WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

This is a group in which we can share information about what we are currently reading or have read and discuss emerging themes..

Members: 24
Latest Activity: Mar 15

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THE HEALING POWER OF MIND

Started by David Brazier Mar 7. 0 Replies

Review by Attila MislaiTulku Thondup Rinpocse' book of The Healing Power of Mind) seems to be so consonant with Zen Therapy as if the authors would have joined with each…Continue

THE DIARIES OF SOPHIA TOLSTOY

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by David Brazier Mar 5. 6 Replies

I am currently reading this work, translated by Cathy Porter, published in London by Alma Books. This paperback edition was published in 2010.I am finding it more interesting than I expected. You can imagine the dynamics of the Tolstoy household. He…Continue

THE SEA, THE SEA

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by David Brazier Feb 18. 3 Replies

Iris Murdoch, 1978. The Sea, The Sea. Panther. Fiction. 502 pages. Winner of the Booker Prize. Last night I started reading The Sea The Sea  by Iris Murdoch. This is the third or fourth of her novels that I have read - maybe the fifth. They are each…Continue

JUST AS YOU ARE

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Vajrapala Lut Moerman Feb 7. 3 Replies

A new book by…Continue

EVERYMAN

Started by David Brazier Jan 27. 0 Replies

Submitted by Attila MislaiEveryman by Philip RothThere is a silent desperation that keeps haunting the main character in Roth's excellent novel. Nothing dramatic, nothing hysterical,…Continue

The Incantation of Frida K.

Started by Alexi Francis Jan 27. 0 Replies

I'm about halfway through The Incantation of Frida K. by Kate Braverman. I was a little reluctant to read about the life of Frida Kahlo again - there seems to be a lot about her. I'm struggling with the book because of this but what makes it a very…Continue

GRASMERE JOURNAL ~ Dorothy Wordsworth

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Mat Osmond Jan 24. 3 Replies

Lying in bed nursing my damaged knee I have been reading Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals in Moorman, M. Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth. OUP 1971. Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855) was the sister of William, the poet, and they were close friends of Samuel…Continue

AN UNOFFICIAL ROSE

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by Carol English Jan 24. 1 Reply

I have just finished reading An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch.…Continue

Tags: novel, duty, and, desire, romantic

HANDBOOK OF MINDFULNESS

Started by David Brazier Jan 16. 0 Replies

Purser, R.E., Forbes,D. & Burke,A. (editors) 2016. Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, context, and social engagement, Switzerland: Springer International. 514 pages. 33 chapters, including one by myself.My copy of this large collection arrived in…Continue

MY LATEST (In French)

Started by David Brazier. Last reply by David Brazier Jan 5. 3 Replies

The French translation of The Feeling Buddha has just been…Continue

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Comment by Steven Durham on March 15, 2017 at 20:49

I'm reading a book titled Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Culture and Family in Crisis byJ. D. Vance.  It tells the story of Vance's growing up in the remoter parts of the Kentucky hills (hence "hillbilly"), part of a traditional large extended family living in rural poverty.  Later the family moved to a small "rust belt" town in Ohio for work in a steel mill there.  It describes the forces and factors that both grind the culture and its families apart, as well as hold them together in profound loyalty.  While the book does not mention Donald Trump, these are a significant part of the people who voted for him; so the insights into their struggles and despair are invaluable.  How to tie this in to Buddhism?  Spirituality plays a central part in peoples' lives, even if they attend church but rarely if ever (and a sangha or dharma talk would be completely unheard of, in these parts).  Dukha is rampant, and people turn largely to illicit drugs to ease the pain -- which leads to addiction and all the problems associated with that.  They seek Buddha in a bong, I suppose one might say.  I'm still wrestling with that series of questions -- how to relate these struggles to Pure Land -- and don't have a good answer.  But this is definitely a good and worthwhile book!

