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Tuesday, 19 November 2019 02:15

Essence of Buddhism

What Makes You not a Buddhist - coverWhat Makes You not  a Buddhist
— by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse

This book is not about meditation. Instead, it looks at everyday life through a Buddhist lens, understanding happiness and suffering from that perspective. Enlightenment ends suffering but also trumps happiness. Khyentse writes persuasively about the importance of understanding emptiness: disappointment lessens, expectations soften, and change is not a shock.

There is much food for thought in this short book for Buddhist students and for anyone interested in the ongoing adaptation of traditional Eastern wisdom into postmodern Western settings.


So you think you're a Buddhist? Think again. Tibetan Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse - one of the most creative and innovative lamas teaching today - throws down the gauntlet to the Buddhist world, challenging common misconceptions, stereotypes, and fantasies.

With wit and irony, Khysentse urges readers to move beyond the superficial trappings of Buddhism - beyond the romance with beads, incense, or exotic robes - straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught.

Buddha - descent from TushitaWith unusual force and originality, he expresses the essence of Buddhism in four simple point, which he presents to the reader a set of challenges:

  1. Can you accept that all things are impermanent and that there is no essential substance or concept that is permanent?
  2. Can you accept that all emotions bring pain and suffering and that there is no emotion that is purely pleasurable?
  3. Can you accept that all phenomena are illusory and empty?
  4. Can you accept that enlightenment is beyond concepts; that it's not a perfect blissful heaven, but instead a release from delusion?

"You may not have been born in a Buddhist country or to a Buddhist family, you may not wear robes, or shave your head, you may eat meat and idolize Eminem and Paris Hilton. That doesn't mean you can't be a Buddhist."
— From the Introduction

Here at last is a crisp new voice in Tibetan Buddhism. Khyentse, a lama from an influential family and Buddhist lineage in Bhutan, is also a filmmaker, responsible for the sleeper hit The Cup, about a group of Tibetan monks obsessed with soccer. The monk brings the same multicultural fluency to his first book. He can make references to Viagra and Camilla Parker-Bowles as easily as he can tell stories of the Buddha's life. With confidence tempered by wit, he cuts to the core of Buddhism: four 'seals' (truths) that make up a Buddhist 'right view' of the world and existence.
Khyentse writes: "You can change the cup, but the tea remains pure."
— From Publishers Weekly

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