Book Reviews

mb35-BookReviews2New version of the UK Practice Manual Reviewed by Kate Atchley, Vow of True Virtue

The UK Manual of Practice has been recently revised. The Manual is a valuable resource for anyone who follows Thay’s teachings.

After an introduction, detailed guidance on many aspects of the practice is offered, including the Daily Practices, the Mindfulness Trainings, the Touchings of the Earth, planning and facilitating a Day of Mindfulness, and even a Tree-Planting Ceremony. Beginners will find explanations of the Dharma and mindfulness practice; experienced practitioners will find texts and advice to support their Sangha activities.

With Internet access, you may download all or some of the Manual at http://www.interbeing.org.uk. If you experience technical difficulties, please e-mail technica.help@interbeing.org.uk. Updating of sections will be done from time to time. Please send any suggested changes to manual.editor@interbeing.org.

Mac users can download the manual in:

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The Essential Spiral Ecology and Consciousness After 9-11

By Ian Prattis University Press of America, 2002

Book Review by David Percival

This is a remarkably personal, honest, and passionate trip into the mindless violent world we have created, and an offering of how, through meditation and mindfulness practice, we can change ourselves and our world. With clarity and vision Ian Prattis illustrates that what the Buddha realized 2,600 years ago is directly applicable to our current quest for peace and justice.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s presence is in this book through numerous references to his teachings and writings. Prattis’s multidisciplinary approach covers everything from deep listening, problems of unmindful consumption, and

the global ecological crisis to globalization. The final chapter is a moving discussion of the Five Mindfulness Trainings as ethical guidelines for people of all faiths. Also included are ten mindfulness meditations, offered for the reader to practice. A comprehensive bibliography ends each chapter.

The Essential Spiral is a bold, no-holds-barred application of Buddhist practices to both our personal lives and to our world. Prattis is deeply committed to his personal mindfulness practice and his writing reflects his honesty and integrity. He uses many wonderful stories and anecdotes, often from his own life. He appeals to us all, Christian, Jew, Moslim, or Buddhist, to develop our own mindfulness practice based on the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

I am concerned that his somewhat academic style and direct Buddhist approach will lessen the book’s appeal to a broader audience. It needs to be read by people not familiar with Buddhism.

To some readers, Prattis may seem to propose radical practices and methods. Yet, if we truly want to transform the violence, anger, hatred, and despair that are in us and in our world, his prescriptions do not seem radical at all. We desperately need a “Consciousness Revolution grounded in mindfulness practice.” What would happen if we, as a nation, could stop, breathe, and really look deeply at the causes of violence and terrorism? What would the world be like if we really practiced the Five Mindfulness Trainings? This would be the revolution and transformation we are searching for. As Prattis says, “all that is required is that you do it now.”

mb35-BookReviews3The Practice of Wholeness Spiritual Transformation in Everyday Life

By Lorena Monda Golden Flower Publications

Book Review by Barbara Casey

Lorena Monda is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, psychotherapist, Hakomi trainer, and Order of Interbeing member. The Practice of Wholeness reflects her insight from these varied commitments. In the introduction, she states, “It is practice that is at the heart of transformation.” Unlike many texts that offer philosophies about the world and our lives, Lorena takes us on a practical, exploratory journey, offering guided meditations and daily exercises to help us come to a greater place of wholeness within ourselves.

Before writing this book, Lorena asked, “What do people who make core changes in their lives do that other people don’t?” This became the basis for the teachings she offers. A gentle and clear guide, Lorena helps us learn to accept our bodies, emotions, thoughts, attitudes and beliefs, longings and aspirations.

We learn to come to peace with our humanness, and with the unknown. As we move through this process, we gain a greater ability to invoke wholeness, and to give it creative expression in everything we do. Individuals, couples, families, and even communities will find this book an invaluable resource for learning to live in harmony through simple, new ways to connect with the wisdom and compassion—the Buddha nature—within each of us.

Barbara Casey is an editor of the Mindfulness Bell.

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