When I was growing up, I never heard anyone talk about wisdom. Knowledge and skills were held to be within our reach, but "wisdom" was something for philosophers, not ordinary people like us. Cynthia Kneen's book is a wisdom book. It is a treasure chest of ideas and stories that demonstrate how each of us can work toward realizing our hearts' most cherished visions in everyday life. Its basic structure is to introduce, in a logically coherent way, a system of teachings known as Shambhala Buddhism. In this regard, you could say it is an intellectual text, one demanding of the reader both concentration and reflection. At the same time, the book contains such poignant and varied anecdotes as to touch even the most skeptical heart. It also relates its teachings to the lives of spiritual warriors readers are already likely to be familiar with, such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Rosa Parks. On an NPR radio show, Kneen once heard a new immigrant to the US say, "My dream is to have my family live in a peaceful situation, educate my children, contribute to my community and larger society, and help reduce the destructive forces in the world." Whereas my own family have been citizens for four generations, this is my dream, too. Kneen's book reminds me that the resources for realizing this dream exist within ourselves and the diverse world we share. It encourages me to stay true to the yearnings of my youth, confident that I have countless allies who have never given up on human goodness.
This book is for anyone who has ever had the sense that their life might be a path of continual unfolding to the profoundity of being alive, awake, right here, just as we are... Not only has Cynthia Kneen written a classic book on the teachings of Shambhala and a masterful tribute to her main teacher, Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, but she reveals how her own life has been a true example of a commitment to the practice of meditation and warriorship. She shows us the ground, path and fruition of the way toward bravery, a continual willingness to be stay open, no matter what life throws at us. She shows how this simple path of bravery can be ordinary, mundane, day-to-day. Yet sometimes it can manifest with surprise, power, and magic, like lightening striking all around you! This is arguably the greatest book on the Shambhala teachings since Jeremy Hayward's Sacred World. It goes to the heart of Shambhala Buddhism.