Turning the Mind into an Ally

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Overview

We need a strong, stable mind that can be relied upon as one's closest ally, and Sakyong Mipham delivers a way to get one. Growing up American with a Tibetan twist, he talks to Westerners as no one can: in idiomatic English, with stories taken from American history and culture as well as the wisdom of the ancient teachers. Still under forty, this young Tibetan lama demystifies a necessary discipline for us all.

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Overview

We need a strong, stable mind that can be relied upon as one's closest ally, and Sakyong Mipham delivers a way to get one. Growing up American with a Tibetan twist, he talks to Westerners as no one can: in idiomatic English, with stories taken from American history and culture as well as the wisdom of the ancient teachers. Still under forty, this young Tibetan lama demystifies a necessary discipline for us all.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The mind, according to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, is like a monkey. We try to focus it, but it doesn't stay in one place. As it jumps around from place to place, we follow hopelessly behind. Such is the wisdom of this American-born Tibetan Buddhist master. The son of spiritual innovator Chogyam Trungpa, Sakyong Mipham delivers his saffron messages in idiomatic English. Playful, witty, and incisive, his first book instructs as it energizes.
Publishers Weekly
Is the mind our enemy? It can be, suggests Shambhala International's director Mipham in his first book. The key to peaceful and sane living, says Mipham, is training our minds. Without that training, people live "at the mercy of our moods." Meditation is the tool that can help spiritual seekers master, rather than be mastered by, their own minds. This book blends a philosophically savvy explanation of why meditation is necessary with an artful and accessible introduction to the basics of meditation. Mipham moves elegantly from the prosaic (how to sit with a straight spine) to the profound (why one should bravely contemplate illness, aging and death). Indeed, those practicing spiritual disciplines from any tradition-Christian, Wiccan, and so forth-could benefit from Mipham's commonsense approach to meditation. He acknowledges, for example, that the tyro might get bored, distracted or even hungry for a cookie. New meditators are likely to find a million and one excuses for not meditating. But, says Mipham gently, "at some point you just have to sit down and do it." Mipham's guide is distinguished by its intelligible prose; unlike many fellow travelers, he does not drown his reader in jargon. He defines Buddhist basics, like "samsara" and "karma," clearly. Three useful appendices, outlining meditation postures and giving simple instructions for contemplation, round out the book, and a foreword by Pema Ch dr n is an added treat. This easy read is one of the best of the Buddhism-for-Westerners genre. (Jan.) Forecast: Mipham's name may not yet be a household one, but his father's certainly is: Mipham is the son of the late Tibetan Buddhist teacher Ch gyam Trungpa, whose books have sold over a million copies. That will help generate interest in this title, which stands on its own considerable merits. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Mipham is director of Shambhala International, an umbrella organization representing over 100 meditation and study centers that was founded by his father, the renowned spiritual leader Chogyam Trungpa. His first book offers basic guidelines to meditation or peaceful abiding for those interested in learning more about Buddhist meditation. His instruction and discussion of the virtues of peaceful abiding are followed by suggestions for thematic contemplative meditations on topics such as birth, old age, and death. Having grown up in the United States but with traditional Tibetan training, Mipham is able to connect the traditional practice with the Western mind-set. He also brings a youthful spirit to his writing, with frequent use of outdoor sports (e.g., horseback riding, archery, golf, and hiking) to embellish his teachings metaphorically. Unfortunately, this work lacks the passion and depth so notable in his father's writings, and the text breaks little new ground. Those new to Tibetan Buddhism will find more inspirational reading in books by the Dalai Lama, and there is more in-depth instruction on Tibetan meditation practices in works such as Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's A Meditation Handbook. Recommended for libraries with large Buddhist collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/02.]-Annette Haines, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573222068
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/1903
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Sakyong Mipham, one of the brightest young incarnate lamas of Tibet, is the spiritual director of Shambhala, an international organization of meditation and retreat centers. He is the son of Ch&oumlgyam Trungpa, now considered one of the founders of Buddhism in the West. He travels and teaches at centers throughout Europe, the United States, and Asia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2003

    A New Route For An Old Path

    The Sakyong's book is like a portable Zabuton (cushion for meditation). The book provides a solid, yet comfortable, base for the practice of meditation. Not too soft, not too hard. 'While Turning the Mind Into an Ally' does not provide an in depth philosophy of Buddhism, it does offer a great overview of meditation practice for beginners. For this reason alone, it is unwise to evaluate its merit against the work of the Sakyong's father, Chogyam Trungpa. This is simply a new route down an old path. Some may actually prefer this book to some of the more celebrated texts on Buddhism and meditation practice, some of which can be confusing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2003

    Makes Meditation Relevant

    Sakyong Mipham's writing style is simple and to the point. Sometimes you don't even know you're being hit with deep wisdom until the 2nd or 3rd time you read it, which is the way most good books seem to work. His style is very different from his father Chogyam Trungpa's. What's great about this book is that he actually explains in precise detail, using simple but profound metaphors, exactly why somebody would want to do meditation, and exactly what the benefits are for you and the people around you. His instructions are never vague and mushy the way so many new-age teachers seem to be. He makes it all accessible and the barriers to actually starting to practice meditation seem to fall away in a hurry. It's not some ancient tradition of mystic-worshippers; it's something that can inform and aid our lives right here and right now, no matter what kind of lifestyle we lead.

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    Posted July 1, 2011

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    Posted April 22, 2011

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted May 21, 2010

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