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141. After Virtue: A Study in Moral
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142. What Should I Do with My Life?
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143. No Death, No Fear: Comforting
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144. Letting Go of the Person You Used
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145. Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary
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146. Science and Sanity: An Introduction
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147. The Diamond Cutter : The Buddha
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148. Buddha
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149. A Brief History of Everything
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150. The Power of Logic
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151. Radical Acceptance : Embracing
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152. Archetypes of Wisdom : An Introduction
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153. Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart:
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154. Philosophy : The Power of Ideas
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155. Introduction to Philosophy: Classical
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156. Ideas & Opinions
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157. Environmental Ethics : Readings
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158. The Dharma of Star Wars
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159. Living Buddha, Living Christ
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160. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

141. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
by Alasdair MacIntyre
list price: $18.00
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Asin: 0268006113
Catlog: Book (1984-06-01)
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Sales Rank: 26037
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Morality, according to Alasdair MacIntyre, is not what it used to be. In the Aristotelian tradition of ancient Greece and medieval Europe, morality enabled the transformation from untutored human nature as it happened to be to human nature as it could be if it realized its telos (fundamental goal). Eventually, belief in Aristotelian teleology waned, leaving the idea of imperfect human nature in conflict with the perfectionist aims of morality. The conflict dooms to failure any attempt to justify the claims of morality, whether based on emotion, such as Hume's was, or on reason, as in the case of Kant. The result is that moral discourse and practice in the contemporary world is hollow: although the language and appearance of morality remains, the substance is no longer there. Disagreements on moral matters appeal to incommensurable values and so are interminable; the only use of moral language is manipulative.

The claims presented in After Virtue are certainly audacious, but the historical erudition and philosophical acuity behind MacIntyre's powerful critique of modern moral philosophy cannot be disregarded. Moreover, independently of its principal claims, the book, first published in 1981, helped to stimulate philosophical work on the virtues, to reinvigorate traditionalist and communitarian thought, and to provoke valuable discussion in the history of moral philosophy. It was so widely discussed that MacIntyre added another chapter to the second edition in order to reply to his critics. After Virtue continues to deserve attention from philosophers, historians, and anyone interested in moral philosophy and its history. --Glenn Branch ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars a wonderful introduction
The other reviewers have grabbed exactly what MacIntyre was getting at, if one combines their comments. It is certainly true that MacIntyre wishes to "skewer" the major moral philosophies of the modern day. This is absolutely necessary for his project. If he wishes to re-establish Aristotelian moral philosophy, he must first discredit those philosophies that have tried to destroy Aristotelianism. He does an excellent job, which is why After Virtue sparked so much debate. This book is a wonderful introduction to MacIntyre's thought, and is complemented by his Short History of Ethics (get the second edition). Any lover of Aristotle will be thrilled, and those who don't will be somewhat frightened and forced to re-think their positions.

5-0 out of 5 stars A necessary read for anyone interested in ethics
In this work Alasdair MacIntyre argues that morality as we currently understand it has suffered a great disaster. As a result of the Enlightenment project's failed attempt to justify morality on its own terms, as MacIntyre argues, we are left with nothing more than shards of a once complete and coherent moral tradition. As a result the current state of morality is a form of emotivism, according to MacIntyre. MacIntyre's argument comes to a head when, in ch. 9, he claims that we must either go the way of Nietzsche's critique of morality or opt for a reworked version of Aristotle's ethics in which our moral claims can be justified.

This work is, in part, resoponsible for the renewed interest in virtue ethics among contemoporary moral philosophers. Regardless of whether one ultimately affirms or denies MacIntyre's conclusions this work is necessary reading for anyone who wishes to keep informed of current debates in moral philosophy.

Along these same lines I would recommend MacIntyre's other works which include Three Rival Versions and Whose Justice? Which Rationality? as well as Bernard Williams' Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, and John Rawls' Political Liberalism.

5-0 out of 5 stars It comes down to Aristotle or Nietsche
Writing polemics in support of virtue became something of a cottage industry in the '90's. This is one of the texts that drove that trend. Fortunately, its tone is not polemical in the slightest. MacIntyre's argument is measured and well-reasoned, and he gives several useful concepts for addressing moral issues, e.g., institutional *practices* that provide internal rather than external goods, and narratives and stories as constitutive of human existence.

It's an involved argument, and at least partly relies upon a reading of intellectual history for its strength. For MacIntyre, upon investigation there are only two consistent moral viewpoints: one associated with Aristotle that views morality as objectively valid and rational because it's based on a natural teleology and sees that morality exercised through the development of virtues and intricately entwined with them, another, based upon Nietsche, which sees morality only as a mask for irrational power.

Lucid and well-written. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for philo majors or those interested in ethics...
I am a philosophy major at Notre Dame, where MacIntyre still teaches one course each fall semester. (as a side note, he's an incredibly engaging lecturer in addition to being a brilliant profesor).

This book is not for the casual reader. This assumes at least some understanding of Aristotelian ethics, as well as background knowledge in other philosophical traditions (such as Nietzche, exististensalism, etc). Also, the writing holds a decidedly Catholic slant--not unlike the works of Aquinas or Augustine (medieval Catholic philosophers). However, within these premises (and all philosophical writing have premises, regardless of what the author claims), the book is outstanding. MacIntyre's reputation speaks for itself, and it is certainly well deserved.

Along with this book, I'd recommand Chesteron's "Orthodoxy" and Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics." Ethics will give you some background into MacIntyre's references, and Chesterton is a similiar book that provides for an intriguing and persuasive arguement for the Christian ethics/tradition over other philosophers. Ethics takes a bit of work--Aristotle's works are not the easiest things to read, but it's well worth it especially in conjection with this ook. Chesterton's book is witty, fairly easy even for a non-philo major.

5-0 out of 5 stars But doesn't Nietzsche win?
It's a breathtaking book, one of the best philosophy books that I've read. In chapter 9 "Nietzsche or Aristotle?" MacIntyre tries to prove that Aristotle wins. The problem is that MacIntyre needs to reinvent a Telos (ultimate end) to replace Aristotle's biological one, and on this he writes only one paragraph that is rather vague, "the good life for man is the life spent in seeking for the good life of man, and the virtues necessary for seeking are those which enable us to understand what more than else the good life for man is. (p. 219)" This does sound quite circular, and this "good" is never clearly defined.
Sadly (I am not Nietzschean), I get the feeling that MacIntyre's challenge to topple Nietzsche doesn't completely succeed. His book then, perhaps, becomes another, extremely brilliant and contemporary (smashing utilitarianism and Kant), 'genealogy of morals.' ... Read more

142. What Should I Do with My Life? : The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question
by Po Bronson
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 0375758984
Catlog: Book (2003-12-30)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 2254
Average Customer Review: 3.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“Brimming with stories of sacrifice, courage, commitment and, sometimes, failure, the book will support anyone pondering a major life choice or risk without force-feeding them pat solutions.”
Publishers Weekly

What should I do with my life?

It’s a question many of us have pondered with frequency. Author Po Bronson was asking himself that very question when he decided to write this book—an inspiring exploration of how people transform their lives and a template for how we can answer this question for ourselves.

Bronson traveled the country in search of individuals who have struggled to find their calling, their true nature—people who made mistakes before getting it right. He encountered people of all ages and all professions—a total of fifty-five fascinating individuals trying to answer questions such as: Is a career supposed to feel like a destiny? How do I tell the difference between a curiosity and a passion? Should I make money first, to fund my dream? If I have a child, will my frustration over my work go away? Should I accept my lot, make peace with my ambition, and stop stressing out? Why do I feel guilty for thinking about this?

From their efforts to answer these questions, the universal truths in this book emerge. Each story in these pages informs the next, and the result is a journey that unfolds with cumulative power. Reading this book is like listening in on an intimate conversation among people you care about and admire. Even if you know what you should do with your life, you will find wisdom and guidance in these stories of people who found meaningful answers by daring to be honest with themselves.
Among them:

-the Pittsburgh lawyer who decided to become a trucker so he could savor the moment and be closer to his son.
-the toner-cartridge queen of Chicago, who realized that her relationships with men kept sabotaging her career choices.
-the Cuban immigrant who overcame the strong dis-approval of her parents and quit her high-paying job to pursue social-service work in Miami.
-the chemistry professor who realized, quite late in life, that he would rather practice law.
-the mother torn between an Olympic career and her adolescent daughter.
-the seventeen-year-old boy who received a letter from the Dalai Lama and was called to a life of spiritual leadership.
-the creator of St. Elmo’s Fire, who wasn’t sure he could quit his successful Hollywood life for the deeper artistic life he had always wanted to pursue.
-the author himself. Po Bronson has worked as a bus-boy, cook, janitor, sports-medicine intern, bus-lift assembly-line technician, aerobics instructor, litigation consultant, greeting-card designer, bond salesman, political-newsletter editor, high school teacher, and book publisher. Since then, he has written three books: Bombardiers, The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, and The Nudist on the Late Shift. But none of those experiences compared to what he learned by writing this book.

“We all have passions if we choose to see them,” he writes. “Most of us don’t get epiphanies. We don’t get clarity. Our purpose doesn’t arrive neatly packaged as destiny. We only get a whisper. A blank, nonspecific urge. That’s how it starts.”

With humor, empathy, and insight, Po Bronson probes the depths of people who learned how to hear the whisper, who overcame fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives. A meditation, a journey, and a triumph of story-telling, What Should I Do with My Life? is a life-changing book by a writer who brilliantly tackles the big questions.
... Read more

Reviews (231)

4-0 out of 5 stars Flawed but important
Questioning his own life, author Po Bronson set out to learn how others made tough career decisions -- and lived with them.
He says he talked to nine hundred people, seventy or so in detail, and he includes the stories of fifty or so career-changers in his book.

Bronson does not offer a systematic study or a self-help book. That's important to get out of the way. As other reviewers have observed, you won't find plans or guidance for your own career move.

Instead, Bronson offers a jumble of anecdotes, unsystematic and uneven -- just the sort of stories I hear every day as a career coach. People seek new adventures. They weigh the cost (and there always is a cost). Sometimes they decide the cost is too high and they back down. Sometimes they leap and experience disappointment. And sometimes they leap and find themselves soaring.

Career-changers are hungry for guidance. Bronson's interviewees often sought his approval -- and his advice. He insists that he's not a career counselor but they asked anyway. This quest for help is typical during any life transition and underscores the need to be cautious about seeking help from whoever happens to show up.

And of course this overlap of roles can be viewed as a flaw in the book. Bronson admits lapsing from the journalist role. He gets so involved with his interviewees that the story becomes a quest, a journey-across-the-country story rather than an analysis of career choices. Bronson includes his own story, told in pieces throughout the book. This feature seemed to interrupt the flow: if the author tells his own story, we should be led to anticipate autobiography.

Despite these flaws, Bronson comes up with some sound insights into career change. He observes that people avoid change because of the accompanying loss of identity. They hang back "because they don't want to be the kind of person who abandons friends and takes up with a new crowd," precisely what you have to do following a life transition.

And he follows up with a warning of solitude that also accompanies any life change. "Get used to being alone," he advises, yet many people fear being alone more than they fear being stuck in a job they hate.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE offers questions, not answers. It's like attending a giant networking event. You have to sort through the stories on your own.

