tisdag 14 juli 2009

Bookreview: suffering is optional (att lida är valfritt)


The author of suffering is optional, Cheri Huber has been studying Buddhism for over 30 years, written 19 books, started two zen centers, has an weekly radioshow and holds regular reterats and talks.

It takes courage to look deeply into oneself

What Cheri Huber writes in the Introduction to this book, can not be more true. If you are willing to take the step, this is the book for you.
This is a wise, practical and useful book without any esoteric influences, for all who are interested in Buddhist philosophy.
It is based on a Buddhist course, which the author held on the web with over 500 participants and it centers around three basic aspects of Buddhist practice: awareness, to abandon prejudices and not take things personally.
The book urges readers to be willing to be quiet and pay attention to the process of suffering in effort to see each moment as an opportunity to step beyond illusion into freedom.

We suffer when we resist life. We suffer when we believe life should be different. We suffer when we think there is something wrong with life that needs to be changed or fixed

Instead of taking up a subject in each chapter, it contains an assignment for the reader to do and investigate. It can be a simple task like taking a deep breath. She then goes on to add some comments made by the participants and by her self, neatly wrapping it all together, within a few pages for each assignment.
One of the many things that got me attracted to the book was that there was short "assigments" you could do and experience one by one in no particular order, almost anywhere, anytime. Another thing is that it seems written for "the ordinary people", without any prerequisites required. But don't be fooled, as the author points out:

I remind people with annoying regularity that if this practice were easy it would be more popular. Consider that, please. Look around and see what has thousands or even millions of 'adherents.' What do those things have in common? I would suggest that they all share the quality of people being exactly as they are while having something hopeful to believe. Very popular. Compare that with a practice that encourages people moment by moment to go up against, see through, and embrace the worst stuff in life.

All in all it is an good introduction and practical gateway to the buddhist world, and to see for yourself what needs to be done with your life.

May the force be with you

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