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Your Mind Is Your Teacher: Self-Awakening through Contemplative Meditation

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    For those who have approached Buddhist analytical concepts with

    For those who have approached Buddhist analytical concepts with a yearning to understand reality,
    Your Mind is Your Teacher, by Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche, will be an unparalleled guide toward clarity.

    Many students, myself included, have struggled with the essential concept of the Four Seals of the Dharma,
    particularly emptiness. From previous books, even when a glimpse of emptiness is gained through a useful
    analogy or pointing out, many have found it difficult to assimilate this glimpse with the lists of skandhas -
    and their sub-lists of mental formations (virtuous and non-virtuous), kleshas, and consiousnesses - found
    to be apparently self-explanatory in predecessors's treatment of the same topic.

    Not so with Your Mind is Your Teacher. Khenpo Gawang does include the details of the components of the
    Four Seals. But what is fresh and new in this book is how he presents them: he interweaves the components
    and illustrates their relatedness - and distinctions - in a manner that makes them accessible for even beginning
    students. Moreover, two of the book's greatest strengths are its organizational structure and its summary
    checklists. For Western students used to a presentation of materials in a step-wise fashion, this approach
    closes the gap between Eastern and Western educational styles, making concepts seem more accessible
    and easier to grasp.

    Elements that will be welcomed by beginning students are the step-by-step approach to preparing for and
    executing contemplative meditation, including instructions for the contemplations themselves, and the
    examples of experiencing emptiness from Khenpo's own life, which are at once authentic teachings and
    show students how to relate their similar experiences to the dharma. Whether Khenpo is recalling his
    childhood in Tibet, a springtime walk around Memphis, a discussion with an emotionally-ravaged neighbor,
    or a traumatic natural disaster, his teaching in this book engages because it is highly illustrative of and
    appropriate to the topic he is treating.

    For more advanced students, other elements of the work will be especially helpful. First, the readings and
    commentary in the back matter, particularly the Heart Sutra, have given me the clearest understanding I have
    yet achieved on the matter of prajnaparamita, especially how it relates to the Four Seals. Moreover, the
    commentary hints at next readings, such as the Ketaka Jewel, as a bridge to more in-depth study.

    Finally, Khenpo Gawang discusses, throughout the book, how a continued, diligent effort at contemplating
    the Four Seals is necessary for sustained and clear understanding; one must make the experience very
    personal and one must repeat the (contemplative) experience regularly. For me, I suspect, this means that
    I will immediately re-read Your Mind is Your Teacher from cover to cover.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    I agree with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in saying that Khenpo G

    I agree with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in saying that Khenpo Gawang is a true spiritual friend. Rich with modern examples, Khenpo Gawang brings the richness of ancient Tibetan Buddhist wisdom and philosophy to modern American culture. There are no words to capture the many healing and liberating techniques offered in this beautiful work of art.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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