Despite these flaws, I will recommend this book to my clients and to other career coaches. Career change, like any change, is messy. You rarely get to move in a straight line and you always experience pain and loss. And every move is a roll of the dice: a coach can help, but there are no guarantees.

Each story in this book is unique and your own will be too. You, the career changer, must put together your own mosaic and find pattern and meaning on your own.

3-0 out of 5 stars The answers to your questions can only come from with-in.
I find it interesting that many of the people who posted negative reviews of this book did so because they claim the book failed to give them the "answers" and/or "inspiration" that they were looking for. What they fail to consider is that they may have misunderstood the purpose of this book from the get-go. The book, in my opinion, is meant to be a sociological study of how random individuals struggle with the question of "What should I do with my life." I don't believe it was meant to be a self-help instruction manual or a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" type compilation of motivational memoirs.
Mr. Bronson quite clearly states that the purpose of his book is "to raise our awareness of the process by which some people have struggled with the choice and figured out their life" and "to tune our ears to the nuances, and recognize shades of ourselves in the stories, so we can be more aware on our own journey." I believe the author has succeeded on both points.
There are plenty of books out there that are meant to inspire through the telling of success stories - this book was not meant to be one of them.
Sometimes it's much more helpful to recognize the mistakes that we make in our own lives when we see those same mistakes being made by others.

The point that this book is trying to make is the very point that most of the negative posters here have failed to grasp; namely that you will not find the answers you're searching for in a book, and you won't find them by attempting to emulate the success of others. The answer to the question "What should I do with my life" can only be found within yourself.
By sharing the stories of others who struggle with that same question, Po Bronson has succeeded in removing some of the feelings of isolation that those of us "in flux" feel.
That in itself is makes this book a worthwhile read despite the so-so writing that others have mentioned.
If you're looking for answers, look in the mirror.

4-0 out of 5 stars What I Needed When I Needed It
I was in an airport when I saw it; the question that has been on my mind for the past year, staring back at me from the cover of a book at the airport newstand. It was Po Bronson's book, "What Should I Do With My Life?" I thought about buying it, but didn't at the momement because I had a plane to catch. But I thought about it on the flight home, and downloaded the e-book to read on my PDA.

I actually like that it's not a self help book. I'm not naive enough to think that any one book can tell me what to do with my life, or how to find my purpose or calling. I did find it comforting to know that I'm not the only one struggling with this question, and I was grateful to hear how other people approached this question. I could see some of myself in them, and some of their stories in mine. Until this book, I was beginning to think of myself--a 35 year old gay dad--as a late bloomer. Now I think that I haven't bloomed yet, but I'm not late.

Bottom line, if you're looking for a book to give you the answers, this isn't it, and good luck finding it. But if you're looking for stories about how other people approached this question, I'd recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars We All Have the Same Questions
If you are seeking your calling, you have plenty of company.

Our circumstances differ, but we all have the same questions. How do you find your calling, what road do you take? This collection of memoirs is not a self-help book-- you will not find an explicit roadmap to follow-- but you may well find comfort that many share your quest for direction. The range of people covered is fascinating-- the subjects include a Buddhist monk, a Harvard MBA turned catfish farmer, a social service worker, and a cake-maker, among many others. Bronson is sympathetic to his subjects, and includes his own profile in the book.

If you are looking for good company on your own life journey, this book is a worthy companion.

1-0 out of 5 stars What Should I Do...Me, Me. Me!
· The book makes the central mistake of all the "self-help" that has perpetuated our culture since the 1970's, from Dr. Phil's book "Self Matters," to Joseph Campbell's mantra of "follow your bliss," to Bradley Grieve's fuzzy pictorial "The Meaning to Life," to even Robert DiNeiro's lament of "wasted talent" in his film A Bronx Tale: that narcissism is the way to meaning and happiness. Bronson and these authors often poo-poo those who choose (and stick with) a stready, less-satisfaying job. But these are the folks who can support their families and contribute needed services and taxes to the economy. For those making good salaries, they support charities (which need $ more than our bodies), move their families to safe neighborhoods, and put their kids through a good college. I'd give all these people a medal, frankly.

· Here's the myths Bronson perpetuates through his book, IMO:

MYTH 1: career is your central medium for achieving happiness, and fulfilling your purpose in life

MYTH 2: duty and responsibility are "shackles" that are holding you back from being truly happy.

MYTH 3: if the "job" aspect of your life is not fulfilling, you have failed or at best, lost or misguided.

· Bronson terribly embellished most of the profiles in the book. Many of the interviewees have come forward complaining, and other aspects of their life (mostly privileged) have come out since publication.

· It doesn't follow the people long-term.

· And lastly...The book is somewhat nauseating due to Po Bronson's love for...Po Bronson! I got the impression he thinks he knows more than the people he's profiling (read the NY Times Review at their website for best examples). Hard to take a guy seriously for career advice when he's in his early 30's and loaded in $ from a trust fund and can do whatever he wants. Put him out there as a starving Writer (which nearly all are who do it full-time) for a year and watch him go back to his former cushy Wall Street job, stat. (sorry, my cynical New Yorker side has come out).

I'd recommend "The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?"
It came out the same time as Bronson's book and offers a different recommendation: service to others and thinking outside yourself is what it's all about. It is a Christian book, and I don't adhere to all it's recommendations, but it helped me to stop focusing inward (which I discovered is the best way to get really depressed and hate your job). Interestng to note that one of the most consistent findings in psychological research is the relationship between happiness and helping others. And you don't need to be a Mother Teresa to do that, just do it day-to-day.

I'd also consider the work of the late Donald Super (Godfather of Counseling Psychology) who defined "Career" as one's "Life," encompassing all our "work roles": job, family, friend, citizen, steward, parent, volunteer, child, church member, activist, hobbyist, etc, etc. Although many of these roles you have not embarked upon yet (or forced on to you yet!), it is freeing to remember that you do not have to achieve a "calling" in just your career, but rather, through contributions from all aspects of your life. Although ironic, that's actually easier to do. It's less of shock to your system too: Po Bronson made a public apology after many read his book, quit their stable jobs for Internet start-ups, and promptly lost their livelihood after the Tech Bubble! Thanks, Po.

Hey, I'm sounding like Po Bronson now! A 30-something geek telling you about the meaning to life. I better close now and go back to my own Mid-Life Crisis. ... Read more

143. No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life
by Nhat Hanh, Thich Nhat Hanh
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573223336
Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 16164
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Beloved Buddhist teacher and poet Thich Nhat Hanh offered the world much-needed words of calming wisdom in his previous book, Anger-a coast-to-coast bestseller in both hardcover and paperback.

Now, in a book both timely and timeless, he tackles a subject that has been contemplated by Buddhist monks and nuns for twenty-five hundred years-and an eternal mystery that touches us all: What is death? Through Zen parables, guided meditations, and personal stories, he explodes the traditional myths of how we live and die. Even more, Thich Nhat Hanh shows us a way to live a life unfettered by fear.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cut Through Fear
For those of you who purchase this book with the bonus CD included along with the package, you are in luck. Thich Nhat Hanh takes us through meditation practice with the help of Sounds True, the Buddhist recording company. This CD is great to listen to when you want to set aside time for reflection, or just as a gentle reminder of the wonderful world we live in articulated through the voice of Thay. In this book Thich Nhat Hanh takes us all on the journey of discovery. We are provided with insightful commentary on this difficult subject of death from this much-loved Buddhist master; all in a language and format we can all connect ourselves to. What is to fear in death? We might become fearful that we will become "nothing." Whatever our deductions of what death is are, these are merely concepts. We fear the unknown perhaps. But the unknown is in every single moment, so breaking free from our misconceptions of death means stepping into fearlessness of life. Every moment is unknown. Death is unknown. Zero degrees is three hundred and sixty degrees. No beginning, no end. Only help all beings, it's the Great Bodhisattva Vow. Then there is no life or death, instead, only the Great Vow. Buy this book if you are troubled by death and life, it can calm the human heart. Letting you know all is well. Though everything may seem crazy and chaotic, all is well. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars waves are water
Why are we afraid? At last I have found a book that gives me a good reason not to be afraid. Thich Nhat Hahn is a very great writer, along with many other talents. He creates stories that children can enjoy but give great insight into our lives and the meaning of them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book from the Zen teacher
People have a hard time understanding why I love and respect a monk so much. But his writings are so clear, so pure and simple, uncluttered, that they make sense just to pick up and read like a regular book. The only difference between his books and a good story_book is that his books are about your Life and they require Practice. All of which requires joy too!

This wonderful teacher talks to us in this book about emptiness, a wonderful concept we are all learning in our own time. In it, he clearly states examples of emptiness or impermanence in ways that are directly the result of his own experience and observation. One gets the sense that he has shown us some truth about death and life, and how they interlink and come together in a ballet of pictures and words. He writes with true wisdom, and the only result is, indeed, comfort.

The spiritual life requires discipline. It requires a sense of purpose, and perhaps, motivation. But one thing I know is that it is not unbearable and uncomfortable as many would have you believe. Through his unique teachings, Thich Nhat Hanh shows us that there is no end and no beginning to things. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, this book is as good as counseling.

5-0 out of 5 stars Looking deeply into death.
Perhaps because I read this book shortly after the sudden, unexpected death of someone close to me, and after Thich Nhat Hanh's recent "day of mindfulness" here in Boulder, it touched me more deeply than any of Thay's previous books. In NO DEATH, NO FEAR, Thich Nhat Hanh succeeds once again at reducing a complex subject into a simple Buddhist teaching. Many of us would rather avoid the troubling subject of death. Thay observes that this is because we are afraid we will become nothing when we die. If we believe we cease to exist when we die, he says we are not looking deeply enough into death.

Death teaches us valuable lessons about impermanence and the interconnectedness (or "interbeing") of all things. In his characteristic style, the Vietnamese monk uses metaphors and simple illustrations to reveal that our human life is just a temporary manifestation, much like a wave on the ocean or a signal transformed into a song on the radio. By looking deeply into the everyday world in which we are interconnected with everything else, we may experience life without the fear of death.

G. Merritt ... Read more

144. Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be : Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation
list price: $25.00
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Asin: 0767908732
Catlog: Book (2003-08-12)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 28821
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The beloved American Lama, a spiritual leader whose inimitable light and
lively universal teaching style has awakened the spirituality of thousands, now shares an enlightened approach to change and loss, dealing with difficult emotions such as fear, grief, and anger, and the role of crisis in uncovering our authentic selves.

For many people, recent years have been characterized by profound change, whether it relates to financial upheaval, political shifts, or even massive losses of life to disease and violence. Even on the personal level each person must confront the curves life throws his or her way. Buddhism has a great deal to say about change and impermanence and how to meaningfully deal with it. Change--whether on a large or small scale--provides our most important opportunity for learning about ourselves and the nature of reality. From this essential insight Lama Surya Das has crafted a fulfilling and important path to understanding and healing ourselves and finding peace.

Full of personal stories, anecdotes, practical exercises, guided meditations and reflections, and pithy original aphorisms, Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be addresses life's most universal difficulties in a way that is accessible to all. By using memorable concepts such asThe Virtues of Adversity, The Pearl Principle ("No inner irritation, no pearl"), and Gaining through Loss, Surya reminds readers that hiding from change and loss is futile. Learning to consciously accept and embrace change leads to a better understanding of ourselves and our own innate divine light.

