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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

It’s a great time to be a lifelong learner. Technology is creating an explosion of platforms and opportunities to take courses from colleges and universities at your own home computer— for free! And there are webinars, Youtube tutorials, Skype options and apps  — all delivering a cornucopia of content ranging from the classics to the avant garde.  This explosion of  learning opportunities has also opened up the channels of traditional delivery systems – think books- to extend their reach.

Shambhla Publications, recognized for bringing a wide range of books on Buddhism to the general readership has bested itself with their new title; Confusion Arises as Wisdom: Gampopa’s Heart Advice on the Path of Mahamudra by Ringu Tulku.

The Kagyu lineage lists Gampopa as the foremost student of Tibet’s most famous yogi, Milarepa, who had been a student of Marpa the Translator. Before he met Milarepa, Gampopa trained as monk in the Kadampa tradition, with its emphasis on the Mahayana qualities of bodhichitta, emptiness, and compassion. Gampopa brought together the Mahayana teachings of the Kadampas with the Vajrayana teachings of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas. The way he joined these teachings has shaped the study and practice of the Kagyu lineage to this day.

Ringu Tulku, born in Eastern Tibet in 1952, has acquired a friendly and effective  manner to communicate  these deep teachings to Westerners over the past seventeen years as a professor of Tibetan studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and at various meditation centers in Europe, across the USA and in India.

The eighteen short “community talks” are profound dharma teachings. Ringu Tulku anticipates some of the questions that will naturally arise in the Western mind and weaves into the chapters the root text, stories, along with anecdotes from his experiences as a teacher.

The result is a rich guide for Mahamudra meditation practice and the Vajrayana view and practice; an excellent addition to the library of someone with an established meditation practice, and a heartening experience for a lifelong learner who wants to explore unadulterated Buddhist text.

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by B. Allan Wallace

This is a wonderfully written book.

The author’s deep knowledge about Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga is shared with a clear confidence that can only be the result of his experiences as a former monk, scholar, and teacher.

Lucid dreaming is simply being conscious that you are dreaming.

In Dreaming Yourself Awake, B. Alan Wallace gives us a clear set of techniques to follow, along with guidance to adapt those techniques to our individual needs and abilities, to create a practice that will propel us beyond the murky somnambulance of our habits on the path towards awakening.

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“I’ve written How to Be Sick to help inspire the chronically ill and their caregivers as they meet the challenges posed by any chronic illness or condition…..”  These honest, friendly  and noble words greet readers of this unusual memoir written by Toni Bernhard.

After becoming ill in May 2001, Toni began her challenge of living with chronic illness –  and delving into the depths of the Buddha’s teaching

Though blurbs on the cover of the book say, true enough, that  “Readers need not be Buddhist to benefit…” regardless —  for readers with any sort of meditation practice, How to Be Sick has the truth and clarity of  applied physics. The art of meditation becomes more than philpsophical; and the insights and clarity gained from a  meditation practice are shared with undeniable authenticity.

We are all scared of chronic illness. And those of us who have cared for loved ones who had such suffering have met personal challenge and limitation. How to Be Sick illuminates that shared experience of chronic illness and offers hope that there is a way to walk that most unwelcomed path with real courage and grace.

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FINALLY, Quinn Mcdonald shares with us us her method to discover the creative leaps inherent in our slips and stumbles along our personal creative journey. Sign up for her FREE WEBINAR  and to purchase the book

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A farmer, philosopher, painter, carpenter, former President, scientist….. talks about creativity

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In 1970 Joan Dye Gussow began teaching the course, Nutritional Ecology at Columbia Teachers College. It was a course she designed as she was a doctoral student, and newly appointed chair of the Nutrition Department. This course proved to be the beginning of an inquiry that “connected the dots” between the American diet, food advertising, how people spend their food dollars, agricultural systems, the landscape, and the inescapable and glorious interconnected web of life.

She is a seminal voice in support of sustainable agriculture and has influenced and inspired the legions that now strive for a sustainable food system. Locavores, Slow Foodies, dumpster divers, CSA members and more, lean on her scholarship, her insights, her passion, and her example.

Growing, Older was written after the swift death of her husband, the artist Alan Gussow. His passing happened shortly after they downsized their suburban home, to move to a river town on the Hudson River. They moved into a house they chose for the immediate view of the river and sky, and land to have a garden so they could grow their own food.

Her previous book, This Organic Life, was the first volume that chronicled putting her philosophy into action. In Growing, Older Joan shares honest reflections about the loss of her husband, juxtaposed with the work involved with maintaining the house and the garden that is repeatedly flooded by the Hudson River.

She is candid. And, she is lucky. She concludes the book acknowledging that she got what she wanted from life, and that she earned it from hard and rewarding work. Though deeply pragmatic, the book is also speckled with charm and grace.

In the chapter Bees, she quotes a conversation she had with a local beekeeper about  Colony Collapse Disorder – the dramatic  emergency brought about by the tragic disappearance  of bees; “But do you know what’s really killing the bees?…..They’re dying of unrequited love. They love what they do for us. We just don’t love them back enough.”

Her response, “What a theme for the whole planet!”is especially poignant as we strive to figure out what ARE sustainable values, and how do our feelings and attitudes about growing older, aging, and caring for older people  figure into that inquiry.

Again, thank you, Joan.

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This is a lovely book, Lastingness, The Art of Old Age by Nicholas Delbanco. The author shares his  lifelong and  deep appreciation of  artists and their work. He also shares  personal reflections, memories and  philosophical musings  about meaning, creativity and productivity. He lovingly takes us through a selected gallery of artists who shared “… some common denominator, some stubborn refusal to retire or let well enough alone.”

The title may sound resonate of the term coined by satirist Stephen Colbert’s, “truthiness”, alluding to strong opinions based on strong hunches or gut feelings. But Truthiness feels  dangerous, and Lastingness is warm, and  invokes the comfort of mindful and honest reflection.

There aren’t any answers or grand conclusions here. The author speculates about the  insights brain science might reveal  about the resilience of a creative mind rather than reference the science that IS now available; and he avoids the digital  briar patch and the implications that now artwork never dies and can  live forever in digital form. Instead,  Lastingness invites the reader to take some time and reflect, appreciate, and bring a heightened value  to the short amount of time we have to muse,  to create, and to appreciate how art can move the human soul, motivate the heart, and challenge the mind.

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