to foster well-being. Classic Buddhist concepts such as the three trainings—mindfulness, virtuous action and wisdom—frame Hanson's approach. Written with neurologist Mendius, the book includes descriptions and diagrams of brain functioning. Clear instructions guide the reader toward more positive thoughts and feelings. While the author doesn't always succeed at clarifying complex physiology, this gently encouraging practical guide to your brain offers helpful information supported by research as well as steps to change instinctive patterns through the Buddhist path.
In this modern spiritual classic, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa highlights the commonest pitfall to which every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. The universal tendency, he shows, is to see spirituality as a process of selfimprovement?the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. "The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use," he said, "even spirituality." His incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play on ourselves, and to offer us a far brighter reality: the true and joyous liberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it. It is a message that has resonated with students for nearly thirty years, and remains fresh as ever today.
Scholar and teacher Dzogchen Ponlop (Mind Beyond Death) focuses on the experiential aspects of Buddhism that transcend culture, in the vein of writer-teacher Stephen Batchelor's idea of "Buddhism without beliefs." He argues that everyone has a "rebel Buddha" within that wants to wake up, be free, and see the truth in the midst of illusion. The traditionally educated Tibetan-American uses straightforward, informal language with fresh analogies to examine a range of basic and more advanced aspects of this wisdom tradition, such as the nonexistence of the self, compassion, and relationships with spiritual teachers. Meditation instructions are included in the appendix. The author's practical approach is disarming, especially when applying Buddhism to the challenges of everyday life. The content is based on two lecture series on dharma and culture; tighter editing would have eased the transition between the spoken and the written word. While more concise primers for the novice practitioner exist, more advanced students of Buddhism who want to explore newer voices may find this book of particular interest.
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