Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review- Awakening the Buddha Within

Most recently, I have had the pleasure of reading the national bestseller Awakening the Buddha Withinby Lama Surya Das. As I am interested in spiritual topics, it was a very informative and enjoyable read.
One of the initial points of the book was the Buddha was not a god, and never claimed to be a god. Also, Buddhism is not properly a religion. To my way of thinking based upon reading this book, Buddhism seems to be a course of study. The meaning of Buddha is "awake." The book discussed five spiritual concepts in particular that I think anyone could benefit from practicing, regardless of their background or individual belief system.
Here are the concepts in the book that I found useful:
Let Go
Lama Surya Das explains the importance of letting go. Life in the present moment can be ruined when one adopts a rigid, inflexible stance and will not come to terms with things that are already over and done with in the past. Letting go is a practical idea that can enhance people's happiness.
Join a Virtuous Community
I love this one. Lama Surya Das explains the concept of sangha as being that of a "virtuous community." Originally this was pretty much a monastery where there were monks and nuns meditating and praying constantly. It was considered a good spiritual practice to join a sangha in order to benefit from everyone's spiritual energy. Today, there can even be sanghas online, as people connect and communicate together. I think Associated Content is a sort of sangha for writers, because there is so much common support here from other writers.
Do Not Resist
Do not resist is another useful concept. "Go with the flow," is another way of looking at it. Change is a constant in life and when we can trust in change we can avoid suffering in difficult life circumstances.
Meditation is very important spiritually. Meditation is essentially focus and concentration. The practice of meditation is imperative for shutting out cravings and it is very helpful for addictions.
Adopt Attitude of Compassion for All Living Creatures
Buddhist monks and nuns attempt to avoid even stepping on an ant. That is how concerned with nonviolence and compassion for all living creatures they are.
I believe that everyone, myself foremost, could benefit from practicing these concepts. The purpose of Buddhism is enlightenment and the end to suffering everywhere.

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