ell I've done it again. Yesterday, I resisted the urge at Barnes and Noble bookstore to purchase several books I thought I couldn't live without only to end up at the library where I did check out two books I really felt compelled to read. Every now and again I find myself reading three or four books at one time along with my usual array of magazines. Usually this isn't a problem but sometimes I go into overload where my brain feels fried and I can't pick up a book for days. It's always interesting to see what others are reading. I discover new glimpses inside the personalities of my friends both here in digital world and in the real world when I happen upon what they are reading. Here's what's on my plate right now.The Simple Feeling of Being: Embracing Your True Nature by Ken Wilber
This was given to me by Trevor Harden
and I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this introduction to an astonishing teacher, Ken Wilber. This is a digest of Ken's writings spanning his numerous books and although the read is, at times somewhat difficult to digest I am finding my second reading easier to absorb."As you look deeply into your own awareness, and relax the self-contraction, and dissolve into the empty ground of your own primordial experience, the simple feeling of Being- right now, right here- is it not obvious all at once? Were you not present from the start? Did you not have a hand to play in all that was to follow? Did not the dream itself begin when you got bored with being God? Was it not fun to get lost in the productions of your own wondrous imagination, and pretend it all was other? Did you not write this book, and countless others like it, simply to remind yourself of who you are?"
Wilber's obvious devotion to the teachings and writings of Ramana Maharshi, Meister Eckhart, Lao Tzu, and Emerson come together in a beautiful unfolding with emphasis on trusting in the Witness for our being. It is as the Witness that we are led to the revelation of "One Taste" and the obvious- "I am that, too!" Thanks again Trev!Hope In Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders by Dan Bortolotti
This book caught my eye immediately as I have always regarded Doctors Without Borders to be one of the most dedicated group of professionals in the humanitarian field. This is a first hand account of the marvelous and highly dangerous work performed in the field by doctors, nurses and the numerous support staff needed to bring medical care to those caught up in the absolute hellish conditions of war, conflict, and hopelessness. The author conducted almost a hundred interviews with doctors, nurses and support staff and spent time with teams in Angola, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."Our volunteers and staff live and work among people whose dignity is violated ever day. These volunteers choose freely to use their liberty to make the world a more bearable place. Despite grand debates on world order, the act of humanitarianism comes down to one thing: individual human beings reaching out to their counterparts who find themselves in the most difficult of circumstances. One bandage at a time, one suture at a time, one vaccination at a time. And, uniquely for Medecins Sans Frontierres (Doctors Without Borders as it is known in the western world), working in around 80 countries, over 20 of which are in conflict, telling the world what they have see. All this in hopes that the cycles of violence and destruction will not continue endlessly."
From Dr. James Orbinski's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech awarded Doctors Without Borders in 1999
Reading this book breaks my heart at man's inhumanity to man and raises my spirits with the power of individual action and call to account.The Dance of 17 Lives: The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa by Mick Brown
The blissful cover caught my eye first. A beautiful young Tibetan gazes compassionately at me with almond shaped eyes and is wrapped in golden robes and wearing the ceremonial Gampopa hat. This is the story of the exiled 17th Karmapa, the present day 19-year-old spiritual leader of the Karma Kagya school of Tibetan Buddhism. The 17th Karmapa represents an unbroken line of succession reaching back 12 centuries. The great wisdom teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapas were the first lamas to establish the practice of identifiable reincarnation- some 400 years before the advent of the Dalai Lamas and were the spiritual teachers to the khans of Mongolia and the emperors of China.
The author met and interviewed His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje and found himself spellbound by the story of the Karmapas, the tales of miracles, and the 900 mile journey of escape from Tibet across the Himalayas of the Ogyen Trinley Dorje (who was only 14 years old at the time) from the repression of the Chinese Government."Even before his birth, Trinley Dorje was considered special. For his parents had yearned for a son, but without success. And then his mother, Loga, became pregnant. During the pregnancy, Loga experienced a series of unusual indications that the child she carried was in some way extraordinary. She dreamed of three white cranes offering her a bowl of yogurt. Resting on the bowl was a brilliant golden letter, indicating that she was expecting a boy. The cranes told her that they had been sent by Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, and that the boy would be a great reincarnation, but that she should keep this a secret until the right moment was revealed to her."
I have always been captivated by anything Tibetan and this book is no different. The story of the linage of the Karmapas, the escape across the Himalayas, the welcome by the Dalai Lama, and the simple ordinariness of a 14 year old boy caught up in such worldly complexities is riveting. It is the tale of the enduring spirit of Tibetan Buddhism in the face of all adversity.