Another good review of Living as a River, on a site with the wonderful title of Church of the Churchless: Preaching the Gospel of Spiritual Independence.
Here’s a snippet:
This morning I read the introduction to Living as a River. It’s great, better than anything I can write about it. The author has an appealing non-preachy unreligious Buddhist’y style.
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Living as a River. Sometimes I’m disappointed after getting excited by a great first chapter, when the rest of a book heads downhill, fast.
I don’t think this will happen here. Bodhipaksa says that he resonates with both science and Buddhism. He ignores the difficult-to-believe supernatural side of Buddhist teachings, such as dogmas about past lives and survival of consciousness after death.
From respected Buddhist blogger Justin Whitaker:
The purpose of the book isn’t to be “about Buddhism” as the quote mentioned above makes clear. It is about a way of thinking, a way of seeing clearly (or cultivating “insight” as the Buddhist meditation vipassanā is commonly translated) ourselves and the world. For all readers, it should be a joyful journey through a hand-picked series of scientific articles and discoveries, poetry, and anecdotes. It is lucidly written, and even consistently funny (a nice change of pace for some of us!).
As I re-skim it now to write this, I find quote after quote and story after story that I’d love to recount for their simple and direct teaching power.
I love it when I find a book that deepens my understanding of things (understanding being more a river than facts). Science and spirituality are twins in this book, as they are outside of it. Though the author is Buddhist, the possibility for clarity of mind extends to people of all faiths, agnostics and atheists.
Sometimes the best way to see what is, is to look at what is not. Living As a River takes the idea of each of us each having a separate self and does a great job of blurring the edges between us – until they virtually disappear. This doesn’t mean you disappear, of course. You will still get up tomorrow and slog to the bathroom to do business. This book might, however, shift a person’s perspective about themselves in relation to the world.
Peter Clothier of the Buddha Diaries blog has a very generous review of Living as a River.
It begins, “Sometimes I wonder what the New York Times bestseller list would look like if it reflected true quality of writing and the substance and value of important and challenging ideas…”
And here’s an extract from the middle of the review:
No scientist myself, I can only marvel at Bodhipaksa’s easy dance with both the history of scientific knowledge and its most current advances. His is essentially a phenomenological study of the elemental structures of reality, of our nature as human beings in the world, and of our place in the universe; in the course of it all, he ranges happily from esoteric physics (Loop Quantum Gravity, anyone?) and biochemistry to the intimate functioning of the human body (ever wonder why shit is brown?) and the brain, and out into the cosmic view of astrophysics. He is equally familiar with a great range of current social science research and with the history of human thought from the Buddha and (who else?) Heraclitus, to this day. He amasses his evidence patiently, and brings his reader along with a light touch, clear explanations, and a lively pace.
Unqualified to judge the quality of Bodhipaksa’s science, obviously, I’m comfortable in asserting that it’s always persuasive—and enjoyable to read. And always the bottom line is the mantra to which I myself return frequently in my own meditations: This is not me, this is not mine, I am not this. (I actually learned a slightly different construction: This is not me, this is not mine, this is not who I am.) It’s at once a humbling and empowering realization. When arrived at with full understanding, it has a wonderfully liberating potential, releasing us into the stream of a reality where our experience is no longer hampered by that dualistic distinction between “self” and “other” that is the cause of so much human suffering and confusion.
Please go read the whole review, and check out the rest of Peter’s excellent blog.
As always, you can buy Living as a River from Amazon, of course, but there are links to other outlets here.
No, I’m not paying these people!
I originally came across Bodhipaksa’s work on the Wildmind website when I first became a Buddhist coming on two years ago now and I was looking for accessible resources that I could use to accelerate my spiritual development. I have found Bodhipaksa’s work to be ideal to fill that niche in my spiritual appetite and his latest work Living As A River: Finding Fearlessness In The Face Of Change is no exception.
Bodhipaksa uses storytelling along with fact after scientific fact to confront some of the myths that we have accumulated throughout our lives; that we are fixed beings living in a fixed permanent world just being one of them.
In what amounts nothing short of brilliance Bodhipaksa in one instance uses the story of The Vin Fiz; the first attempt by a man to fly east to west across the United States in an aeroplance to smash the myth of a fixed permanent self and explain the difficult concept of “no self” or “anatta”. This particular story and explanation of “no self” and “anatta” is the crescendo of the whole book however the book does not end here.
Bodhipaksa then continues throughout the book continuing through the six elements as one would peel away at an onion except with this onion you don’t want it to end. This book is definitely the kind of book that makes you think throughout and consider the book as a whole and the book as a sum of its parts.
