Review at Church of the Churchless

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.

Here’s another:

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.

Another great review!

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.

Another great review

From SquidLit:

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.

Living as a River on Geek Force Five

Recently Bodhipaksa was interviewed by E. Christopher Clark, author of All He Left Behind and the creative force behind Geek Force Five — a blog of pop culture commentary and criticism.

Chris started by asking about Living as a River and skeptical Buddhism, but then veered into a discussion of the role of mysticism in the TV dramas, Lost and Battlestar Galactica — passions the two men share in abundance.

Here’s a link to the article.

Also, do check out the rest of Geek Force Five, as well as Chris’s personal blog.

As always, you can buy Living as a River from Amazon, of course, but there are links to other outlets here.

Buddha Diaries’ review of Living as a River

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.

Another glowing Amazon review

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.