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Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately - a big question mark
Well, I'm familiar with Surya Das teachings in person, and they are always excellent.
His previous books are OK. but this one is definitely not a masterpice among hundreds and hundreds of profound Dharma writers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Letting Go In So Many Respects Present Here
Lama Surya Das is a profound teacher when it comes to Tibetan Buddhism. He remembers that his teachers always observed that the most important step in dealing with grief and suffering was to look at the losses pragmatically. Surya Das adds: "Like the Buddha, we want to find the lessons that lie buried in suffering and pain. Questioning is an essential part of the spiritual path: self-inquiry, introspection, philosophy - all involve genuine doubt and skepticism as propellants fueling the spiritual journey. We find meaning in the seeking itself." In short, we must find the answers for ourselves. No text, as wonderful as it might even be, can do this exploration for us. As opposed to trying to escape from bereavement and hindrance, we can face them with insight and strength.

There is an enormous breadth of teachings stories in this book. From something jotted down in a Nursery school by a toddler, to Zen allegories-Surya Das unabashedly draws from the best of so many sources to bring us a book so full of the good teachings. As he's done in his earlier books, Surya Das proposes precise practices in his dialogue of the circumstances we may all find ourselves in. For instance, mention how the loss of a loved one can make us "wrap up" or become solitary, he counsels using prayer to confirm our aspiration to keep our hearts unlocked and free. Like the old saying, "A bird only can stay in your hand without you killing it if your hand is open." We must cherish and love all that is, while being prepared to let go at any moment. This is how we should practice. Letting go. The Hindu text The Bhagavad-Gita states: "Death is certain for anyone born, and birth is certain for the dead. Seeing how this cycle is inevitable, you have no cause to grieve." Those are some really sobering words. This book answers a lot of our toughest questions in life with a kind and gentle hand. Enjoy it!

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding book for transformation!
Lama Surya Das has given us a handbook on living. "Letting Go" is an excellent book for anyone going through loss, change, illness, or a desired transformation of being. This book is easily read and has been written like he is talking to you in person. While it is very Buddhist in background, this is a book anybody from any religious background can gain from. I resell many of my buddhist books but this is one I will be keeping in my library to re-read in the future. Surya Das has a easy way of explaining Buddhism in a more westernized way that makes this an excellent book for newcomers to this faith and way of being. I also loved the Medicine Buddha section which gives full instruction on a healing mantra and visualizations for physical, mental, and spiritual healing. It reminds me very much of guru yoga for those of you familiar with Dzogchen practice. Read this book for yourself and give out several for gifts. Surya Das, I can't wait for more of your writings. You are one fine writer! Bodhi Leaf, Buddhist and Reiki Master. ... Read more

145. Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
by Stephen Batchelor
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573226564
Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 20993
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Those with an interest in Buddhism will welcome this new book by Stephen Batchelor, former monk and author of Alone With Others and The Awakening of the West. But those who are just discovering this increasingly popular practice will have much to gain as well-for Buddhism Without Beliefs serves as a solid, straightforward introduction that demystifies Buddhism and explains simply and plainly how its practice can enrich our lives. Avoiding jargon and theory, Batchelor concentrates on the concrete, making Buddhism accessible and compelling and showing how anyone can embark on this path-regardless of their religious background. ... Read more

Reviews (67)

5-0 out of 5 stars Peace, my friends.
The argument and counter argument in these reviews illustrates why it is important to read books like Mr. Batchelor's "Buddhism Without Beliefs". There are those who vehemently believe in reincarnation and karma, and those who just as vehemently believe in the value of the philosophical search for universal truth. This book entreats you to consider "the middle path", to have compassion for others, and to constantly strive for self-improvement. It is true that Mr. Batchelor is calling for the de-mystification of the modern Buddhist tradition, but I believe that anyone following the Buddhist faith ought to rejoice that this book is opening the eyes of many. Perhaps the enlightenment to be found here isn't the same as the enlightenment to be found in their particular school, but I think that anyone with an open mind and an open heart should rejoice in people seeking enlightenment AT ALL in our American culture of rampant consumerism and egoistic self-absorption. Mr. Batchelor gives those of us who have been raised by the mass media a bridge to contemplation. I say, thank you sir.

3-0 out of 5 stars very interesting to read these reviews....
This book seems to inspire either devotion or vitriol, depending on one's point of view. My own take is that it is an excellent, if quite culturally conditioned, interpretation/presentation of Buddhism. If one takes seriously the teaching of Upaya, skillful means,that seeks to express Dharma in terms that will be most useful to the sufferer in need, then this book cannot be dismissed. Many a skeptical Westerner could be inspired to practice by an interpretation such as this, and for that Batchelor deserves much praise.

However, this in no way means that this interpretation of Dharma is any more or less valid than the myriad of others serving to liberate beings. Devotional, or 'religious', Buddhism, has inspired countless Tibetans (and others) to transcend profound suffering and carry on in life with compassion and integrity. It is sad to see Batchelor reify his view of authenticity into a view consonant with Western existentialism - though this view is totally valid, to claim it is the TRUE Dharma at the price of excluding other culturally appropriate forms of practice is unfair and myopic.


5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
I read other reviews before submitting mine and would like to say: This book is not an introduction to Buddhism, and I felt that Batchelor was clear that his own Western cultural influence was unavoidable.

My impression:

I thought it was perhaps the best Buddhist book I have read in my meager 15+ years of practice. For such a small book, it was clear, complete, and provocative. Somehow Batchelor managed to distill his thoughts into a little over 100 pages. Each sentence builds on the last, and he was able to bring me face-to-face with some very real and deep-seated fears. From my experience as a Zen Buddhist, I found him walking side by side with me through familiar territory, and then he quickens the pace, leading me to brand-new and terrifying self-examination.

Had I followed my usual reading practice, I would have dog-eared this entire book. Every page invoked something fresh. But I did dog-ear one page, and went back to read it numerous times. He recommends this meditative question:

"Since death alone is certain and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?"

Hugs and bows.

4-0 out of 5 stars Isn't it odd...
That so many of the negative reviews of this book seem to say precisely the same thing? Isn't it even odder that, if you click on the links to the negative reviewers, you find that so many of them have reviewed exactly the same books? Is there some sort of organized effort underway here to discredit "heretics"?

Oh, um... the book. It's good. Read it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Are the other reviewers members of his family?
I enjoy books on Buddhism, but this one is a clear disappointment. He seems like a Westerner who has been exposed to some basic tenets of Buddhism but is anything but a wise master. I kept waiting for it to get better, it never did. ... Read more

146. Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics
by Alfred Korzybski
list price: $39.95
our price: $33.96
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Asin: 0937298018
Catlog: Book (1995-04-01)
Publisher: Institute of General Semantics
Sales Rank: 38429
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Serious Reading: Attention Span Required!
Like some of the other reviewers, I first read S. I. Hayakawa's classic "Language in Action" (later updated to "Language in Thought and Action") before wondering who Alfred Korzybski was and why Hayakawa spoke so highly of him. Eventually I bought "Science and Sanity" from the Institute for General Semantics and read straight through the book in two days.

I am over 50 years old, so I learned to read and write well during my high school years, largely because I didn't watch much television. I had no trouble reading korzybski's book quickly, in spite of its rather large size. The TV generation, though, may just not have the attention span for a book such as this. Too bad for them!

Korzybski warns the reader early in the book that it contains serious material, and so it does. I found his treatment of "infinity" and "variables" alone worth the effort of reading the book. His material on Ivan Pavlov gave me new information on the contributions of that neglected genius. His treatment of Bertrand Russell's "propositional function" and "theory of types" inspired me to actually read Russell on these subjects. His principles of general semantics have provided me with a useful framework for analyzing early Buddhist psychology, the theme of my Master's Degree thesis.

Korzybski, like Hayakawa and Wendell Johnson, advocates elimination of the "is" of identity and the "is" of predication from our language. Unfortunately, they went on using the verb "to be" in their own writing and this somewhat detracted from the weight their message might otherwise have carried. Still, Korzybski's student, D. David Bourland, Jr., went on to pioneer the use of E-Prime (English without the "is") and I can testify to the worth of following his example. Aristotle's superstitious ghost can now rest in peace.

Korzybski could have written better than he did, but then, the value of the book lies in the ideas he proposed and the intelligent men he inspired. That he failed to spoon-feed those suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder, a modern euphemism for too much television, says more about weak readers than it does about his poor (if indeed we can call it that) writing.

Read the book once, then read it again, and then start putting general semantics to work in your own reading, writing, and--most importantly--thinking. If you don't do anything else in your life, get rid of the verb "to be" and you will have gotten more from Korzybski than you will ever get from another author. The rest of the book will then just amount to layers of frosting on the cake. Warning, though! Once you do, you will hardly ever again read a book or listen to another person speak without recoiling from the dogmatism they espouse with every use of that malignant little Aristotelian invitation to identification, rationalization, and objectification.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable and Useful Book
On its publication, Science And Sanity received the high praise of many prestigious scientists, such as W. Horsley Gantt (who had worked with Pavlov), and the criticism of a few self-appointed defenders of science, such as Martin Gardner (who was a philosophy major, not a scientist).

Basically, the book develops a system different from, but similar too, scientific method -- a practical system for applying scientific values and attitudes in any situation, not just in a laboratory. It is a system that, like science, emphasizes checking the facts. For example, take Korzybski's theory of time-binding. One reviewer here described time-binding as "storing information." But if you check the facts (actually read the book), you will find that Korzybski defined time-binding as the ability to pass information from one generation to the next. Because of this ability, human beings progress (at least in some ways), but animals do not. For instance, beavers build dams that are just like the beaver dams built a million years ago, but the stucco houses of human beings today are quite different from the mud huts of 20,000 B.C. Our ability to bind time has made this possible, and animals can't do it (in anything more than a negligible way).

5-0 out of 5 stars TOP Review
Ms. M. Kendig said:

"What about Science and Sanity 1971?"

"Last spring, reflecting on that question, I dashed off a note on 'Up-Dating an Open-Ended System.' Before I could revise it for publication I got a letter from Russell Meyers and - happily for me - he included his 1971 evaluations of S & S - some paralleling my own, some going far beyond what I'd dare write as a layman, lacking (as I do) Dr. Meyers' professional qualifications in neuro-medical sciences and as a 'learned generalist'. I quote him in full below."

Dr. Russell Meyers said:

"...I have just re-read Science and Sanity (my 8th run) and am so deeply impressed with it as to now say, without reservation, that, disregarding its rhetoric (in the main, its repetitious statements), it is far and away the most profound, insightful and globally significant book I have ever read.

"With some knowledge of the interim developments of science and the socio-political events that have materialized since 1933, I can say in retrospect that any modifications that might now have to be made in the original text would be trivial, mainly technological supplements; none in principle ('structure'-as-function). A.K. has proved far more a prophet than he would ever have allowed himself to fancy. What a tremendous breadth and depth of insight, analytic and synthetic achievement!" [June 1971]

The late Russell Meyers, MD, FSC, was Chief of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Williamson Appalachian Regional Hospital, 1963-; formerly Chairman, Division of Neurosurgery, and Professor of Surgery, University of Iowa, 1946-1963. [Dr. Meyers died in 2001, I believe.]