Comment by Attila Mislai on March 7, 2017 at 10:55

Tulku Thondup Rinpocse' book of The Healing Power of Mind) seems to be so consonant with Zen Therapy as if the authors would have joined with each other in checking their works line by line. David has wrote about the possibility of healing with a profound explanation as to its lucid Buddhist theoretical background and the Rinpocse has made out its practical pandant with meticulous care.
Tondrup Rinpocse comes from the Nyingmapa tradition whose central tenet is the Dzogchen teaching stating the essence of all beings is a pure awareness, clean, tranquil and joyous. All of its varied methods and means (symbols, rituals, visualizations, meditations) derive their significance from how skillfully they are able to facilitate the cultivation of that awakened awareness and foster its unhampered flowing through our everyday actions.
There is a special kind of parlance the origin of which I believe is found in the true strength of realisations. Only those who managed to go beyond the limits of subjectivity, let go of the contents of their mind and sojourn in the peaceful provinces of that pristine awareness are able to speak this marvellous language which is evocative and down-to-earth, precise and highly imaginative at the same time. No doubt, Tondrup Rimpocse not only speak about pure qualities of consciousness, he is a real embodiment of them.
The first part of the book is about the general outlook of the tradicional healing art the assumptions of which is so radically dissimilar to our western approach. Morris Berman writes on the latter: „From the sixteenth century on, mind has been progressively expunged from the phenomenal word….Subject and object are always seen in opposition to each other. I am not my experiences and thus not really a part of the world around me. The logical endpoint of this world view is a feeling of total reification: everything is an object, alien, not-me, and I am ultimately an object too, an alienated „thing” in a world of other, equally meaningless things” (Berman) The Buddhist thinking shows a striking contrast with this philosophy. The primal reality is consciousness, mind is the key to health and happiness, and the final cause of suffering can be comrehended as the result of a false, rigid dualism showing through our perceptions and thinking. We habitually tend to regard fleeting, conditioned phenomena as if possessing independent existence and from this erroneous view flow than innumerable false distinctions embodied in our blurred perceptions, emotional reactions, behavioural tendencies and mental confections (samskaras). In this school of thought healing is attainable through cultivating the (Big) mind (Buddhata), opening to it, immersing in its spacious, peaceful, luminous nature. Although seeing from this deeply holistic perspective, healing doesn’t differ fundamentally from liberation, the author professedly makes do with a modest aim: drawing on ancient practices he teaches simple, quotidian methods assisting anybody with everyday distresses whatever form the suffering it may don.
Along with offering valuable pieces of advice how to create or summon up the right intentional stance that is indispensible for any healing effect to be come into being, he gives detailed instructions on how to pay attention to the breathing process, how to use our creative imagination to bring forth healing visualisations or how to benefit from the salutory effects of taking refuge in power beyond the ego. The smaller the supremacy of the ego the more we are open to healing influences – that can be the motto of the traditional approach. In other words, the real source of healing can be neared by learning to let go of the conditioned ego and to swim „in the bottomless ocean of Buddhata, where self doesn’t figure… there is one seamless purity in which all the ordinary things…..occur just as they are.” (David).

Comment by Attila Mislai on January 27, 2017 at 10:17

Everyman by Philip Roth

There is a silent desperation that keeps haunting the main character in Roth's excellent novel. Nothing dramatic, nothing hysterical, not even conscious for the most part, still, it proves to be enough to deprive him slowly the capacity to enjoy the tastes of his nonchalant, easygoing life. Nothing seems to help, neither his proudly professed stoicism ("Just take it as it comes. Hold your ground and take it as it comes. There is nothing more we can do."), nor the graceful, epicurean wantonness in which he was never idle to splash about ("God is death, so why not take the world as being a playground for me.")

As we see him through the events of his life that turns out every bit impeccably ordinary, an awkward, grim suspicion begins to gradually nestle itself in the reader: the story is actually a harrowing parable about what immensely estranged man could grow when putting all his energy into multifarious attemps to escape from the truth of mortality.

The cost is high. Everything that makes life liveable and authentic (relationship, creativity, compassion) will lost. This perspective can help us grasp the highly symbolic significance of the protagonist's seemingly common death: he dies unexpectedly in a senseless, comatose state (condition of avydia per excellence) while being operated on because of his ailing heart (the failing centre of his being).

