So you think you're a Buddhist? Think again. Tibetan Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, one of the most creative and innovative lamas teaching today, throws down the gauntlet to the Buddhist world, challenging common misconceptions, stereotypes, and fantasies. With wit and irony, Khysentse urges listeners to move beyond the superficial trappings of Buddhism - beyond the romance with beads, incense, or exotic robes - straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught.
©2007 Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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"Buddhism with a bite."
Edgy. Unflinching. Clear. The premise of the book seems to be that being nice and smiley and a vegetarian, peaceful, passive and serene is not what makes someone a Buddhist. And he is going to prove it. He does not pull punches as he points out the hypocrisies of modern life. And he provides a very straightforward explanation for how Buddhisms view reality and our place in it - which is what makes one a Buddhist based on four concepts known as the Four Seals. They might be simple - but these are challenging concepts, and ones that students of Buddhism contemplate for their lifetimes, so this book is just an introduction. The writing is laced with a glint-in-the-eye, wry, and sometimes edgy sense of humor that is wonderful. All in all the narration is solid, but, unfortunately the narration does not convey the intended sense of humor at times, and at other times makes the author's emperor-has-new-clothes observations of our world seem to have to much of a bite, leaving them sound a bit like angry rants on a few occaisions.
With Buddhism and aspects of Buddhism and mindfulness becoming an ever growing part of pop culture, Dzongsar Khyentse does a wonderful job of distilling what is actually Buddhism.
Clear, professional, edgy
No. It's better to contemplate a chapter at a time.
One of the things that makes Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche such a great writer and teacher is one of the reasons why Tom Pile's narration doesn't quite work for me. Khyentse's words are oftentimes full of a sharp uncompromising bite, but there is very often a sense of humor there as well. When you hear him speak, you get the humor. Unfortunately the narration was unable to express that subtlety. When the author does cast an unflinching eye on things, not holding his punches, he is doing so without any anger or judgement - simply stating the facts as things we oftentimes would like to bury under the rug or cast a blind eye to. In these cases, again I'm afraid the narration colors the words with a little too much edge and starts to make the author sound like he's on an angry rant in cases where he's actually pointing things out rather impartially. Mr. Pile is an excellent reader and narrator, so it is not a criticism of his talent, rather his approach to the material, something in which the producers could have steered him differently.
"Prickly rather than gentle"
I liked the dogged take of the author as he castigated a lot of our admittedly decadent culture. It's a bracing if a bit tiresome antidote to the usual Buddhist-lite fare Westerners often prefer. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse also made the films The Cup and Travellers and Magicians under his birth name of Khytense Norbu, as a relevant aside, so he knows how to address a wider audience than most Tibetan-trained dharma teachers.
The two books "Magic of Awareness" and "No Self, No Problem" by another Tibetan now teaching in the West, Anam Thubten, are gentler in tone but sometimes as insistent on the need to break free of Buddhist conventions. He discusses the traditions but does not stick so much to their conventional titles, much as Khytense does here, to broaden accessibility. (These are also on Audible as well as Amazon US and I reviewed them recently, too.)
A curious insistence on a rough-hewn, no-nonsense approach. Rather indignant or cranky. It fits the author, but it's far from the calm tones one associates with a Buddhist teacher. I like the lack of stereotype, but it may jar or annoy some readers who favor gentle platitudes.
No, but the references to Eminem, Bush jr, and Paris Hilton from a decade ago already feel dated. Similar to the Jesus Freaks books in the early '70s, this may feel more a relic of its time than intended, as the author tries to link his material to then-current culture and trends.
It's recommended for those with a prior grounding in dharma and practice. Not to sound snobbish, but like Thubten's books, these seem addressed at those already in the know. This focuses, as an example, not on the 4 Noble Truths but on the four seals, so it's not for beginners who may need rather a primer on the terms, concepts, and practices in dharma.
The best reader I've had on audible yet.
Fascinating topics and stories.
Includes many philosophical ideas.
A must read/listen.
"A Solid and Clear Introduction to Buddhism"
I chose this book in hopes of learning more about Buddhism. Very clear, very concise. Update on 4/23/15: so insightful, I decided to read it a second time.
This book is one part exposition (of the four seals), one part sophistry, and two parts scolding. It would have been better to simply explain the seals and their implications for understanding reality and for engaging that reality in our own lives. But no, we are continually expected to share the author’s distain for things like face creams. Although he asserts that Buddhists do not proselytize, this volume seems dedicated to showing us the error of our ways. It would have been better to explain Buddhism.
"An absolute hidden GEM."
I expected a short book about what makes you not a Buddhist, but what I got was one of the most relatable and expert descriptions of enlightenment I have ever heard.
"Loved this book."
Great book. Increased my knowledge of Buddhism. A lot of very good information in it.
"a must !"
wisdom of experience
the author ... for he is the author
less to do with my eyes but adds more time to just let the words sink in.
"a bitter old man professes to be buddhist"
whining, complaining, ranting steeped in deep negativity, bitterness and extreme social conservativism. not normally considered the taos of a buddhist but those are the overriding traits of the "author" who actually claims to be a "trained buddhist". he's trained at something, but whatever it is, it is not good. makes one wish for time and money as non transient things so I could get them back, change them into monkey poop and throw it at the author.
"if interested in buddhism. not the way to go."
not really about buddhism. uses buddhism as launching platform to go on rants as a comparison to buddha or buddhism.
the Prince Charles part ended it for me.
this supposed buddhist needs to spend more time studying the Dhamma. Really.
and less time with the news or television.
"Elixir of truth"
The essential buddhist introductory book in my opinion. Rinpoche words is like a razor, cutting trough all misconceptions.
Probably the best introduction to buddhism i've came across so far. An informative source and entertaining listen.
"This was a really good book!"
Loved it. LOVED IT. Not only was it very informative, but it was also entertaining. A must buy!
"Wow, it's like having a psychopath whispering in your ear."
I got this because there's supposed to be wit in here somewhere. However, the narrator sounds angry all the time, and he talks in a loud whisper. So, all the jokes actually sound like threats, and most of the book seems to be an insult.
"Scoop - The Truth about Buddhism"
Sharp and incisive dissection of the reality of Buddihism in the modern world. What it is, and importantly, what it isn't. The clarity is astounding, and is put forward with such simplicity - no words are wasted.
"Understanding Buddhism for everyone"
I have read over twenty book about Buddhism and its practices by the most venerable of authors, but this book is outstanding.
For the beginner it is easy to understand what is Buddhism, but what it means to or rather what it does not mean. It explains the for noble truths with an ease that can put you on your way towards the so called 21 steps to eliminate the ignorance from our minds.
Enjoy freeing your mind from the shackles of ignorance
This book offered the answers to many of the questions I sought about Buddhism , it was interesting from beginning to end .
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