1-0 out of 5 stars Substance or Shadow?
The students of Browne and Keeley would have a field day with Korzybski’s work. In fact, anyone attempting to read “Science and Sanity” would do well to have on hand a copy of “Asking the right questions: A guide to Critical Thinking” - to consult with frequently. (That textbook is in its sixth edition, and authored by scholars of no lesser standing than Korzybski.) Open Korzybski’s work at almost any page, and it’s easy to find examples of ad hominem argument, dichotomous thinking, begging the question, and even that notorious failing of novices, the “universal.” For example, Korzybski, with one great paternalistic stroke of his pen, asserts that, “many women are extremely infantile, being poorly developed as human beings.”

I am somewhat bemused here: As I understand it, Aristotle didn’t have a great opinion of women, yet Korzybski claims to have dispensed with Aristotelian thinking entirely. Korzybski adds that, not only are women “exhibitionist” (given to spurious ornament such as “shiny buttons”) they “foster” this failing in the helpless male of the species as well. (Military uniforms have shiny buttons too!) And so Eve takes the fall all over again. Of course, other social groups are not exempt: Korzybski similarly dismisses “primitives” and “mental patients.”

I am comforted to know that there are others (and male at that!) who are prepared to challenge Korzybski’s thinking. Martin Gardner put it very nicely indeed, as reported by the previous reviewer. Perhaps the greatest pity, however, is that Korzybski seems to have been so embittered by his experience of war - in marked contrast to men like Victor Frankl, whose post concentration camp philosophies I am much more inspired to live by.

There is no doubt that language informs behaviour. But, like Plato’s shadows at the back of the cave, semantics have no substance without their source. In my view, Korzybski spends too much time focussing on the shadows.

5-0 out of 5 stars Korzybski's Hyper Organum
"Science And Sanity" remains the most important book written in the last century, unread by the majority of people , while not understood by some who have.
Alfred Korzybski, as a result of his experiences came to formulate a system capable of explaining anomalies which Aristotle's 'logic-methodology'(Organon, c.350 B.C.), further Francis Bacon's revision(Novum organum,1620) continue to ignore. For example rediscoveries of non-identity: Heraclitus(c.500 B.C.)- one cannot step into the 'same' river twice; infinite-values(non-dichotomy): Georg Cantor(1874)- finite variables generated between others; non-elementalism: Lao-Tse(c.600 B.C.)- the whole is not the sum of the parts; non-allness: Bertrand Russell(1910)- a proposition about 'all' propositions cannot include itself; hence non-universal: Albert Einstein(1905)- laws are not eternal 'absolute' truths but relative(contextual), hence variable dependent upon method of investigation, otherwise asserted by David Hume(1739)- the 'uniformity' of observation to 'universals', is falsely based on 'habitual association of ideas';etc.
Morpheus when asked 'what is the Matrix'? Replied: "It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth". Similarly 'aristotelian-conditionality' codifies 'reality' such that facts become ignored. The 'realities' include the generation of abstractions upon abstractions(for example, use language to speak about language- Josiah Royce 1855-1916, hence self-reflexiveness; but including the non-verbal perceptions, visualizations,etc), the phenomena causal by noumena(thing(s)-in-themselves) the external event(s), of which we confuse assuming as the 'same'. This appears something that Siddhartha Gautama(Buddha) in part realized, for when asked 'what reality was', he simply raised a rose over his head then while smiling said that the rose is forever beyond words.
Korzybski's(1921) Time-binding first introduced in "Manhood Of Humanity", entails the human capacity to improve on the accumulated abstractions of others, then transmitting it for future generations. While the point of Ivan Pavlov's(1906) experiments on 'conditionality', entails that animals can only form 'associations' due to the limits of their nervous systems: an expectancy concerning two 'stimuli' involving a 'response repertoire' dependent upon circumstances- after A.Dickinson(1980) along with N.J.Mackintosh(1983). Such that animals do not time-bind. However when humans 'copy animals in their nervous reactions', such 'identifications'(treating an abstraction, anything, etc., as the 'same' by the ignoring['filtering' out] of facts) lead only to non-survival, delusional unsanity, causal in disrupting the time-binding process. As David Hume(1739) argued, 'associations' are false relations between two events occurring (hence ordered) in spatio-temporal contiguity, 'habitual' because their contingency is not certain. As such Korzybski had realized that Aristotle's paradigm structured 'reality' in terms of 'identifications'.
Apart from the Non-Aristotelian paradigm, Korzybski introduces General Semantics a Science of values (replacing Aristotle's 'elementalistic logic'), concerned with a consciousness of abstractions(free of 'identification(s)') based on an empirical(not a priori) order of evaluation(event(s)-insight-logic) modelled by the Structural Differential, having an equivalence to a theory of sanity(Psycho-logics) involving a human organism-as-a-whole-in-an-environment.
Which Douglas M.Kelley used successfully in the European theatre of World War II on soldiers with psycho-neurotic 'reaction' patterns, which for the most part had developed under combat stress. Reported in a paper, "The Use Of General Semantics And Korzybskian Principles As An Extensional Method Of Group Psychotherapy In Traumatic Neuroses", in "The Journal Of Nervous And Mental Disease", September 1951.
This book therefore not only becomes fundamental for the philosophic-scientific-enterprise-as-a-whole as a time-binding process, it becomes essential even for the 'ordinary person' as an orientation to 'reality'.
As Ted Falconar(2000) puts it: "The Aristotelian thinker is one of the captives of Plato's cave, who think the shadows are reality".
However since this book will create problems in understanding, I suggest you might first read Korzybski's "Manhood Of Humanity", along with Susan with Bruce Kodish's "Drive Yourself Sane". ... Read more

147. The Diamond Cutter : The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0385497911
Catlog: Book (2003-07-15)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 13381
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book that brings spirituality to the workplace
This book is a wonderful story about a Buddhist priest who comes to the New York diamond business and works his way up from the bottom using Buddhist principles anonymously. The business is a great success selling millions and still being true to the most unlikely of business attitudes. It's a great story and it actually rings true. Along the way he talks about a lot of the problems westerners have with classice Buddhist writings.
This book made me rethink the way I deal with the people I work with and my goals in life.
I want all my friends to read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ancient Wisdom with Modern Enterprise
Geshe Michael Roach combines 15 years as an international business executive, with the wisdom accrued by living a life dedicated to spiritual evolution. In fact, his phenomenal success as a business man was directly caused by following the principles outlined in The Diamond Cutter.

This book is an incredible guideline for not only how to be an sucessful, ethical businessperson, but how the world actually works. The point is not the dogmatic notion of virtue, but the logic behind it. Why does generosity lead to wealth? Why does kindness lead to happiness? The key lies in two concepts clearly articulated by Geshe Roach in The Diamond Cutter: Hidden Potential and Mental Imprints.
Read this book if you want to know why you experience your world the way you do, and the speciic causes for creating the business, and the life, that you desire. Learn how to get to the end of your career, and look back and know that it was worth it. This book is highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars an invitation to explore buddhism more deeply
a nice introduction to some of the central tenets of buddhism, intermingled with anecdotes from the author's experiences in the diamond industry. ... Read more

148. Buddha
by KarenArmstrong
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
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Asin: 0143034367
Catlog: Book (2004-09-28)
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Sales Rank: 26597
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Books on Buddhism may overflow the shelves, but the life story of the Buddha himself has remained obscure despite over 2,500 years of influence on millions of people around the world. In an attempt to rectify this, and to make the Buddha and Buddhism accessible to Westerners, the beloved scholar and author of such sweeping religious studies as A History of God has written a readable, sophisticated, and somewhat unconventional biography of one of the most influential people of all time. Buddha himself fought against the cult of personality, and the Buddhist scriptures were faithful, giving few details of his life and personality. Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha Gautama walked away from the insulated pleasure palace that had been his home and joined a growing force of wandering monks searching for spiritual enlightenment during an age of upheaval. Armstrong traces Gautama's journey through yoga and asceticism and grounds it in the varied religious teachings of the time. In many parts of the world during this so-called axial age, new religions were developing as a response to growing urbanization and market forces. Yet each shared a common impulse--they placed faith increasingly on the individual who was to seek inner depth rather than magical control. Taoism and Confucianism, Hinduism, monotheism in the Middle East and Iran, and Greek rationalism were all emerging as Gautama made his determined way towards enlightenment under the boddhi tree and during the next 45 years that he spent teaching along the banks of the Ganges. Armstrong, in her intelligent and clarifying style, is quick to point out the Buddha's relevance to our own time of transition, struggle, and spiritual void in both his approach--which was based on skepticism and empiricism--and his teachings.

Despite the lack of typical historical documentation, Armstrong has written a rich and revealing description of both a unique time in history and an unusual man. Buddha is a terrific primer for those interested in the origins and fundamentals of Buddhism. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Reviews (53)

3-0 out of 5 stars Illusion and Reality of the Buddha
Karen Armstrong's "Buddha" is not only a bestseller, but has been praised as "invaluable." Armstrong is well known as a popular writer on religious history and this book is one of many she has written for a lay audience. All of her books are well written and enjoyable to read but not always historically reliable. This is, unfortunately, the case with her book on the Buddha. I am afraid that people going away after a reading of this admittedly enjoyable book will have no real understanding of either the Buddha or his religion.
The question is-- what were the social and economic conditions prevailing in Buddha's time that allowed his religion to survive and prosper? The answer to this question is to be found in the works of the great Bengali Marxist philosopher Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya ("Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction"; "Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism"). The short answer is that in Buddha's time the old democratic tribal associations were being replaced by newly emergent military states. The tribes had been governed by councils who appointed their leaders by democratic methods. Buddha came from such a tribe, the Sakyas. He witnessed the destruction of these tribal organizations by the new states and the consequent enslavement and murder of tribal peoples. The source of the suffering world.
In his Order he recreated the primitive democracy and interpersonal solidarity of the tribal ethos and thus presented, on a spiritual level, the illusion of freedom and meaning to life that had actually been lost in the real world. This is the real story behind the rise and development of Buddhism, but you won't find it in Armstrong's book.

5-0 out of 5 stars very interesting book
I think the somewhat mixed reviews of this book are off mark. It is true that I was also expecting biographical insight into the historical person, Siddharta Gautama, but as Armstrong carefully qualifies there is scant historical data on which an educated biography could be based. I don't think educated speculation would serve much purpose. By providing some of the historical context (e.g., axial age and the concerns of new city dwellers in northern India) surrounding the time when Siddharta was active, the reader gets a meaningful feel for the times (even this is, to some extent, conjectural) that may have influenced Siddharta Gautama's motivations and thinking. I am also most impressed by the acuity and knowledge she has about Buddhism and her confidence to paraphrase others' works (as she freely admits) to fit the flow and development of the book. I have found no theoretical flaws in her reasoning, and she is ultra-careful and respectful by not conveying simplistic accounts of Buddihsm's deep ideas which so many books are prone to do. I would say the book is as blunder-free and void of nonsense as well-known books by the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh are. This is no simple feat.

The only two issues I would remark are: (a) she uses "western" a few times to contrast the difficulty that "westerners" might have understanding Buddhism vis-a-vis asians, which is an outdated cliche that too many "Zen writers" still make; Buddhism is as difficult to understand for asians as africans, south americans, or europeans (except possibly Tibetans which is a special case); I think it's time to dispense with the "western" adjective (Dalai Lama included); (b) a little more serious, it would help clarify to the lay/novice reader if Armstrong maintained a clear separation of "suffering" and "pain" which she mixes up now and then. From the context, one understands that she is not in the dark about their essential differences, but that may not be evident to the beginning student. Otherwise, buy this book if you're interested in Buddhism, beginner or advanced practioner/theoretician alike. There are few books as good as this.