If one tried to enter this sad, meaningless, barren odyssey - where the hero falls through the adventures of his life, one after the other, without becoming able to come any nearer to his true home - with some therapeutic intention (though it sounds pathetic and somewhat ludicrous in terms of a fictional character) one could take as a starting point the story of how as a child he first confronts with death: he chances upon the body of a soldier washed ashore. (I don't think it would be overwrought parallelling this with the narrative of how his bumping into the a corpse set the Buddha going.) The path of recovery that may lead everyman to "reclaiming the rapport with himself" (Epstein) runs along the train of his losses. Healing cannot take place without "befriending our disown parts" (Caldwell).

Comment by David Brazier on January 11, 2017 at 8:16

I like the look of Myokei's reading list. Buddhism as social liberation is a vitally important theme. I hope you will write something about it for us Myokei, when you get time. Best wishes - D.

Comment by Myokei Caine-Barrett on January 11, 2017 at 8:12

Several on my shelf at the moment--I generally read several at one time!

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, with Jasmine Syedullah, PhD, North Atlantic Books. Black dharma teachers/practitioners engaging race, gender [and intersectionality] and class.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Speigel & Grau A writer's candid conversation with his son about being a black male.

The Great Awakening:A Buddhist Social Theory by David Loy, Wisdom Publications. Explores the interaction of Buddhism and [post]modernity and how Buddhism can help to develop "liberative possibilities".

Comment by David Brazier on January 9, 2017 at 23:10

Making gardens is a wonderful practice.

Comment by Andrew Ralph Cheffings on January 8, 2017 at 17:35

Today I planted the Rosa glauca I ordered recently in the Pure Land inspired garden I am making on our allotment. I was really excited about this. It has red stems in winter, red-tinged leaves in spring, pink flowers in summer and purple hips in autumn. It attracts polinators and birds. The perfect Pure Land plant, making me think of Amida, the changing seasons, and attracting Amida's insects and birds into the garden to sing the Nembutsu with me. The climax vegetation in Leicester is forest, so I'm managing the garden as forest-edge. Projects for this year include changing some of the ground cover to clover and adding a small pool and rocks. I'm very excited about it.

Comment by David Brazier on January 4, 2017 at 17:29

The moss gardens are especially impressive. Then, I was once in a glade in Northumberland and came across something very similar made by nature - magical.

Comment by Andrew Ralph Cheffings on January 4, 2017 at 17:05

I am pleased to hear that you have been in some of these wonderful gardens. I am particularly impressed with the care I see in the images which has gone into placing stones, water and plants. There is a seamlessness about them, a lack of hard edges, which helps with experiencing co-dependent origination, I think.

Comment by David Brazier on January 4, 2017 at 10:52

Responding to Andrew, on my visits to Japan one of the most wonderful things has been spending time in the temple gardens. Making such places of tranquility and beauty is surely one of the noblest of occupations.

 

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Kindnesses

Posted by Andrew on March 23, 2017 at 9:07 1 Comment

The love your neighbour campaign in Birmingham came about after the decision to leave the EU. There was an increase in racist attacks and the Church of England hierarchy felt they should take action. What they did was encourage schools and other community venues to put free of charge bright orange banners on fencing etc with the words love your neighbour on them. At the moment funding has been obtained to make more banners to replace any of the 1000 that have gone up already and to encourage… Continue

The bowl of feathers

Posted by anki on March 22, 2017 at 11:09 0 Comments

Once upon a time there was a traveler from the lands below.

Lived in a cottage in the mountains all alone.

The only company he had were the animals and the trees.

Though company they were none the less spoke in language only the soul hears.

Songs of days passed they sang just…

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Nembutsu morning

Posted by Kaspalita on March 18, 2017 at 9:33 2 Comments

Honen encouraged his followers to set aside special times for intense practice; half a day, or a whole day, or a week. We’ll be continuously chanting nembutsu for three hours this morning. Unlike Honen I don’t manage to recite sixty or seventy thousand nembutsu everyday, as I’m going about ordinary life, so I love these set aside times when I can immerse myself in the presence of the Buddha, in the Buddha-field, in the Pure Land.…

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RENCONTRE AVEC LAMA WANGMO EN JUIN

Posted by David Brazier on February 22, 2017 at 14:32 0 Comments

Rencontre entre David Brazier & LN Wangmo

les 10 & 11 juin 2017

à Saint-Martin-Lestra…

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