Awakening The Buddhist Heart : Integrating Love, Meaning, and Connection into Every Part of Your Life
"Life is about relationship-the relationship we have with ourselves, with each other, with the world, as well as the connection to that which is beyond any of us yet imminent in each of us. When our relationships are good, we feel good; when they are bad, we feel awful. Let's accept it: We need each other. We need to feel connected; we need to feel each other's presence and love."
What is the "Buddhist heart" and how do we awaken it in ourselves? Lama Surya Das, author of the bestselling Awakening the Buddha Within, defines the Buddhist heart as our own inner goodness-our most tender, compassionate, and caring self, our innate Buddha-nature. The Buddhist heart, called Bodhicitta by Tibetans, beats within each and every one of us and is awakened through meaningful connections-connections to our families, romantic partners, our colleagues and work, our neighbors, society, and extending out to all living creatures, including ourselves. This book tells us how we can use relationships as a vehicle for a sacred life.
Everyone needs to feel connected, to love and feel loved, to reach out to others and communicate in order to overcome alienation, loneliness, and a feeling of being disconnected. In Awakening the Buddhist Heart Surya Das shows you how to reach inward and outward.
By developing spiritual intelligence, a sense of compassion that helps us be more sensitive, more aware of our own feelings and the feelings of those around us, we become more intuitive; we relate better and love better. Cultivating spiritual intelligence and learning how to connect will improve our capacity for intimacy, making us better mates, friends,parents, and coworkers; it helps all of us to become more giving and brings us fulfillment, meaning, and love.
Using down-to-earth, everyday experiences and stories, as well as specific ancient Buddhist practices and meditations, Surya Das illustrates how to develop authentic presence, how to connect to our own life experience, build deeper relationships, embrace life's lessons, as well as learn how to love what we don't like. With tremendous insight he explores specific ways in which we can more fruitfully relate to our own experiences as well as each other in today's fast-paced, complicated, and often confusing world.
Surya Das also includes his translation of the rare and invaluable Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva-a timeless, legendary Tibetan text, along with his commentary. These practices for self-reflection help us think about how we live our lives and the lessons we can learn from mindfulness, love, and compassion.
The "Buddhist heart" that Surya Das refers to in his third book turns out to be a good heart. Blending intimate anecdotes with wisdom gleaned from his decades of study with traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachers, the American-born author seeks to help readers to awaken this heart so that their everyday relationships may become a way to experience the meaningful interconnectedness and sacrednessness of life. Surya Das wishes to cut to the essence of Buddhist wisdom, while bolstering a general readership with a dawn-of-a-new-era pep talk: "As we enter a new century and a new millennium... it seems increasingly important to awaken our Buddha-like hearts through spiritual connections." Unlike in his first two booksAAwakening the Buddha, an explication of Tibetan Buddhism, and Awakening the Sacred, an attempt to describe spiritual values in nonsectarian termsAhere Surya Das initially seems to be trying to be all things to all people, and the advice he offers can feel flimsy or vague. He counsels readers to cultivate a more authentic presence, for example, by learning to be natural, simple and open. The disarming honesty of the many personal accounts he presents puts a friendly human face on an ancient tradition, yet the work as a whole lacks power and coherence. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 10, 2001
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