This is simply a superb book. What I hope will become a classic. Lama Surya Das manages to make a complex subject very simple, while maintaining the innate complexity of the subject matter. Further, he manages to take Buudhism and exposes it in the light of our everyday life. It's as if he, in each chapter, manages to exemplify what he is trying to help us understand - he gives us domestic examples so that we can "see" Buddhism in everything that we do! In this book, he is like a teacher who is explaining fractions to us. But he does so by cutting an apple into halves and quarters. Then he has us eat the apple! It is nearly imossible for us not to understand. The eight-fold path, which is the heart of Buddhism, is mapped out so beautifully this way that it is the best explanation I have ever heard or read. One step flows into the other. After seeing how this can be applied in our daily life...No, strike that. After seeing how this is already applied in our daily life, we come to a full understanding. There are many exercises, meditation and otherwise, that help us to experience what the author is stating. Although the entire framework is Buddhist - everything fits into his explanations: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism. Our mundane activities as well as our highest aspirations. I can not see how anybody could not profit deeply in their life from reading this simply wonderful book.
Lama Surya Das has masterfully written an enlightening introduction to Buddhism, which should prove to be an enduring classic on the subject for years to come. He takes the ancient teachings of Buddhist traditions and wisdom and delivers them succinctly and wholeheartedly to the Western mind.
His astounding work is a source of inspiration and awareness that serves as a "handbook for living" that should be carried with us at all times and used often on our spiritual path. Regardless of the reader's religious or spiritual affiliation, these simple golden rules could change your life.
His introduction to the classic Buddhist teachings of The Four Noble Truths and The Eight-Fold Path are the most comprehensible and understandable that I have yet read. Finally, we are presented with a rich compilation that makes absolute sense and many readers will understand, for the first time, how to integrate this ancient Tibetan wisdom into everyday life.
Often, those of us curious about Buddhist philosophy and practice, find it hard to get beyond the dogma of the many teachings. Lama Surya Das succeeds in bringing the reader the most simple and fundamental ideas and lessons of Buddhism. Throughout the book, he reminds us to be responsible for our own thoughts and actions and to find the kindness, compassion and grace that are inherent in all of us.
For those challenged by meditation, Lama Surya Das strips away all the confusion and mystery around the practice of meditation and brings to the reader a profound understanding and "how to" guide to meditation -- the importance of which must be realized and embraced.
Toward the end of the book, he further reminds us that "We are modern mystics - living in monasteries without walls. The entire planet is our heaven on earth. Instead of being overly dependent on anyone else, we must be leaders and seers." This book teaches us how to lead by example. You do not have to have an interest or belief in Buddhism to enjoy, understand and be moved by this book. It is a book to be read, read and read again.