2-0 out of 5 stars look elsewhere
This book is written from the perspective of a skeptic who primarily writes about Western religions, so if you are looking for an introduction to the subject, there are better books available.It makes me wonder why Penguin books didn't get an author who specializes in Eastern religion to write this book.

For a biography, I would recommend "The Living Buddha - An Interpretive Biography" by Daisaku Ikeda (1976) instead of Karen Armstrong's book.

For an introduction to Buddhism,Wapola Rahula's (1959) "What The Buddha Taught".

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautifut Dispassionate account
One of the reviews for this book states that it is "Destined to become the classic source for anyone delving . . . into the life and teachings of the religious icon." - Christian Science Monitor.

I believe that they are right.It is the most interesting interpretation of his life and teaching that I have read.She draws from both the Pali texts and fragments of the early "lost" Indian material which can be found in translations of the scriptures into Chinese and Tibetan scriptures, which give some of the earliest collection of Sanskrit texts.She spends a good amount of time on the "did Buddha believe in God" issue.Her conclusion is that the use of "phenomena" to dazzle and amaze simple people and from that secure a belief of God was what Buddha objected to.She also talks about the axial age.I had not heard about that before and aparently the veracity of it is debated by some historians.

She brings her excellent command of history and research to the subject.In the January issue of Shambhalla Sun magazine she contributed an article that was also excellent.

I recently read that Buddha was considered by some to be one of the incarnations of Vishnu, the preserver and protector of creation and the embodiment of mercy and goodness.His incarnation as Buddha was to remove suffering from the world.Much of her interpretation would lend credence to this.

This book is well worth the time spent to read it.I have read it several times.It is an excellent source for those just beginning to learn about Buddhism and also for seasoned Buddhists.

3-0 out of 5 stars "Everything in moderation...
...including moderation," are among my favorite words of the Buddha, and for me, neatly sum up an ideology that some people refer to as complicated or esoteric. I have considered myself a Buddhist for several years now...didn't plan it that way...just started meditating to help me alleviate anxiety, eight years ago last month, and after about a year-and-a-half of insights that just arose naturally from my mindfulness practice, I finally read a book about Buddhism and had the realization that my perception had shifted to the point that my personal ideals are closer to Buddhism than any other "major world religion."

I prefer not to think of Buddhism as a "religion." I think of it as being more of a spiritual ideology, that's just as much about psychology as it is spirituality--and, by the way, too many western psychotherapists and clergymen don't seem to get the fact that psyche and spirit are inextricably linked--one of the realizations that most practitioners of meditation/mindfulness eventually have for themselves is that all things are connected, and that borders and boundaries are merely man-made illusions: if we would all realize that, there would be a lot less conflict and environmental problems in the world.

Buddhism is mostly about creating a proper "MENTAL CULTURE" that helps us to overcome our egocentric hatred, prejudices, jealousy, obsessions, and petty resentments, that all fall under the category of "ignorance;" and to recognize that "god"--or whatever one wants to call the creative force that continues to create in a continuous cycle of arising and subsiding--exists equally in all beings. This is why the Buddha wanted to be remembered not for his life, but for his message. As human beings, it is a projection of our egocentric tendencies that we tend to focus too much on the actual events of peoples lives than the real value of their legacies. It's not forgetting the events of history that condemns us to repeat them, but failing to learn the lessons of history...that's why many of us make the same mistakes over and over again; and, like Phil in the movie, Groundhog Day, we don't get to move on to a new day until we get it right.

Now on to this book. I agree with other reviewers that the book is more informative for non-Buddhists, because it does provide some good information about the Buddha's teachings, although I agree with others that I'm not sure that a biographical account of a life, the details of which are purposely sketchy so as not to emphasize his life over his message, was the best way to communicate this message. The thing I find most problematic about this book is that it does treat his teachings as an ancient, esoteric practice, rather than one that is just as pertinent today as it was 2,500 years fact, maybe it's even more pertinent today, in a human world that is currently embroiled in degenerative political and ideolical conflicts that have arisen from the ego, that uniquely human reality filter that prevents us from seeing things as they really are, and gives us the false impression that we are separate from our neighbors.

I also wanted to echo the sentiments of another reviewer that pointed out that human "desire" is not what creates problems for us (the Buddha's second noble truth, as stated in the book is that human "suffering" is caused by "desire," which is not the best translation of the Buddha's words). "Desire" is a creative vehicle of nature: what gets us in trouble is when desire becomes excessive and turns into uncontrollable cravings, obsessions, and compulsions.

Whatever spiritual path you choose, please make sure you choose it mindfully, that it really works for you--that is, that it really answers your questions about existence satisfactorily, rather than just raising more questions--and that you don't just do it because this is the "religion" that your family has always practiced. Explore multiple ideologies, and make a conscious decision about what path you choose. Beliefs can be used to wound or heal, and humanity can't really afford to have too much more "worshipping on auto pilot." ... Read more

149. A Brief History of Everything
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570627401
Catlog: Book (2001-02-06)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 5782
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A Brief History of Everything Ken Wilber Now available for the first time on audio, here is Ken Wilber’s concise account of our place in a universe of sex, soul, and spirit. Told in an accessible and entertaining question-and-answer format, A Brief History of Everything examines the course of evolution as the unfolding manifestation of Spirit, from matter to life to mind, including the higher stages of spiritual development where Spirit becomes conscious of itself. Wilber offers striking and original views on many topics, including gender relations, modern liberation movements, environmental ethics, the conflict between this-worldly and other-worldly approaches to spirituality, and much more. Read by Steve Grad and Willow Pearson. ... Read more

Reviews (71)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book that unifies wisdom from many sources.
To me as a scientific minded person approaching spirituality but having a hard time integrating the two, this book was a landmark.

Not only does the book give an excellent structure where all sorts of wisdom and knowledge may live side by side in a friendly manner, but on the personal level it helped me at least intellectually to unify various aspects of myself and my life.

Lately I have read large amounts of buddhist texts, new as well as traditional. This book takes a wider perspective and helps me relate my spiritual understanding and experiences in framework where it can co-exist with everything else I know about biology, physics, psychology, etc.

I recommend this book to everyone with an open mind that has the capacity to understand and grasp the subject and has any interest in science, psychology, philosophy, religion, history, feminism, biology.

I have already one other book by Wilber in my book stack, and I'm sure I will at least buy and read a few more before I move on.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Insights of a Modern Sage
Ken Wilber is one of the truly great wise men of our time. in this book he has given us a vast panoramic look at humankind's past, present, and possible future. primarily, he treats our spiritual nature and transpersonal potential. early in the book he writes, "i think the sages are the growing tip of the secret impulse of evolution. i think they are the leading edge of the self-transcending drive that always goes beyond what went before. i think they embody the very drive of the Kosmos toward greater depth and expanding consciousness. i think they are riding the edge of a light beam racing toward a rendezvous with God." he backs up this huge statement with a wise exploration of evolution, philosophy, history, psychology, systems theory, gods and goddesses, comparative religion, gaia theory, gender issues, great men and women of the past and much more. the question and answer format works well as he weaves into the tale interesting sidebars, humor, anecdotes, research and the musings of a modern mystic/seer/scholar. this book is something special and destined to be a classic in the field of human potential. whether you're an established Ken Wilber fan [as i am] or reading him for the first time, this book should be on your short-list of must read books. Enjoy!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking in some ways, but undertone of discomfort
This is the first Ken Wilber book i have read. I read it because i had read somewhere else that this book espoused a viewpoint of how religions, societies, political systems, etc evolved. In fact, he does that. It is an interesting explaination. I get the sense however as i read this stuff that he is manufacturing this system. I almost feel that he is making up his own vocabulary, which generally gets in the way, to explain this.

When i was much younger, i read quite a bit in the existential and sociological works area. This refreshed my memory of that exercise. You have to really dig down and spend some time thinking about this stuff to have a chance at grasping it. The question becomes whether it is worth it? Is there a benefit from spending a great deal of time reading this guy's works? I do not have simple answer. I know very little about the man himself. I guess the first question would be whether he himself has risen to some higher level of conciousness as a result of his deep thinking here? I do see some applications of thinking about various social, societal, inter-personal interactions. I just am not sure yet whether i buy into this framework of thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best
Ken Wilber shows us that although we all take different roads in life, we share a common direction in our development and evolution. He brings together a vast number of theories and observations and organizes them into one theory. It is quite amazing! Wilber has written many books on this subject but this is the one I would recommend people to read first. If you'd like a shorter, more simplified but extremely well-organized / well-articulated book that covers this material, I strongly suggest "The Ever-transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato. It also discusses practical implications of these ideas that make you feel like you could have saved a lot of hassle and confusion if you read it eariler in your life. Both Wilber and Sato are clearly two of the most advanced thinkers of our time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life-changing philosophy
For any thinking person who's struggling with the schism between science, psychology and faith, this book has the answer. Mr. Wilber has an amazing mind, and in this book he simplifies his theoretical framework to make his brilliant thought easier to grasp. I disagree with the reader who complained about lack of references -- all the footnotes are available in his other works. This is the synthesis of his thought for those who want to understand, not those who want to nit-pick.

For me, it's a life-changing book, showing the way to order my own thoughts and experiences. Wilber is the only writer I've come across, other than James Hillman, who helps me reconcile all my disparate reading and experience.

In this book, he perfectly and succinctly outlines the growth process I see in my clients who are struggling to overcome dysfunction, find meaning in life and transcend their pasts.

I am grateful for this book's influence in my thought, and in my work as a therapist. ... Read more

150. The Power of Logic
by C. Stephen Layman
list price: $81.87
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Asin: 0767420330
Catlog: Book (2001-11-07)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Sales Rank: 152010
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Intended for the first course in logic, The Power of Logic (POL) is written with the conviction that logic is the most important course that college students take. POL preserves the balance between informal and formal logic. Layman’s direct and accessible writing style, along with his plentiful examples, imaginative exercises, and POL’s accompanying Logic Tutor make this the best text for logic classes ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Layman Succeeds in Most Areas
I found this book highly insightful and would recommend it for any philosophy/logic course in higher education. I did find that the online companion []slightly grating in its' acceptance of certain grammar and punctuation. This aside, I would recommend the book as a whole to anyone interested. It runs the gamut from formal to informal, and adds mighty descriptors of the information along the way. One point deduction for the companion site functionality that this book uses. The book by itself is easy to grasp with enough toughies to keep the average logic student going. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars an excellent introductory logic textbook
As a college philosophy teacher I have tried many textbooks for teaching informal logic. I am very happy with this book. It presents the material thoroughly and clearly and has tons of useful exercises. I don't need the chapters on symbolic logic for the course I teach, but the material on informal and Aristotelian logic is working very nicely. The publisher maintains an interactive website with additional exercises and review material for students. My students use it and appreciate it. ... Read more

151. Radical Acceptance : Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0553380990
Catlog: Book (2004-11-23)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 42893
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For many of us, feelings of deficiency are right around the corner. It doesn’t take much--just hearing of someone else’s accomplishments, being criticized, getting into an argument, making a mistake at work--to make us feel that we are not okay. Beginning to understand how our lives have become ensnared in this trance of unworthiness is our first step toward reconnecting with who we really are and what it means to live fully.
--from Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance

“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book.This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork--all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s twenty years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students.

