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The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path
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The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Do you feel at home right now? Or do you sense a hovering anxiety or uncertainty, an underlying unease that makes you feel just a bit uncomfortable, a bit distracted and disconnected from those around you?

In The Road Home, Ethan Nichtern, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, investigates the journey each of us takes to find where we belong. Drawing from c
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by North Point Press (first published March 5th 2015)
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4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  416 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Because my Buddhism includes the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Jedis and unicorns.
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An accessible, clear, funny and intelligent introduction to some of the key concepts in Buddhism. The book blends traditional Buddhist thought with modern day neuroscience, ethics and social justice concepts to really contextualise ancient teachings into the modern day. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ethan has done it again! A wonderful read. The book takes you on a contemporary journey through Buddhist concepts, meditation options and ways to find balance, sanity, homeostasis and value in one's life. The book reflects Ethan's own personal style: kind, compassionate, accessible, knowledgeable, insightful and skillful. Bringing to light the importance of personal responsibility and interdependence, along with embracing the world as part of our practice, are spot on if we want to live our live ...more
Rob Hermanowski
Ethan Nichtern has written a wonderful book that will greatly appeal to anyone interested in the increasingly popular exploration of mindfulness, meditation, and Buddhist philosophy and psychology. He strikes just the right balance of practicality and scholarship. Nichtern's chapter called "Religion, Secularism, and a Sacred Path" is perhaps the best discussion of how modern Buddhist practices fall on the secular to spiritual continuum. The author quite competently reads his own audiobook, but I ...more
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you’re curious about Buddhism and meditation, but find the language of spiritual books too woo woo or impenetrable, this book is for you. In this smart, funny and very accessible guide to contemporary Buddhism, Ethan Nichtern breaks down Buddhist concepts like karma and The Four Noble Truths in clear, contemporary language—and with a few Star Wars images. More important, he offers a helpful guide to anyone who is feeling ill at ease in the world. Whether or not it makes you a Buddhist, THE RO ...more
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book. If you have even a passing interesting interest in mindfulness or meditation and how these map onto your modern life, give this a read. Incredible insights and highly relatable writing. "True friendship and intimacy take shape only when we are present enough to experience more than just one narrative, as well as to participate in our shared human experiences."
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very good primer on meditation and the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. I found the central metaphor - of how to "rest in the gap" between feeling and reacting - compelling, and, potentially, quite useful. Thanks, R.R.!
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Clear and concise, full of humorous and touching vignettes. A broad yet highly accessible overview of the Buddhist teachings and how to apply them to be a little more present for your life.
Geoffrey Gordon
This book provides an approachable introduction to the Shambhala tradition of Buddhism and useful advice on how to be a practicing Buddhist in 21st Century Western societies. I particularly like that Nichtern is a socially engaged Buddhist, and he provides a structural analysis of how interlocking systems of racial, sexist, classist, and other types of oppression stem from greed, ignorance, and delusion at a social level. Too many Western Buddhist authors shy away from linking Buddhist teachings ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
More of the same Buddhist content but watered down Buddhism-lite for millennials. At least the author references the masters. He can practice Buddhism his own way, but whatever he believes, he is inconsequential and wrong- it is in fact a religion. This book represents true western spiritual materialism to claim a cultural practice as ethics or philosophy. This is pretty gutsy from a 3rd generation practitioner. I perceive his renaming classic Buddhist terms (awake-ism for Buddhism and heartmind ...more
Karl Weber
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I've been practicing Buddhism for four years now and have heard a lot of the topics discussed in the book several times, but there were still elements I took away from the book and topics I now have a better grasp of. I'd recommend it to friends and family who wanted to understand how traditional Buddhism and meditation applies to contemporary times and our culture. I liked specifically his discussion around the three practices of personal, interpersonal and cultural/ ...more
Joshua Lawson
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
The Road Home is a thoroughly engaging introduction to the Buddhist path in terms that are familiar to Western readers. The author, Ethan Nichtern, captured my attention right away with an apt description of life as most people experience it: As one long, lonely commute throughout which we rarely penetrate the surface of human existence. Spiritual seekers who come to this book with an open mind will find much to guide them along the way to a deeper state of being in the world, one that begins wi ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
An insightful, secular, vivid, and relatively broad overview of Buddhism in action. A highlight: Nichtern analogizes our imagination muscle to a movie theater projector. Accordingly, often unbeknownst to present awareness, our "unconscious" mind or "monkey mind" repeats narratives which are unquestioned, unchallenged, and self-limiting. Remedy: Tantric Buddhist visualization practices. An emphasis on the quotidian is adroit.

