All of us have attitudes. Some of them accord with reality and serve us well throughout the course of our lives. Others are out of alignment with reality and cause us problems. Tibetan Buddhist practice isn't just sitting in silent meditation, it's developing fresh attitudes that align our minds with reality. Attitudes need adjusting, just like a spinal column that has been knocked out of alignment. In this book, B. Alan Wallace explains a fundamental type of Buddhist mental training which is designed to shift our attitudes so that our minds become pure wellsprings of joy instead of murky pools of problems, anxieties, fleeting pleasures, hopes, and frustrations. Wallace shows us the way to develop attitudes that unveil our full capacity for spiritual awakening.
The author draws on his thirty-year training in Buddhism, physics, the cognitive sciences, and comparative religion to challenge readers to reappraise many of their assumptions about the nature of the mind and physical world. By explicitly addressing many practical and theoretical issues that uniquely face us in the modern world, Wallace brings this centuries-old practice into the twenty-first century.
Yes, the title can be misleading. This isn't a book about hip Buddhism with some kind of bad-ass attitude. This is a training manual for learning Buddhist attitudes that will help readers find greater peace of mind and happiness in daily life. The premise here is mind control the Tibetan Buddhist way. Wallace (Boundless Heart) draws upon the traditional "root text" of the Seven-Point Mind Training and expertly translates the ancient teachings into a Western-flavored lesson. In fact, another possible title for this highly esteemed book might be, Buddhism Taught with a Western Attitude. Rather than rely solely on the traditional teaching methods of using stories and parables to ground Buddhist theory into daily living, Wallace sprinkles in large doses of intellectual and scientific analogies—definite crowd-pleasers in the West. For instance, when he delves into two Buddhist approaches for training the mind's attention—control and release—he uses the ancient metaphor of taming an elephant in the room to heel. But in the next breath he moves into a modern analogy of purifying a polluted river. This slip-sliding ease between the language and sensibilities of ancient and modern worlds is a marvel and delight for any Western student of Buddhism. A few caveats: Wallace is not as cozy of a writer as other popular Buddhist teachers of the West, such as Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, or Sharon Salzburg. His is more of the Ken Wilbur and Robert Thurman variety—fascinated by the keen intelligence behind this ancient religion as well as its big heart and timeless relevance. Think of this as a mind-blowing, attitude-expanding book, rather than a comfy bedside companion. Gail Hudson