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Buddhist Acts of Compassion

by Pamela Bloom, Joan Halifax

Buy the book: Pamela Bloom. Buddhist Acts of Compassion

Release Date: 12 November, 2000

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Pamela Bloom. Buddhist Acts of Compassion


Buddhist Acts of Compassion

Buddhist Acts of Compassion is the latest book from Pamela Bloom, an award-winning writer, journalist, minister, and spiritual counselor. In it, she has collected inspiring stories from such luminaries as Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as from numerous others involved in spiritual growth.

Bloom says that "compassion is universal," and not a religious practice, but adds that "for most people, however, the development of compassion must necessarily start small, and the various Buddhist traditions have a richness of methods to cultivate loving-kindness in even the most intransigent of beings."

The stories she has included all serve to illustrate how compassion can change lives, including those of jailers engaging in torture, thieves, and ordinary people facing the stresses of daily life.

Bloom includes directions for two special meditation practices. The first is "Metta," or loving-kindness, which focuses on becoming calm, centered, and connected. The second is a powerful practice named "Tonglen," in which meditators "breathe in" the sufferings of others, and "breathe out" healing and love. Both are extremely effective in developing compassion.

Buddhist Acts of Compassion is small enough to fit into a purse or briefcase, so that it may be easily carried. Each story stands alone, allowing readers to open it to any page and find inspiration. Bloom's desire is that her book provide "a boat, a bridge, a passage . . . for those seeking to relieve suffering and develop the ultimate source of healing within." Readers will find that she has provided the understanding they need in order to begin practicing their own acts of compassion.

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Deeply touching, highly elevating

   Rinpoche is defined in the glossary of this beautiful anthology as "Literally ‘most precious one,’ a form of address used in Tibetan Buddhism for…respected teachers." Buddhist Acts of Compassion is truly a precious teacher. Pamela Bloom states in the introduction that "the greatest merit a book like this can achieve is to inspire you to delve more deeply into the traditional teachings."

With just a rudimentary knowledge of Buddhism, I found myself touched again and again by the deeply personal stories related by masters and students alike of their journeys to the real meaning of compassion and the often severe tests of their desire to relieve the suffering of all sentient beings. The individual stories are short, and quotes from the great Buddhist teachers are interspersed throughout. Even the design of this small book is beautiful.

There are many lessons offered in this anthology. One of the most powerful is that the practice of Buddhism is to be compassionate in your very nature. Several of the stories are written by the rinpoches, who have spent many years imprisoned by the occupying armies in Tibet. As I read of their ability to overcome the extreme physical and mental torture by practicing Tonglen (breathing in the suffering of others, breathing out compassion and light), I was in awe of their complete dedication to uncompromisingly relieving the suffering of all sentient beings—even that of their tormentors.

It was in this small book that I first read of the concept that anger and compassion were not mutually exclusive. However, according to the Buddhist definition of karma, anger often leads to non-virtuous acts, creating negative karma, but compassion is a state of great merit, creating positive karma. The philosophy of nonjudgmental acceptance of all beings and always being kind led one writer to muse when meeting one of the Dalai Lama’s tutors that "His magnanimity offended the part of my mind that wanted him to value me specially."

Buddhist Acts of Compassion has over 50 short stories interspersed with quotations, a guide to Metta meditation, a guide to Tonglen meditation, a brief glossary, and a brief biography of each of the individual contributors. The stories can be read in order from front to back, or the book can be flipped open to see what message the Universe may have today. This is a book that can be read again and again, and the message will be different each time. The daguerreotype photo of a monk’s beautiful hand holding a mala, the ivory paper, and the clean, delicate type all add to the tangible pleasure of experiencing this book. Pamela Bloom has indeed inspired me to learn more about the traditions of Buddhism. --By Kathryn Lanier. Buddhist Acts of Compassion  Pamela Bloom (Editor)  Foreword by Joan Halifax Conari Press, Berkeley, CA, 2000 ISBN: 1573245232

   Rinpoche is defined in the glossary of this beautiful anthology as "Literally ‘most precious one,’ a form of address used in Tibetan Buddhism for…respected teachers." Buddhist Acts of Compassion is truly a precious teacher. Pamela Bloom states in the introduction that "the greatest merit a book like this can achieve is to inspire you to delve more deeply into the traditional teachings."

With just a rudimentary knowledge of Buddhism, I found myself touched again and again by the deeply personal stories related by masters and students alike of their journeys to the real meaning of compassion and the often severe tests of their desire to relieve the suffering of all sentient beings. The individual stories are short, and quotes from the great Buddhist teachers are interspersed throughout. Even the design of this small book is beautiful.

There are many lessons offered in this anthology. One of the most powerful is that the practice of Buddhism is to be compassionate in your very nature. Several of the stories are written by the rinpoches, who have spent many years imprisoned by the occupying armies in Tibet. As I read of their ability to overcome the extreme physical and mental torture by practicing Tonglen (breathing in the suffering of others, breathing out compassion and light), I was in awe of their complete dedication to uncompromisingly relieving the suffering of all sentient beings—even that of their tormentors.

It was in this small book that I first read of the concept that anger and compassion were not mutually exclusive. However, according to the Buddhist definition of karma, anger often leads to non-virtuous acts, creating negative karma, but compassion is a state of great merit, creating positive karma. The philosophy of nonjudgmental acceptance of all beings and always being kind led one writer to muse when meeting one of the Dalai Lama’s tutors that "His magnanimity offended the part of my mind that wanted him to value me specially."

Buddhist Acts of Compassion has over 50 short stories interspersed with quotations, a guide to Metta meditation, a guide to Tonglen meditation, a brief glossary, and a brief biography of each of the individual contributors. The stories can be read in order from front to back, or the book can be flipped open to see what message the Universe may have today. This is a book that can be read again and again, and the message will be different each time. The daguerreotype photo of a monk’s beautiful hand holding a mala, the ivory paper, and the clean, delicate type all add to the tangible pleasure of experiencing this book. Pamela Bloom has indeed inspired me to learn more about the traditions of Buddhism. --By Kathryn Lanier, a freelance writer published in several national publications. In addition to conducting internet-based Wisdom Circles, I design and teach workshops on The Art of Forgiveness, The Art of Simplicity, and The Healing of Your Heart. MilleniumWisdom@aol.com.

From Amazon.com


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