Taming the Mind
The author of Buddhism for Beginners explains in clear and simple language the essence of Buddhist philosophy and psychology, together with practical tools for immediate implementation in our daily lives.
We all want to have better relationships with others. Chodron offers practical techniques to help us gain a more spacious perspective on relationships, whether they be between lovers, parent and child, employer and employee, friends, or spiritual teacher and student. Guidelines are given for how to practice, freeing ourselves from habitually blaming others for our problems, and learning to take responsibility for our lives. She shows how the heart and mind, not the external world, is the ultimate source of our happiness. We learn how to look at people and situations in an entirely new light. The book concludes with a discussion of common misconceptions of Buddhism.
The author's down-to-earth language and examples invite us not only to engage the material, but to implement it in our own lives.
Read an extract of this title
A student approached me after a talk at the National University of Singapore. "One of my friends isn't a Buddhist, but she wants to learn ~ about it. Is there an introductory book in simple English that's easy to understand and that explains the essence of Buddha's teachings?"
I knew that question well. In fact, I had searched for such a book but to no avail. There is a variety of excellent material on Buddhism, but none of it fits the above description.
This started me thinking. Several weeks later, a student from the polytechnic queried, "Is there a book about friendship, love, and marriage from a Buddhist viewpoint? Something we twenty-first century young people can relate to?"
Again, I drew a blank. The idea of writing Taming the Mind was born soon thereafter.
Taming the Mind is for anyone interested in Buddha's teachings. The first section, "An Outlook on the World and a Way of Life," contains the essence of Buddhist philosophy and psychology together with practical ways they can be put to use in daily life. The second section discusses how to have good relationships with others. The third section, "Taming Bad Habits, Cultivating Good Ones," gives pointers for how to practice the Dharma In our daily life interactions. The fourth section, "The Spread of the Buddha's Teachings," relates the history and development of Buddhism and explains the meaning of Buddhist temples, centers, ceremonies, and festivals. "Buddhism Today' remedies two potential harms: superstitions and misconceptons about Buddhism and religious intolerance in our world.
Each section of the book can be read on its own. Thus, if you are more interested in "Our Relationships with Others," read that section first, and later go back to the first section. At the end of the book are a glossary and a list for additional reading for your use.
Through taming our minds, we can contact our inner beauty and human potential. This book gives an inkling how this can be done.
I've attempted to avoid complicated technical terms as much as possible and to express the Buddha's teachings in clear and simple English. Nevertheless, using some technical terms is unavoidable. Translating these terms into English isn't always easy and the resulting words sometimes sound strange to the ear. However, with time, these words will sound less awkward. Their meaning is given in the text and a glossary is provided at the end of the book.
Using he/she or s/he to express the impersonal third-person pronoun is awkward. Thus, "he" and "she" are used alternately. However, the reference isn't restricted to a person of a particular gender.
My gratitude and respect go first to my teachers, principally His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tsenzhap Serkong Rinpoche, and Zopa Rinpoche. Without the kindness and support-both material and moral-of people too numerous to mention, this book couldn't have been written. Still, a few names must be mentioned. The students of the Buddhist societies of Singapore's five tertiary institutes inspired the writing of this book. The members of Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle, USA, provided the circumstances and encouraged me to write. Heartfelt thanks also go to Steve Wilhelm and Cindy Loth for editing the manuscript and to Lesley Lockwood, Pua Yeow Khoon, Loh Hung Leong, Yeo Soo Hwa, and Shira Lee for their valuable suggestions. I also thank Ven. Dhammika, Ven. Jendy, and Ven. Sangye Khadro for checking the chapters on Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan Buddhism respectively. All errors are my own.