I always enjoy reading these kinds of books every now and then, to re-focus on the important things in life. I especially love the Dalai Lama's perspeI always enjoy reading these kinds of books every now and then, to re-focus on the important things in life. I especially love the Dalai Lama's perspective on the relationship between religion, spirituality and science....more
I was highly religious in my younger years; not because of parents but because of young love. The relationship passed, but it took a long time to letI was highly religious in my younger years; not because of parents but because of young love. The relationship passed, but it took a long time to let go of the church. Eventually I came to a point where I could no longer ignore my varying beliefs, and left.
Reading this book, I felt like Dawkins took all the skeptical thoughts, rumbling in the back of my head, and clearly and convincingly articulated them. How I wish I had read this book then! I always wanted to argue my point but felt like I could never get the words right, and now the time has long since passed.
When I think back, I can't believe I wasn't more turned off by their behavior, such as:
- Condoned shunning of family members, including children, who decide not to believe. - Women are not allowed to lead prayer or preach. - The shunning of a church goer who was living with her boyfriend. She continued to go to church, but no one was allowed to talk to her or sit by her, since she continued to live with him even after being told to stop. - Once, a group of us from the church were out of town, and I suggested that we attend some other strain of non-denominational church. I was met with flabbergasted stares; how I dare suggest such a wicked thing?
To give them some (small) credit, they assumed evolution could coexist with Christianity, they encouraged us to question our faith and search for evidence to back it up, and they didn't consider children to be Christians until, as some point in their teenage years, they individually decided to undergo baptism and accept the word of God. However, seeing as such a child would be shunned by that parent if they didn't chose baptism, is that really a choice at all? They even supplied false "evidence": The pastor once proclaimed that the evidence for the bible being inspired by God, is that The Bible has no contradictions in it. Ignoring the fact that this isn't proof at all, it is entirely untrue, as shown by Dawkins.
Anyhow, I digress; back to the book. I like how Dawkins excludes Einstein's God (similar to worshiping nature or science) and Buddhism (more a 'philosophy', or way of life), as I'm partial to both. Before reading the book I considered myself 'spiritual', not 'religious'. After reading this book, and being convinced of the dangers of Religion (such as advocating that having blind faith in the face of logic, reason and evidence, is a virtue), I think I will now answer that I am a spiritually inclined atheist.
My last note is that, it was easy for me to believe and fall for religion because (thanks to natural selection, noted in the book), I am naturally inclined towards it; I believe what I'm told, and easily embrace it whole heartedly. Now, I have read this book, and likewise embrace it whole-heartedly. Until perhaps, I read something else. :) ...more
The book may be off the deep end, but I love it anyway. I wouldn't call it very scientific though. Like this part, when she is talking about a wave:
"aThe book may be off the deep end, but I love it anyway. I wouldn't call it very scientific though. Like this part, when she is talking about a wave:
"at the crest... in physics terms is when the wave has become a particle. ... when the wave turns at the trough ... in studying physics this is where the particle becomes the wave."
Really? That makes no sense to me, and I read a good bit of quantum physics books. I could be wrong, but from my understanding, the wavicle (because it is both, acting as a wave in some experiments and as a particle in others) acts as a wave when you don't observe it, and when you do, it collapses into a particle. It has nothing to do with the crests or troughs of the wave (how can a particle become a wave at the trough when a particle doesn't have a 'trough'). They can't even measure the wave because as soon as they try, it turns into a particle, so they wouldn't even be able to see its troughs or crests.
She lost some credibility when I read that, but I eventually got over it and enjoyed the book anyway. I think she just sees the trough as a valley that something falls into and becomes dense, and views the crest as a hill, something to surmount, wider and more spacious. I get it, but not scientific, and not in physics.
I would have given it 4 stars if the author didn't repeat himself so much. The content in the book that is actually by the Dalai Lama is minimal, butI would have given it 4 stars if the author didn't repeat himself so much. The content in the book that is actually by the Dalai Lama is minimal, but nice. The author's addition of relevant scientific studies was nice as well, but he didn't need to reiterate, and reiterate, and then summarize, his discussions with the Dalai Lama so much (I understood it the first time). At one point I noticed two paragraphs back to back that said the same thing in different words. I even stumbled across two sentences, that were the exact same, back to back. It made me think I was going a little crazy actually....more
I quite enjoyed this book. Better than I expected, and actually easy to read. Although I'm pretty doubtful that these things exactly happen to you aftI quite enjoyed this book. Better than I expected, and actually easy to read. Although I'm pretty doubtful that these things exactly happen to you after you die (just how exactly does the author know about all these intricate details!), I still believe in a lot of the concepts it presents, not only for thinking about post-death, but also in this lifetime. The worst thing to fear is fear itself! And your after-life is dictated by the state of your mind in the present life. If you are an angry or jealous person, you will be haunted by the projections of your mind's anger and jealousy after you die. So, think happy thoughts & be at peace.
