Monthly Archives: September 2010

So much of the stress we normally experience comes from our mind. Many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress. Just by doing a simple meditation practice for ten to fifteen minutes each day, we can reduce our stress level. We experience a calm, spacious feeling in our mind, and many of our usual problems will fall away. Difficult situations become easier to manage. We will naturally feel warm and open towards others. And our relationships gradually improve. Chairs and meditation cushions are provided. This course is ideal for both beginners and those with some meditation experience

Saturday, September 11th
Time: 10am – 12pm
Bodhichitta Buddhist Centre
2020A Douglas Street in Victoria, BC.
Cost: $25

Meditation Techniques of the Buddhist and Taoist Masters was published in 2003. As by publisher’s description, it is a guide to the mental disciplines and visualizations that Masters have used for ages in their quest for illumination. An insider’s view of specific meditation techniques and the steps necessary for a wide variety of Buddhist and Taoist meditation practices. By the author of Tantric Quest (15,000 sold) and Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening. New Edition of Nirvana Tao.

The esoteric practices followed in the quest for divinity generally remain a secret to the world-kept cloistered away for only the most ascetic practitioners. Now Daniel Odier, having immersed himself in the life and spiritual practices of Buddhist and Taoist monasteries throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Japan, reveals actual teachings passed on by the sages who are living expressions of their tradition.

Looking beyond doctrine, dogma, and philosophical treatises that ignore direct experiences of the practice, Odier provides a direct path to the heart of the religious experience that can be discovered through meditation. Beginning with the simple and fundamental steps necessary to prepare for meditation, Odier guides the reader through the specifics of the mental disciplines and visualizations that Buddhist and Taoist masters have used for ages in their quest for illumination. To devote oneself to meditation, in the sense understood by Buddhists and Taoists, is to realize the understanding of how every fiber of our being converges with all creation. Meditation Techniques of the Buddhist and Taoist Masters is a valuable guide to all who are in search of that realization.

Power of listening

September 2, 2010

When people talk, let’s listen completely.

Mark Vernon, the author of Wellbeing (Acumen), reviewing “Happiness at Work” (Rao) and “The Happiness Equation” (Powdthavee)

Happiness at Work: Be resilient, motivated, and successful – no matter what
Srikumar S Rao
McGraw-Hill £16.99

Happiness at Work offers 35 brisk reflections on what matters in life. It covers themes from coping with fear to cultivating friends and repeatedly returns to a central piece of advice: notice what’s happening to you and, by noticing, become less attached.

It’s a broadly Buddhist agenda, part of the phenomenon in which eastern religious ideas are incorporated into western secular contexts such as the workplace, with the aim of raising spiritual questions amid the humdrum concerns of our otherwise consumer-shaped lives. It’s spiritual release without religious dogma.

The Happiness Equation: The surprising economics of our most valuable asset
Nick Powdthavee
Icon Books £14.99

The Happiness Equation is more serious and draws on the so-called ‘science of happiness’, which has reported a growing number of insights to do with human felicity: saying thank-you increases wellbeing; earning more money does not necessarily make you more happy; relationships are worth a small fortune (a good marriage, roughly ú200,000 a year, according to Powdthavee).

I can’t help but feel that the new science is of most value to economists, and books like this one are really documents in which economists convince themselves that human beings are not wholly rational creatures after all.

In fact, happiness researchers might save themselves time by turning to the philosophical tradition on the subject. Powdthavee does this in part, citing Jeremy Bentham, the British philosopher who championed utilitarianism. Bentham went so far as to develop a ‘felicific calculus’. It has been heavily criticised: how can you compare the pleasure of eating an apple to that of eating a pear, let alone the pleasure of good friendship to that of eating a bar of good chocolate? And Powdthavee is aware of the problems, though he believes modern psychology overcomes them.

Full reviews on http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/books/1023463/books-happiness-work-rao-happiness-equation-powdthavee/

We do not prosper by income or happiness alone is an interesting article written by British journalist Samuel Brittan on The Financial Times (04/08/10).

The wellbeing of a society cannot be judged by national income indicators alone, even when these are augmented by so-called happiness measures. And it is worth removing specific injustices on a piecemeal basis even if it is impossible to construct a perfectly just society or even agree on what such a society would look like. These two propositions might seem blindingly obvious, but they go against the grain of much recent political philosophy and highbrow economics.