For those with some experience in Buddhism; chapters 14: Stepping Into The Stream and 15: The Self Beyond Measure could well be considered a cheat sheet for anybody wanting to move their practice to the next level.
Complete with things to look out for in your practice the chapter on Stepping Into The Stream is a mirror for the experienced and not experienced a like and would be worth buying the book for this chapter alone.
The final chapter The Self Beyond Measure polishes up on the content previously discussed and brings the book to an orderly close.
I have given this review a five star recommendation as a reflection of the overall quality of the content of the book. I would recommend it to anybody with a basic background in Buddhism and upwards. I consider this book an essential element of my Buddhist library alongside other greats I have such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Ajahn Chah.
You can buy Living as a River from Amazon, of course, but there are links to other outlets here.
I was blown away by the latest review on Amazon!
This book is like no other book on Buddhism I have ever read before. Maybe that’s because it’s not really a book on Buddhism, but on life (and death). I actually hate writing reviews for books even for my own blog because when I read a book I just want to enjoy it without trying to remember specific aspects or highlight pages.
However, I just wanted to make some comments about Living As A River because it has made me think and made me feel uncomfortable with some of my current beliefs. And that is a good thing because we have to move through a state of uncertainty when changing.
What Bodhipaksa does so wonderfully is weave a mixture of the past and the present. Yes he talks about the life of Buddha as you would expect in such a book, but it is a long way from being a biography or a book full of stories set in the dim and distant past. He also uses cutting edge well researched science to make some of his points about what we really are as human beings and possibly more importantly, what we aren’t.
I don’t expect to get too many people rushing to say this review was useful to them, but I will say this. I really enjoyed books by the likes of Kabat Zinn, Ram Das, Thich Nhat Han, Pema Chodron and Jack Kornfield, but in my opinion this takes it to the next level and does what those do only in parts, makes the Buddhist philosophy more accessible and understandable to the masses.
It’s also a damn fine read and a book I will be recommending to clients.
You can buy Living as a River from Amazon, of course, but there are links to other outlets here.
I just noticed this on Amazon:
This is the first book I’ve come across that explores the Buddhist concept of no-self in an entirely accessible AND rigorously intelligent way. That’s quite a feat! Bodhipaksa has beautifully interwoven his knowledge of the dharma with an obvious love and curiosity about all things scientific. The result is a thoroughly engaging book that drew me in from the very first page and has left me thinking and reflecting long after finishing. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a link to the Amazon page…
“Engaging fusion of science & spirituality w/o dumbing down the science or marginalizing the spiritual. A difficult task. Bravo!” @RapidCityPubLib
“Loved recent intreview on @BuddhistGeeks one of the best I’ve heard from this podcast. Definitely getting the book!” @rra3
“Many thanks for the great podcast. Listened on the way home from a retreat. Already downloaded the book to iPad.” @jbigay
“I’m digging Living as a River (http://tinyurl.com/32unev2) – #psychology and #Buddhism are two of my favorite topics” @WilliamHarryman
“from @bodhipaksa’s Living as a River ‘the science that engrosses me outside meditation lingers in my mind and mourishes my practice’ http://livingasariver.com/ | exactly!” @ZenDirtZenDust
“@edcross I’ve been enjoying @Bodhipaksa’s book “Living as a River” | Skeptical but not as hardline as Batchelor.” @ZenDirtZenDust
“Reading @Bodhipaksa’s “Living as a River” Rarely am I so drawn to an introduction. Very similar to my outlook. Skeptical w/o rejecting.” @ZenDirtZenDust
The first review of Living as a River has appeared on Amazon. And it’s a good one!
I have been an avid reader of spiritual material for quite some time. I was at first intrigued by Bodhipaksa’s teaching to then be simply amazed at the hidden power of his words. Not only his style flows gracefully from one bank of the river to the other – the spiritual and the science – but I found that reading this book in itself was like a meditation session for me. Day after day, it brought me a sense of well being, relax, emotional and spiritual happiness and curiosity. It is so pleasing that I am planning to start it over again and read a little every day to help me feel better. I strongly recommend it to everyone, novices and warriors, Buddhists and what not, there are many powerful teachings in this text that will have a beneficial impact on your life. Keep flowing Bodhipaksa, the world is hungry for your words. Claudio Basso
You can buy the book from Amazon, or from many other online sources.
A review with lovely comments such as:
“One of the most satisfying blessings I have discovered thus far in this life.”
“Within its covers, I found poetry.”
“Bodhipaksa is a master at beautifully weaving together words…”
“I feel SO very blessed to have received this book.”
Read the full review here…