If that really is the case (your current mindset affects your afterlife), it is interesting to ponder whether a peaceful/happy murderer (if such a thing could exist) would suffer in the after-life. Or what would happen to the person (true story) who got in a car accident, damaged their brain, and then was so convinced that his parents were robots that he decapitated his dad to search for the battery. Also interesting to think about religious extremists who believe they are doing the nobel thing. However I think most, if not all, 'sane' people that are willing to go to the length of murder must have a very conflicted and tortured mind.
Also interesting to think about in the context of dreams. If you are dreaming and afraid, it is the perfect time to try and remember that everything you see if just a projection of your mind, you have no body, no reflection, no shadow. If you do remember to think this in your dreams, it would probably result in frequent lucid dreams, since I imagine you'd then realize you were dreaming (or dead).
Very nice book, even if I did sometimes find my mind wandering. I enjoyed reading Thich Nhat Hanh's opinion on the importance of sticking with your cuVery nice book, even if I did sometimes find my mind wandering. I enjoyed reading Thich Nhat Hanh's opinion on the importance of sticking with your culture's traditional beliefs, rather than searching for something new. Although I find it difficult to be personally inclined to follow such advice whole heartedly, since reading books like this are what make me value Buddhist beliefs. There aren't many Christians I know who would encourage a Buddhist to remain a buddhist & rediscover the jewels of that tradition. I certainly understand and appreciate where Thay is coming from though.
"I always encourage them to practice in a way that will help them go back to their own tradition and get re-rooted. If they succeed at at becoming reintegrated, they will be an important instrument in transforming and renewing their tradition. ... When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone."...more
Some nice little gems in this book. For example, even though it may just be because I'm reaching 30 and don't have kids yet, I especially liked the paSome nice little gems in this book. For example, even though it may just be because I'm reaching 30 and don't have kids yet, I especially liked the part about smiling for your future baby.
"Please don't wait until the doctors tell you that you are going to have a baby to begin to take care of it. It is already there. Whatever you are, whatever you do, your baby will get it. Anything you eat, any worries that are on your mind will be for him or her. Can you tell me that you cannot smile? Think of the baby, and smile for him, for her, for the future generations. Please don't tell me that a smile and your sorrow just don't go together. It's your sorrow, but what about your baby? It's not his sorrow, its not her sorrow."...more
3.5 stars. A pretty good book but I feel like I've read others that are similar but better (i.e. Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh). I also fe3.5 stars. A pretty good book but I feel like I've read others that are similar but better (i.e. Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh). I also felt like he took a lot of his book from other sources. Significant parts of the chapters are indented, but with no source given, and I couldn't figure out if it was just how the book was formatted or if he was indicating which passages were taken from other sources (without giving those sources). I could have sworn one of them I'd read before. Since I've read many other books like this, I didn't feel like I was reading anything new, although I liked reading chapters that seemed to come directly from him (a couple of his last chapters on parenting). ...more
I liked the Zen lessons, but I didn't the like the fictional story the lessons came wrapped in. Most characters just seemed silly while the main charaI liked the Zen lessons, but I didn't the like the fictional story the lessons came wrapped in. Most characters just seemed silly while the main character Dan came off as conceited a bit annoying. I didn't care for the writing style, as it seemed very unsophisticated, and I couldn't stand the subtitle, 'A book that changes lives'. Very arrogant. There are much better books on Zen that more deeply resonated with me....more
A few of the middle chapters were a bit hard to grasp, but overall very thought provoking and a very nice conclusion, in my mind. A great introductionA few of the middle chapters were a bit hard to grasp, but overall very thought provoking and a very nice conclusion, in my mind. A great introduction to philosophy....more
A wonderful book, one of my new favorites. It is simple, concise and easy to follow, unlike many other similar books I've read which are a bit abstracA wonderful book, one of my new favorites. It is simple, concise and easy to follow, unlike many other similar books I've read which are a bit abstract and vague (which I don't mind, but it is nice every now and then to understand everything you are reading and really grasp the concepts so firmly, not to mention whole-heartedly agree with them). Finished it in only 2 days, it is such a quick read. Love it!!...more
What a passionate & humble soul. He truly lived by 'hate the sin not the sinner' and never had a bad word to say about anyone. I would have likedWhat a passionate & humble soul. He truly lived by 'hate the sin not the sinner' and never had a bad word to say about anyone. I would have liked to read more about his struggles during his Satyagraha campaigns, and getting sent to jail, but he avoided discussing anything that was already available to read in another form. The book was already pretty thick though, so I don't mind adding the other books to my list....more