Full text is available on http://www.samuelbrittan.co.uk/text373_p.html

An interesting review of When In Doubt, Make Belief has been written by Bodhipaksa and published on www.wildmind.org. The review summarizes 10 practical steps by which we can get out of doubt:

1. Choose to see the universe as friendly
2. Embrace the possibility in every moment
3. Affirm our universal potential
4. Put our commitments ahead of our comfort
5. Keep sight of the big picture and the Greater Good
6. Claim and exercise our freedom to choose
7. Picture possibilities and direct our attention [away from destructive thinking and towards constructive thoughts]
8. Act from abundance in ways that empower
9. Accept and let go of what we cannot control
10. Allow for bigger plans than our own to unfold.

Our only question mark, about an book which looks otherwise very interesting is: isn’t knowing what may be used instead of “making belief’? Even within all the limits of our senses, we can assert that there is ordinary knowledge.

Living as a River, “Finding Fearlessness in the Face of Change”, will be available starting Oct 1, 2010. What happens when we embrace the flow of life? We stop suffering. In Living as a River, Bodhipaksa conducts a masterful investigation of the nature of self, with an eloquent blend of current science and time-honored spiritual insight meant to free us from the fear of impermanence in a world defined by change. The primary vehicle for this journey is Buddhism’s traditional Six Element Practice, a deconstructive process of deep reflection that helps us let go of the belief in a separate, static self—the root of unhappiness. More information on http://livingasariver.com/

This is the back cover of Living as a River, published by Sounds True:

“At a time when it’s increasingly challenging to find clear and honest direction on the spiritual path, Living as a River offers contemporary insight into an ancient practice and wise counsel we can trust. This book is both beautifully written and useful to all serious seekers.”
—Mariana Caplan, PhD, author of Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path and Halfway Up the Mountain: The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment

To face reality is to embrace change; to resist change is to suffer. This is the liberating insight that unfolds with Living as a River. A masterful investigation of the nature of self, this eloquent blend of current science and time-honored spiritual insight is meant to free us from the fear of impermanence in a world defined by change.

The primary vehicle for this journey is Buddhism’s traditional Six Element Practice, a deconstructive process of deep reflection that helps us let go of the belief in a separate, static self—the root of unhappiness. Bodhipaksa takes readers through a systematic yet poetic analysis of the self that supports the realization of:

* A sense of spaciousness and expansiveness that transcends the limitations of the physical body
* Profound gratitude, awe, and a feeling of belonging as we witness the extent of our connectedness with the universe
* Freedom from the psychological burden caused by clinging to a false identity
* The relaxed experience of “consciousness, pure and bright”

Engrossing and incisive, Living as a River is at once an empowering guide and a meditative practice we can turn to again and again to overcome our fear of change and align joyfully with the natural unfolding of creation.

Time instead of Money

September 1, 2010

Does thinking about time, rather than money, influence how effectively individuals pursue personal happiness? Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.

UBC Bookstore Robson Square: Events calendar

UPCOMING @ the UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square:
September 30 – Mette Bach (Vancouver – Off the Highway, nonfiction) & Melanie Siebert (Victoria – Deep Water Vee, poetry)
October 14 – Steven Heighton (Kingston – Every Lost Country, fiction & Patient Frame, poetry) & Ian Williams (Brampton – You Know You Are, poetry)
October 28 – Oliver Kellhammer (Cortes Island), Tim Taylor (Vancouver) and Laura Trunkey (Victoria) with Zsuzsi Gartner (Darwin’s Bastards, science fiction anthology)
November 10 – Steven Collis (Vancouver), Joan Givner (Mill Bay) & Anne Stone (Vancouver) with Jean Baird and George Bowering (The Heart Does Break, nonfiction anthology)
November 25 – Gurjinder Basran (Delta – Everything Was Goodbye, fiction) & Jack Hodgins (Victoria – The Master of Happy Endings, fiction)
December 9 – Anna Swanson (Vancouver – The Night Also, poetry) & Deborah Willis (Victoria – Vanishing, fiction)

UPCOMING @ the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre:
September 30Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Vancouver – RED: A Haida Manga, graphic novel)
November 10Annabel Lyon (New Westminster – The Golden Mean, fiction)

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