Writing with great warmth and clarity, Tara Brach brings her teachings alive through personal stories and case histories, fresh interpretations of Buddhist tales, and guided meditations. Step by step, she leads us to trust our innate goodness, showing how we can develop the balance of clear-sightedness and compassion that is the essence of Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance does not mean self-indulgence or passivity. Instead it empowers genuine change: healing fear and shame and helping to build loving, authentic relationships. When we stop being at war with ourselves, we are free to live fully every precious moment of our lives.
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Suffering is Highly Over-rated!
Tara Brach's book was invaluable in helping me become more accepting of myself. Ms. Brach shares many useful stories and helpful insights. Radical Self Acceptance provides skillful exercises for dealing with many inner shadows. Not only does she bring light to issues of shame and feelings of unworthiness, she provides practical advice on how to awaken from self-suffering. I personally have greatly benefited from her courageous inquiry into the facets of angst that we all experience. In these turbulent times, this book illustrates many practices to embrace our personal struggles so that we can become more compassionate and live a fuller life. When Tara addresses her own vulnerabilities it provides me fortitude to face my own. I consider this book a great resource for understanding our greatest struggle today: ourselves. In our world filled with consumption and materialism, we make up many deluded stories that further separates us from ourselves and our world. Tara goes to the root of how we reinforce our sense of unworthiness. Ms. Brach's wonderful Buddhist and other spiritual teachings provide vivid examples of how we can feel less disconnected. This book is a powerful guide for showing that our self-hatred and shame threatens the future of our world with continuing strife. This book is a wonderful collection of Tara's teachings that weave together our sense of belonging amidst the constant sense of alienation that we unconsciously perpetuate. Finally, this book allows me to free myself from my sense of deficiency to understand that my suffering can be ameliorated with the knowledge that I am a part of a larger, awakening community of like-minded souls who are recovering from their shame. Radical Self Acceptance inspires me to fully "show up", accept, embrace and cultivate greater kindness in all my relationships.

5-0 out of 5 stars A truly amazing book that will change your life
I've read a number of books on Buddhism, and many of them include a fair amount of discussion on "suffering" and how much of our pain is perpetuated by our telling stories to ourselves. The mind (and heart) is seemingly forever tangled in a web of doubt, what-ifs, and events that exist mostly or entirely in one's head. As Mark Twain put it, "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened."

That, in essence, is what /Radical Acceptance/ is about, but it goes above and beyond the seemingly brief gloss-over treatment traditional western Buddhist books give this subject. Tara Brach has crafted an amazing book that opens your eyes to just how much suffering we tend to bring upon ourselves. Despite the very serious nature of what this book deals with, it is a delight to read. With each turn of the page, you begin to see more and more clearly. It's like having a compassionate, age-old friend guide you down the road of your own emotions and thoughts.

If you take the time to truly digest what /Radical Acceptance/ is all about, I can guarantee it will change you forever. My brief description here cannot do it justice by any measure - just as the storytelling and strategizing of the mind cannot do justice to the vibrant reality of the world. You might think a book about suffering and self-delusion would be depressing, but it is entirely the opposite. It's like suddenly being able to see with clarity after being caught up in a dense fog for so long. And that, I believe, is the highest praise you can give any book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life As It Is
As the title of this marvelous book indicates, Tara Brach shows each and every one of us the path towards accepting our life as it is. This doesn't mean, as you may be wondering, never strive in the direction of change. It's just that, well, change is pretty much a given anyhow. Tara's philosophy (not necessarily writing style) reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh and his works on mindfulness. Like the book Anger by Nhat Hanh, Tara proposes we must embrace our emotions and perceived shortcomings with the love a mother would have for it's child. There is an absolute plethora of Buddhist/Self Help books on the shelves these days that aren't really worth mentioning, but this book stands out. The most important factor is that you don't even need to be practicing Buddhism to benefit from his wisdom. Just as I have learned from such Christian writers as Thomas Merton and Anthony de Mello, Christians (or any religious tradition's followers) can learn much from this. It's the kind of imperfect life experience all of us can relate to in her work that appeals to me. She's down to earth, introspective (as opposed to preachy), and compassionately skilled in all of her words. Tara Brach holds a Ph.D. and is a clinical psychologist in addition to being a lay Buddhist priest and vipassana meditation guide. In Washington, D.C. she founded the "Insight Meditation Community." She also participates in running various workshops nationally. If your making a "books to buy" list for 2004, put this on there; it's genuinely worth the read. Thanks Tara.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great book on mindfulness, but limited in other ways
Tara Brach is a great teacher of psychology and an especially brilliant teacher of mindfulness, but I think her teachings of Buddhism are reductionist when it comes to their fundamental core.

I concur with what many of the reviewers have said below about how well Tara Brach brings the Buddhist teachings on awareness and compassion to light. This book is particularly valuable for those who are interested in Buddhism as a collection of practical, secular techniques to improve personal well-being and social relationships. It is "accessible", "practical" and "heart-warming". In this sense Tara Brach is a master of human psychology.

However, those who are interested in seeing what the Buddha saw (which is a possiblity for all), in living in such a way that it is no longer necessary to cultivate joy but merely have bliss follow one like a shadow, in realizing the formless compassion of the Buddhas which is beyond the limited techniques of psychology, should question some of the assertions in this book.

The primary notion Tara Brach emphasizes which, while believable from a psychological perspective, is highly questionable from a Buddhist perspective, is the notion that "awareness is the true self" or "compassion is the true self". Tara Brach describes the true self as something one knows when one has the clear mind of meditation (whether seated or in daily life) or a compassionate heart, but doesn't know when one gets distracted or angry or self-doubting. In one passage, she describes being her true self one morning, getting distracted, and then losing touch with her true self. This makes it sound like the "true self" is some separate state, which is then defined with terms like awareness and compassion.

There are many different interpretations of Buddhism and there is no way to objectively to say which is 'right' or 'authentic', but the view that the true self is something which comes in one state of mind and leaves in another is highly suspect. The "true self" in Buddhism, to the extent that one wishes to use such terminology, is altogether everywhere, without differentiation or degree. It neither comes nor goes nor sits nor reclines. One does not need to do any practice or be in any state to realize it; it cannot be with you sometimes and not with you other times. It depends on no state of mind, no practice, no virtue - it is unconditioned.

All conditioned things (which includes the elements that we humans often mistakenly think we are such as our personalities or our virtues or our values or some profound mental/emotional state we come to) are intrinsically Nirvanic. In other words, confusion and anger are no less our "true self" than "awareness".

Read this book, love it, cherish it, and learn from it, but ask yourself whether the real cessation of suffering the Buddha knew is some state of "awareness" or "compassion", something that is here when you are clear minded and gone when you are not. I don't think that's what the Buddha taught.

But you can read the Majjhima Nikaya, available at Amazon, (Suttas 7, 10, 22, 26 are particularly relevant to this question) and find out for yourself.

Awareness and compassion are very important, but the Buddha did not mistake them for a "true self". The Buddha rode on a raft of such positive states, such good karma, to cross to the other shore, but when he got there, he abandoned even them, he knew what was before and after them and what illuminates them beyond any faculty, and that is what allowed him to save thousands of beings with merely a word or a smile or a gesture.

I think Tara Brach has written a brilliant book, but she could have improved it by staying within the limits of her own insight, not diminshing Buddhism with the confines of psychology. This books shows the limits of trying to express Buddhism with Western science and humanism, in other words of thinking the truths of Buddhism can be mastered without a shift in one's fundamental world view.

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 Cheers for Tara
I've been involved in Vipassana for many, many years and Tara Brach has always been a huge influence on me... Her skillful means at guiding people through the perils of the "monkey-mind" that overrun most everyone and offer practical suggestions on how we can actively choose to become whole and peaceful inside are second to none. Everyone should read this book because we all at one time or another struggle with "not being enough" in our daily endeavors or by our parents or coworkers or even friends. Tara shows a path to happiness that we should all heed. ... Read more

152. Archetypes of Wisdom : An Introduction to Philosophy, Paperbound Edition (with CD-ROM and InfoTrac)
by Douglas J. Soccio
list price: $70.95
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Asin: 0534605435
Catlog: Book (2003-06-23)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 88922
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Featuring Douglas J. Soccio's lucid and conversational prose and a well-chosen, reader-friendly array of succinct excerpts from canonical primary sources, ARCHETYPES OF WISDOM brings philosophy to life for its readers through the examination of many paradigmatic philosophies and philosophers. Very much a student-focused book that speaks out of Soccio's non-condescending desire to speak to students where they "are" and not where they "should be," ARCHETYPES OF WISDOM includes numerous pedagogical illustrations and features (Philosophical Queries, a Marginal Glossary, Chapter Summaries, End-of-Chapter Questions for Reflection, to name a few) to make this often-times daunting subject the approachable and engaging subject it ought to be. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Philosophy Intro!
As an introduction to philosophy, Soccio has done a great job. He does a great job of explaining a subject one of the most daunting subjects one could try to explain, and does it consistently. Highly recommended.

P.S. Soccio was my teacher at a community college a few years back--great guy, to boot.

5-0 out of 5 stars A excellent Intro to Philosophy
I actually have the second edition to this textbook so I'm not sure how much it's changed--not much would be my guess since it's a truly wonderful book, one of the few textbooks that I've kept, and the only one that I periodically consult. Embarking on the study of philosophy with it's breadth and complexity can be daunting, and Archetypes of Wisdom provides an excellent introduction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tears of Joy!! :D
An EXCELLENT primer to philosophy, designed to be down-to-earth and easy to understand for everyday morons like myself. n_n

For starters, Soccio has included biographies of philosophers, countless numbers of quotes, illustrations (to further define the subjects), commentaries, summaries, internet resources, a collection of stories, cultural variety, and flexible structure.

The first chapter answers many critical questions hte beginner may have: Is objectivity possible? Does might make right? Is there one standard of right and wrong for everyone, or are moral standards relative? "Is it possible to justify the study of philosophy considering the urgent needs of such overwhelming contemporary problems such as world hunger?" The six branches are explained away in a nutshell in the behinning chapter, then elaborated throughout the rest of the book.

