Journey to Mindfulness: The Autobiography of Bhante G.

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Overview

Bhante Gunaratana - Bhante G., as he is affectionately called - has long been among the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the West. Ordained at twelve, he would eventually become the first Buddhist chaplain at an American university, the founder of a retreat center and monastery, and a bestselling author. Here, Bhante G. lays bare the often-surprising ups and downs of his seventy-five years, from his boyhood in Sri Lanka to his decades of sharing the insights of the Buddha, telling his story with the ...

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Journey to Mindfulness: The Autobiography of Bhante G.

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Overview

Bhante Gunaratana - Bhante G., as he is affectionately called - has long been among the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the West. Ordained at twelve, he would eventually become the first Buddhist chaplain at an American university, the founder of a retreat center and monastery, and a bestselling author. Here, Bhante G. lays bare the often-surprising ups and downs of his seventy-five years, from his boyhood in Sri Lanka to his decades of sharing the insights of the Buddha, telling his story with the "plain-English" approach for which he is so renowned.

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Editorial Reviews

The Middle Way
"Spiritual teachers who write autobiographies are not always candid about their more human characteristics, but Bhante G's book is humorous and open. There is no doubt that this is the story of someone who chose to go his own way and live his vision. Like all good teachers, his story can inspire us to live our own."
Insight
"Monks and nuns in the Buddhist tradition are often viewed as people who don't necessarily struggle as intensely with difficult emotions as the rest of us. Bhante G., as he is affectionately called, dispels that perception and reveals the intimate truths of his life with unflinching honesty, humor, and warmth. The author of the highly acclaimed bestseller Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante G never loses sight of the Buddha's teachings throughout a life marked by hardship and despair as well as great achivement and happiness. Time and again, we see that Bhante is undaunted by adversity. His tireless energy and unwavering faith reminds us that we too can embody these very same qualities. ...The scope of this book is wide and rich in detail; Bhante's message is inspiring."
Shambhala Sun
"Bhante Gunaratana's stature across America as a Buddhist teacher has risen with the popularity of his classic Mindfulness in Plain English. While Bhante's narrative doesn't leave out the hard parts, this is still, of course, a success story. And here lies the promise and purpose of Journey to Mindfulness: if Bhante G. can do it, so can you."
St. Petersburg Times
"Journey to Mindfulness flows like a good Buddhist teaching, rich with anecdotes and detail from Bhante G.'s life. The story has just the right amount of history woven into Bhante's travels and adventures. It is also a very funny book. It seems that even monks can have a great sense of humor."
Matt Flickstein
"Bhante Gunaratana is a meditation master who lives in each present moment. In Journey to Mindfulness, Bhante demonstrates, with warmth, humor, and rare candor, how it is possible to overcome experiences of abuse, rejection, and our own emotional reactivity through the practice of mindfulness. Journey to Mindfulness is an exhilarating journey into the mind and heart of someone whose life has been dedicated to living and sharing the Buddha's teaching."
Sumi Loundon
"Wow! As a young, beginner Buddhist, I find Bhante G's seventy-five year life as a monk tremendously inspiring. Without sentimentality or excuses, Bhante G candidly and painfully reveals his shadow side—the rebelliousness, anger and uncontrollable emotion as a teenager and young man—and how he overcame his difficulties. All young adults exploring a path in the dharma should read this book! It both breaks down illusions and over-idealism about Buddhism and gives a vision, in a realistic way, of how to attain the highest in our lifetimes. An old, humble monk reflecting on his arrogant youth has invaluable lessons for us young adults just setting forth on the long path."
Sylvia Boorstein
"Like the stories of the wisest and kindest of grandfathers. A joy to read."
Kate Wheeler
"Fascinating, and comforting in its honesty."
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
"The 75-five-year-old teacher of Buddhist meditation, Bhante Gunaratana, reveals his human failings and shows how they are as much a part of his life as his accomplishments. The author of the bestselling Mindfulness in Plain English, he writes with refreshing candor. This plain-spoken book is a mix of humor, wisdom, adversity, and what appears to be genuine humility. As a child, Bhante exhibited bad behaviors, but shows how he taught himself and others what the Buddha taught, and how to live. He is now one of Buddhism's great teachers. An easy and engaging read that you don't have to be Buddhist to appreciate."
Publishers Weekly
This is a most refreshing book from a Buddhist meditation teacher who lays bare his human failings and admits they are as much a part of his life as his achievements. It is also a fascinating globe- and culture-crossing autobiography of a man born in a small village in Sri Lanka with enough persistence and good kamma (Pali for karma) to see him through many vicissitudes. Author of the bestseller Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante G., as he is affectionately known, repeatedly ran away from monasteries where he lived as a boy monk, stole things as a child, smoked and had traumatic fear-inducing accidents with water. As his story makes clear, his is a very human journey of teaching himself as well as others what the Buddha taught about how to live. That organizations that promote ethical living and spiritual development should also have their share of bickering, envy and bad behavior is an unsurprising part of his story, candidly told without excess rancor or blame. The monk-author is fluent in different cultures as well as languages, and his autobiography contributes to an understanding of the relationship between the American Buddhism of converts and traditional Asian Buddhism, more specifically the Theravada branch of Buddhism as practiced in his native Sri Lanka. This plain-English look back at 75 years of an admixture of adversity, humility and hard-won wisdom tells an engaging story that non-Buddhists can appreciate as well as Buddhists. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861713479
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 7/10/2005
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 807,459
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Bhante Gunaratana was ordained at the age of twelve as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, earned his PhD in philosophy from The American University, and has led meditation retreats, taught Buddhism, and lectured widely throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is the president of the Bhavana Society in High View, West Virginia, where he lives.

Jeanne Malmgren, a longtime Buddhist, has been a magazine and newspaper journalist since 1980. Her writing has won awards from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina.

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Table of Contents

Preface 7
1. Small Treasure 13
2. The Homeless Life 35
3. Escape 57
4. A Monk Once Again 71
5. Monks' School 79
6. Higher Ordination 85
7. The Final Cure: Meditation 93
8. The Struggle to Stay in School 99
9. Missionary Monk 107
10. Crossing the Ocean to India 115
11. The Relics and the Dalai Lama 119
12. Among the Untouchables 129
13. Under the Great Bodhi Tree 141
14. A Trip Back Home 149
15. My Father's Funeral 155
16. Malaysia 165
17. An Invitation to the West 173
18. Coming to America 177
19. Manual Labor Missionary 183
20. Mistaken for a Woman 191
21. "Officer Bhante G." 199
22. A Last Visit with My Mother 211
23. "Are You Mister Gunaratana?" 217
24. Breaking Free 227
25. Building a Monastery 235
26. No Price Tag 245
27. Chief Sangha Nayaka 253
Afterword 259
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