Unfortunately, the inclusion of practical, procedural knowledge or resou
James Crouse
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dharma
Generally, a very good book on the Buddhist path. I deducted a star because of a long rant about the importance of not calling Buddhism a religion. I don't think it's important or bad to call Buddhism a religion. It's a matter of semantics. The author maintains that it can only lead to dogmatic and inflexible thinking. Calling Buddhism "Buddhism" can lead to dogmatism. Any label can do that but it doesn't have to.
May 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The fact this fairly normal sized book took me two months is something that may cloud my judgement. There were some helpful bits throughout, and I like the idea of a "contemporary" look at the Buddhist path, but I think it could have been shorter and been more a more effective read. I wish that there were more/more direct discussions of Buddhism being whitewashed or bits of it being culturally appropriated.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spritual
I kept my pencil handy every time I picked up this book, and realized each time that I wanted to underline EVERY sentence!! Ethan writes for the modern mind, making often hard-to-teach principles accessible and interesting. He bring levity and a soft sense of humor to the material. I don't usually re-read books, but I have a feeling this will be the exception. A must read for anyone interested in Buddhism or just waking up!
Bruce Pywell
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on modern buddhism I've read. Insightful, encompassing and does a great job of relating the practice to our role in wider society. Something I have found missing in many other books in this area.
Jen Hitt
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for people who don't know that much about Buddhism. The author does a great job of making the concepts understandable. The book address popular issues and "myths" about issues current to Buddhism in the USA.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shambhala
I took my time with this one even though I wanted to devour it. Ethan's writing is so incredibly accessible, timely, and wise. Great for new dharma practicioners and for folks wanting a refresher as well. Loved it.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is very honest. A great practical guide to anyone interested in meditation and mindfulness. One star off for continuously dismissing economics as a way of thinking (being connected and spreading positivity can enter your utility too!), but then I’m an economist :)
Practical and inspirational look at Buddhism for the 21st Century.
Emily Overtino
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book that turned me onto his work and the Shambhala tradition altogether. Overview but still very personal.
Nick Reich
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I appreciate how Ethan Nichtern brings Buddhism into modern culture and relates how a spiritual practice daring back thousands of years remains relevant in a contemporary setting.
AJ Debnam
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really felt this book was exactly how it was described...a contemporary exploration. There were a few tools I intend to use moving forward on my spiritual path.
Ross Cohen
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful and heartfelt vision for Buddhism in America.
C Cybele
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is exceptionally smart and helpful in outlining key principles of Shambala Buddhism - empowering concepts and practices for navigating life in New York City in these turbulent times.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Seriously, this is the BEST book on Buddhism I've ever read, and one of the best nonfiction books I've read as well. It inspired me to start meditating again.
Amy Kearns
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: meditation
Fantastic, important book with modern relevance. I'm buying my own copy! And going to read his first book as soon as I can get my hands on it. This is the stuff!
Ariel Sayre
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely floored by this book. So so good.
Bob Bergeson
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I purposefully took my time reading this book, at my own meditative pace, as a way for me to be more mindful of my own 'commute'. I finished reading this book several months ago, only now do I feel I can attempt to put my review into words. I have the distinct honor of being a member of the NYC Shambhala Center, to which, the author, Ethan Nictern, holds the position of, 'Shastri', or lead teacher. I have enjoyed and been inspired by many of his teachings, as have many, many more fellow 'Warrior ...more
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Ethan Nichtern is a senior teacher in the Shambhala tradition. He is the author of The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path (FSG Books, North Point, 2015) and One City: A Declaration of Interdependence (Wisdom Publications, 2007). He is also the founder and former director of The Interdependence Project, an organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and psychology ...more
“Our personal journey is rarely easy, and our global journey is even less so. Because everything is interdependent, we have to work on both of these levels at once. Trying to change society without deeply understanding our heartmind won’t work. Your own road home can never be separated from society’s journey. We need a unifying theory and language that allow us to link the lessons of our personal journey with the situation facing our world. The important question then, a question laced with a gorgeous irony, is, “How do we get home from here?” Or, maybe more appropriate, “How do we get here from here?” 1 likes
“Here’s my personal definition of a Buddhist: someone who prioritizes cultivating her relationship to her own heartmind—and her relationship to other sentient beings—above whatever else she might achieve in life.” 1 likes
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