What I like best about Soccio's style of writing is his fair treatment of every single nook and cranny of the philosophical world. No bible-beating hellfire, or condescending arrogance! Yay! ... Read more

153. Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now
by Gordon, M.D. Livingston
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 1569244197
Catlog: Book (2004-10-10)
Publisher: Marlowe & Company
Sales Rank: 304
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Book Description

From a psychiatrist who has spent the past thirty years listening to other people's most intimate secrets and troubles-an eloquent, incisive, and deeply perceptive book about the things we all share-and which every one of us grapples with as we strive to make the most of the life we have left. After service in Vietnam as a surgeon for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1968-69, at the height of the war, Dr. Gordon Livingston returned to the U.S. and began work as a psychiatrist. In that capacity, he has listened to people talk about their lives-what works, what doesn't-and the limitless ways (most of them self-inflicted) that we have found to be unhappy. He is also a parent twice bereaved. In one thirteen-month period, he lost his eldest son to suicide, his youngest to leukemia. Out of a lifetime of experience, Livingston has extracted thirty bedrock truths: We are what we do. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Only bad things happen quickly. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. Livingston illuminates these and twenty-four others in a series of carefully hewn, perfectly calibrated essays, many of which emphasize our closest relationships and the things that we do to impede or, less frequently, enhance them. Again and again, these essays underscore that "we are what we do," and that while there may be no escaping who we are, we also have the capacity to face loss, misfortune, and regret and to move beyond them-that it is not too late. Full of things we may know but have not articulated to ourselves, Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart is a gentle and generous alternative to the trial-and-error learning that makes wisdom such an expensive commodity. For everyone who feels a sense of urgency that the clock ticks and still we aren't the person we'd like to be, it offers solace, guidance, and hope. ... Read more

154. Philosophy : The Power of Ideas with PowerWeb: Philosophy
by Brooke NoelMoore, KenBruder
list price: $76.56
our price: $76.56
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Asin: 0072980796
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Sales Rank: 50077
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Book Description

This comprehensive text with readings offers a historical overview of all major subdivisions of Western Philosophy perspectives. Written in an engaging and captivating style, it makes philosophy accessible without oversimplifying the material, and shows that philosophy's powerful ideas affect the lives of real people. The sixth edition includes new pedagogical tools and expanded coverage. ... Read more

155. Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings
by John Perry, Michael Bratman
list price: $67.95
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Asin: 0195112040
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 18009
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the third edition of Perry and Bratman's highly successful anthology intended for the introduction to philosophy course. It is the most comprehensive topically organized anthology of classical and contemporary philosophy available. The collection is perceived as one of the more serious and challenging introductions available. It includes sections on the meaning of life, God and evil, epistemology, philosohy of science, the mind/body problem, freedom of will, consciousness, ethics, and philosophical puzzles.

The third edition includes the following new selections: Plato, Apology, Nelson, Pike, Hume on Evil; J.L. Mackie, Evil and Omnipotence; Elizabeth Anderson, Knowledge, Human Interests, and Objectivity in Feminist Epistemology; David Lewis, Mad Pan and Martian Pain; Hilary Putnam, Turning Machines; Frank Jackson, What Mary Didn't Know; David Lewis, Knowing What It's Like; John Perry, Dialogue Concerning Personal Identiy and Immortality; Peter Strawson, Freedom and Resentment; Rosalind Hursthouse, Virtue Theory and Abortion; G.A. Cohen, Where the Action Is: On the Site of Distributive Justice; Samuel Scheffler, Responsibility, Reactive Attitudes and Liberalism; Debra Satz, Markets in Women's Reproductive Labor; Kwame Anthony Appiah, Racisms; Kavka's Toxin Puzzle; Quinn's Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Useful Anthology
I have taught introductory philosophy using both the first and the second editions of this book. It is a fine anthology. However, the book is clearly designed to be used in the context of an introductory college course. For that reason, a person who is approaching the book outside of a classroom context might benefit from using it in combination with a reference guide such as the _Oxford Companion to Philosophy_. The book was shortened in its second and third editions, because of feedback the authors received from instructors using it for introductory courses. The first edition included more readings and was not as influenced by the pressures of the college-text marketplace; it is my favorite. The third edition paperback is much easier to carry around, and in fact this remedies a marked failing in the previous editions. It also corrects some typographic errors (previously a minor annoyance.)

5-0 out of 5 stars a comprehensive and thorough overview
I used this book in an intro philosophy course in college and have been looking for it ever since. It presents original texts, plus thoughtful commentary and overviews that did not condense or simplify difficult topics. It is also incredibly thorough - if a work is part of the philosophical canon, it is in here, no matter how obscure. Now that I've found it again, its definitely going into my library as a standard reference text.

3-0 out of 5 stars Intro to Philo.
This book covers the very basic of philosophy and does its job well. It also provide some sample parodoxes though not extensive. Heavy reading in some area for philosophy is not my strong point. This books resonate with many philosophical discussion to be had. I enjoy most of the readings. ... Read more

156. Ideas & Opinions
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
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Asin: 0517003937
Catlog: Book (1988-12-12)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 4460
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

IDEAS AND OPINIONS contains essays by eminent scientist Albert Einstein on subjects ranging from atomic energy, relativity, and religion to human rights, government, and economics. Previously published articles, speeches, and letters are gathered here to create a fascinating collection of meditations by one of the world's greatest minds. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Scientific Perspective
Ideas and Opinions expresses a wide range of Einstein's thoughts throughout his life. The subject matter includes comments on freedom, politics, pacifism, education, religion, Germany, friends, and scientific issues. Whereas Einstein had a specific goal in writing each of these addresses, speeches and articles, the editor of this collection by combining Einstein's writings in this manner paints a picture of the man and his time. The most profound impact upon the reader is not the individual message of each writing, but rather how the whole body of work illuminates the dedication and fierce determination of one scientist to make himself a "harmonious personality" (64). One of the features of this collection is that it attempts to present each article in a straightforward manner. Each article is titled by what it attempts to say, for example one article is called "My First Impressions of the U.S.A." (3). This accurately reflects what Einstein says in this article, but so much more than what this title describes is also reflected in the essay. Einstein's political attitudes are best expressed not in his many essays on politics, government and pacifism, but instead in his First Impressions of America. One of his many observations is that "nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced" (6). Understanding this aspect is of immeasurable value when encountering Einstein's essay where he prescribes a program of action against atomic weapons. The greatest fault of this compilation is that it tends to be repetitive. However, this often helps to drive home the point and complete the overall picture of this man and his time. This text should be read by all persons everywhere. No other collection could possibly contain a better view of America, international relations, scientific issues and advances, religion, and humanity. For use in Honors Science, only certain readings would enhance the goal of the course, but including them would be invaluable not only for scientific perspective, but for an enriched experience of life itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius Philosophy Stands the Test of Time
This is a rare treasure of a book that will bring you wonderful insights into one of the greatest minds of the last century. Albert Einstein covers a great deal of topics including love, marriage, religion, God, laws and shares insights whose truth genuinely stands the test of time. This book is a brilliant account of his many lectures, letters, and thoughts throughout his own personal life, as well as his role in society. His suggestions, ideas and opinions serve humanity well, and hopefully many more people will take in the brilliance he so graciously gave us. Highly recommended for its outstanding literary and humanitarian contribution. Deserves 10 Stars.
Barbara Rose, author of 'Individual Power' and 'If God Was Like Man'

5-0 out of 5 stars Penetrates to the heart and soul of an amazing intellect
"Ideas and Opinions" reveals much about the thought processes, culture, and observations that shaped the character of Albert Einstein. In a remarkable series of insightful short prose selections, the reader learns a great deal about Einstein's views on morality and ethics; religion, particularly Judaism; government; the arts, literature, and higher education; philosophy; and government. His personal letters to and observations about other key persons of his time including Shaw, Freud, Gandhi, and Lorentz illustrate what a fully integrated individual Einstein truly was, a view that may counter some of the extreme depictions that render him a genius incapable of focusing beyond his science.

Having some many thoughts from this astounding intellect pulled into one volume makes this book a worthwhile addition to the stack of rainy day books. It's a book to be consumed in fits and starts, with a cup of coffee on the screened porch in the rain, a treat for inquiring minds.

The prose, perhaps a tad stilted by modern standards, is lucid. And seeing Einstein turn his attention on the topic everyone wrangles with forges a new link to him and his work. As he stated, " The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking."

5-0 out of 5 stars and you thought he was all physics...
It's undisputed that he was a great man. No scandals are ever going to surface, and say Einstein was really a wife-beater or something stupid that seems to happen in the tabloids to just about everybody famous. :)
Anyway, this book is one good way to get to know him. I think this book works because it takes all sorts of scraps of things he wrote over the course of his life, and not necessarily intending for them to be published in this manner. You can see a very consistent man, with firm principles, and almost sorry that he's all the world had for a hero, even at the same time that he knew it was a role he would have to play. Once he was in the role, he made a point of clearly stating his principles, in the hope that they would effect change. You will see this all, and you will see a kind of melancholy that he must have felt. I think all intelligent people are haunted by the meaning of existence, and he is archetypal for this. At the same time, he seemed to enjoy his life. I wish there were a book that could go deeper, and really tell us what he was like to live with, but those close to him probably respected him too much to want to unveil his private life. I suppose I shall have to respect that as well.
I hate being typical and doing the same thing as everybody, so I have to say, I was surprised that this man who is so respected by the world earned my respect as well. I think he has a message to tell us, and the compilation is well worth reading.
I do feel obligated to inform you of any shortcomings: Albert Einstein has a rather complex writing style, and I don't believe in writing like that. Another issue is that there is much repetition. This might bother you, but realize that this book was never meant to be a book. If he repeats himself, it's simply because he said very similar things to two different audiences, and the editors got ahold of both pieces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Reviewer: bugesh from New York United States
Einstein wasn't just a scientist, but a general genious and philosopher. This book offers wonderful insight into one of the greatest minds of the century, if not all time.
the book is a compilation of letters, essays and writings on all sorts of topics. He speaks about his thoughts on America, the world, life, you name it.

It interested me that Einstein was an anti-prohibitionist; stating that "any law that cannot be enforced only serves to undermine the authority of the government. it is no secret that this is closely linked to the sharp rise in crime in this country." This could easily be applied to the modern-day drub problem and supports the decriminalization movement.

The book is a great companion for anyone who is a fan of Einstein or who considers themselves enlightened (or in need of enlightenment). A big 5 stars!! ... Read more

157. Environmental Ethics : Readings in Theory and Application
by Louis P. Pojman
list price: $74.95
our price: $74.95
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Asin: 0534639712
Catlog: Book (2004-05-26)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 269520
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Book Description

The most comprehensive introduction to environmental ethics available today, this anthology is organized into two main parts. The first focuses on theory, the second on application. The fourth edition of this popular anthology, like its predecessors, includes numerous topic areas not covered in other anthologies. Featuring articles carefully selected for clarity and accessibility, the text follows a dialogic pro-con format presenting divergent positions on each topic. The bulk of royalties for this book are donated to groups dedicated to protecting the environment, such as the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club. ... Read more

158. The Dharma of Star Wars
by Matthew Bortolin
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0861714970
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Sales Rank: 10799
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Brings together the phenomenon of 'Star Wars with humanity's profound hunger for the spiritual. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars entertaining and wise
I really enjoyed this book. Matthew Bortolin uses the story of Star Wars (across all six movies) to illustrate Buddhist concepts and uses Buddhist concepts to highlight deeper themes in the Star Wars saga. The result makes Star Wars more profound and moving and Buddhism more accessible. Avid fans of Star Wars will appreciate all the detailed references provided by a true fan devoted to the series, while more casual Star Wars viewers will find the movies much more compelling after reading this book. Those new to Buddhism will learn a lot from Bortolin's accessible, human way of presenting these ideas, while those with more familiarity will likely experience new insights from Bortolin's novel approach. It's nice to read something that is funny and entertaining yet also contains real wisdom and insight. I find myself thinking about things mentioned in the book as I'm dealing with various situations in my life. And now I'm really looking forward to seeing Episode 3! ... Read more

159. Living Buddha, Living Christ
by Thich Nhat Hanh
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 1573225681
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 6974
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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If you have always assumed that Christianity and Buddhism are as far apart philosophically as their respective founders were geographically, you may be in for a bit of a surprise. In this national bestseller, Zen monk and social activist Thich Nhat Hanh draws parallels between these two traditions that have them walking, hand in hand, down the same path to salvation. In Christianity, he finds mindfulness in the Holy Spirit as an agent of healing. In Buddhism, he finds unqualified love in the form of compassion for all living things. And in both he finds an emphasis on living practice and community spirit.

The thread that binds the book is the same theme that draws many Christians toward Buddhism: mindfulness. Through anecdotes, scripture references, and teachings from both traditions, Nhat Hanh points out that mindfulness is an integral part of all religious practice and teaches us how to cultivate it in our own lives. Nhat Hanh has no desire to downplay the venerable theological and ritual teachings that distinguish Buddhism and Christianity, but he does cause one to consider that beyond the letter of doctrine lies a unity of truth. ... Read more

Reviews (57)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good attempt to show commonality
Thich Nhat Hanh's attempt to portray the commonality between Christianity and Buddhism is sometimes awkward and utilizes Gnostic Gospel text that may not be accepted by more conservative or fundamentalist Christians. (I would highly recommend Elaine Pagels' "The Gnostic Gospels" as a quick introduction to the Gnostic Christians) However, it does make a number of excellent observations of the parallels of the teachings of Jesus and Buddha and begs the question of what the meeting of these to men would be like if they were able to meet in person. Thây's plea to release ourselves from our notions and concepts and to look open mindedly at all faiths is much needed in our fragmented world. This book helps one to see through much of the dogma and doctrine that perpetuates the mythology of terminal uniqueness and guides us gently to a better understanding of both Buddhist and Christian traditions. I would also recommend highly Thich Nhat Hanh's "Going Home, Jesus and Buddha as Brothers".

5-0 out of 5 stars The Heart of Compassion that lies at the heart of us all
Thich Nhat Hanh is a respected humanitarian as well as an insightful and intelligent author. The readability of this book is excellent for all people who seek to understand the contemplations that stir within his beautiful mind. The way in which Thich Nhat Hanh can describe such joy and inner peace almost makes the reader share his peace for a time. For the Christian or the Buddhist this is a must-have book, if you don't have it yet get it now, no really, right now, I'll wait. Jesus and siddartha have always been recognized as very similar and their must be a hunred books out there that compare them. This book doesn't do that; instead it compares both of the religions they founded and the common positive goal between them. Understandibly Thich Nhat Hanh uses many mor Buddhist metaphors but this should not imply that he has no knowledge of Christianity. It is obvious that Thich Nhat Hanh (I continue to use his full honorary as a sign of respect) has a breadth of understanding in reference to Christianity that some Christians fail to grasp.

Definitely read this book. It is a work of beauty and tranquility. I recommend it to everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME READ!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Thich speaks as someone who's suffered immeasurably. But his suffering, transformed, had enabled him tremendous insight.

Thich is able to understand the dynamics that underpin two great traditions. He is able to step outside of time and tradition on speak on truth.

He is not a "philosopher" or "lawyer" who plays with language to "prove" how these religions are one. Rather he speaks from his own experience to express his feelings regarding Jesus and Buddha.

Highly recommended to all Christians looking to deepen their understanding of the holy spirit and to open their hearts to the living Christ.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nijmegen, The Netherlands
In Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh explains the similarities between all earthly religions, giving particular emphasis on his own background in Buddhism and his view of Christianity as it has been formed by direct interactions both hostile (missionaries in Vietnam) and serene (monks, nuns, and priests met during travels). As somebody that can an outside-in view to both traditions, I heartily concur with Hanh. ... Read more

160. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
by B. K. S. Iyengar
list price: $21.95
our price: $21.95
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Asin: 0007145160
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Thorsons Publishers
Sales Rank: 68973
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This book provided readers with a fresh and accessible translation of this ancient text. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The theory behind the practice
There was yoga before the time of Patanjali but it was not written down, or at least no text survives. We find elements of the practice in the Upanishads and of course in the Bhagavad Gita. But before Patanjali's codification there was no systematic text to guide the aspirant. Since then Patanjali's sutras have been translated into many languages along with commentary to elucidate the concise text, with Vyasa's commentary from the ninth century--upon which Iyengar makes some reliance--being the most important.

With the publication of this book a decade ago, B.K.S. Iyengar laid his claim to being one of the world's foremost experts not only on the practice of yoga--which he certainly is--but on its theory as well. Mark well that the bulk of what we call yoga stems from these pithy aphorisms first written down by the Indian sage Patanjali some eighteen hundred years ago.* One can see in this authoritative, comprehensive--indeed, nearly exhaustive--translation and commentary that Iyengar aspires to take his place among the great yogis of history.

For each of the 196 aphorisms (most texts have 195 omitting number 3.22 as superfluous, which Iyengar includes), Iyengar gives first the Sanskrit, then the Sanskrit in transliteration. Then he breaks down the expression into its individual words and gives an English translation of each word. Indeed he often gives several possible English equivalents for each Sanskrit word. Then he gives his English translation of the aphorism. In this way the reader can judge the fidelity of Iyengar's expression. Better yet, the reader can have reference to another translation (I have Ernest Wood's, Alistair Shearer's and Barbara Stoler Miller's in front of me, but there are many others) and compare the results, and in doing so, come to a fuller appreciation of Patanjali's sometimes enigmatic words.

Finally there are Iyengar's commentaries on each of the aphorisms, some of which cover several pages. Occasionally Iyengar gives tables for further clarification; indeed there are 18 tables and diagrams spread throughout the text. The sutras and commentary are framed with an Introduction, an Epilogue and four Appendices. There is a Glossary and an Index.

To be candid, there is more in this book than can be assimilated by most persons interested in yoga. Even the most sincere practitioners will find the information and interpretation given by Iyengar daunting. Some may also object to Iyengar's non-secular presentation. While he stops short of calling yoga a religion, it is only the word "religion" that is left out! Iyengar makes his position clear from the opening sutra which he translates as "With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga." Usually this opening statement is rendered simply as, "Now, instruction in yoga." In the Sanskrit there are only three words. Iyengar even identifies Patanjali as "an evolved soul incarnated of his own will to help humanity" who has "assumed human form, experienced our sorrow and joys, and learned to transcend them." (p. 1)

Clearly Iyengar is taking a more spiritual position in this book than he took in his famous treatise on hatha yoga, Light on Yoga, first published in 1965, although even there he calls yoga "the true union of our will with the will of God."

Personally, I have no problem with this. Properly understood, yoga is a religion if one so desires; and properly understood yoga is not a religion if that is what is appropriate. Most authorities believe that yoga works best as an adjunct to religion so that one can practice yoga and remain devout in one's own faith; in fact this is the usual practice. Furthermore, the emphasis here, as in all of Iyengar's work, is on the practical and the non-sectarian so that Iyengar's yoga is accessible and appropriate for persons of all faiths, and is in negation of none.

I should add that from the spiritual yogi's point of view the idea of God is not personal. Although Patanjali refers to Isvara as our Lord and as God, many authorities believe that this is an inexplicit augmentation of his text that one may take or leave as one sees fit. Indeed most yogis who embrace God embrace a God similar to the God of the Vedas; that is a God that is Ineffable about which nothing can be said, a God beyond any human comprehension, a God without any attributes that we could name.

By the way, Patanjali's yoga is often referred to as astanga yoga (astanga meaning "eight-limbed") because there are eight limbs or steps leading to liberation. It is also called raja yoga, the so-called king's yoga that comes after one has mastered the preliminaries of hatha yoga. More correctly however, hatha yoga and raja yoga are both integral parts of Patanjali's program with the purely physical aspects including asana and pranayama being mentioned but without any exposition. It wasn't until the middle ages and such works as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama that hatha yoga gained prominence as something separate.

There are four other yogas that have come down to us from ancient times that should not be confused with Patanjali's yoga. They are bhakti yoga, the yoga of faith and devotion; karma yoga, the yoga of selfless work; jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge; and tantric yoga, the mystical yoga of self-indulgence. All but the latter are mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita.

*Iyengar identifies Patanjali with the grammarian who lived some four hundred years earlier, but this is more of a traditional understanding than it is historical; most scholars including Georg Feuerstein and Mircea Eliade believe that Patanjali the grammarian and Patanjali the author of the Yoga Sutras are different persons who lived at different times.

Bottom line: this is as close to an essential work on Patanjali as I have read. Any serious aspirant should have this book and study it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well intentioned
Mr. Iyengar's translation and commentary on the Sutras is heavilly weighted and biased by his lifetime focus on hatha yoga. As a result, his commentary has neither the completenes of Satchidananda's "Yoga Sutras" nor the insightfulness of McAfee's "Beyond the Siddhis". But it does shed a different light on the sutras that can be appreciated by most of his yoga followers.

Barring his leaning toward arcane yogic language, the book is well written and easy to read. For completeness, all serious yogis should have a copy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Definitive Guide for the Aspiring Student
In today's world, the main problem with acquiring the knowledge of a new subject is the lack of contact with a learned teacher. Between traveling, busy daily schedules or just living in a place where there is no access to a learning facility, it is very difficult to pursue the topic of interest. Where the subject of yoga is concerned, B.K.S. Iyengar, a master of yogic knowledge and methods of practice, helps the hopeful student transverse this barrier by bringing to the masses his knowledge and direction in a series of wonderful books. He further enables the aspirant to better practice the vidhya (science) by developing easy to learn techniques and availing props to help in the process of practicing the techniques.

This particular book, Light on the Yoga Sutras, is an in-depth exposition of the philosophy behind the science of Yoga. It provides the student with the original sutras (verses) as written by Patanjali, the Indian sage who compiled the knowledge of yoga into written form over 2,000 years ago. The book then offers a translation and explanation of these sutras, effectively filling in the gaps of knowledge left by the intensely compact form of the original sutras.

From all my research into the subject when I first wanted to learn more about yoga, I can definitely say that this is one of the best books on the subject I have ever come across. B.K.S Iyengar provided me with the guidance and knowledge I needed to confidently pursue the subject without becoming discouraged.

I would recommend B.K.S Iyengar's Light on Yoga in addition to this book, for where this book provides the theory; Light on Yoga provides the practical methodology.
It is essential to fully understand both the practical and the theory to fully reap the benefits of yoga.

For those who want to delve even deeper into the science of yoga, Light on Pranayama the Yogic Art of Breathing provides one with the techniques and insight into the methods of breathing. It is a good addition as a learning aid, but not necessary until you are at ease with the asanas (postures) and have a good grasp of the theory and knowledge of yoga and are ready for more.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite translation of the yoga sutras
This is my favorite translation and commentary on the yoga sutras. Mr. Iyengar's direct way of communicating, along with his decades of deep personal practice, provide an insight into the sutras that few others can offer.

The practice of yoga does not require one to follow any specific religious discipline or belief, and this book reflects this. As Mr. Iyengar says, the Yoga Sutras provide one of the clearest descriptions of the human psyche ever written. Those wishing to deepen their understanding of this, through the practice of yoga or not, can benefit from this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Central to Yoga
Yoga and meditation are brought forth by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras and most modern Yoga systems and teachings are based on what Patanjali wrote.BKS Iyengar has been practicing and teaching Yoga for more than 60 years, so it is only natural that he should give us his work on the Sutras.As all readers who really delve into this book will find, the sutras are very dynamic, their interpretations changeable, deeper and richer as the reader matures.This is the kind of book that never has to leave your side.You will be surprised how something that you've read again and again all of a sudden has new meaning and gives new perspective to your life and hopes. ... Read more

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