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Buddha's Nature: A Practical Guide to Discovering Your Place in the Cosmos

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The Buddha said that "everything we need to know about life can be found inside this fathom-long body." Then why is most people's spirituality--whether Buddhist, Christian, or Jewish--completely cut off from their body? In this provocative and groundbreaking book, you'll discover that enlightenment comes not from "out there," but from a deep understanding of our own personal biology. Using the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, a traditional Buddhist meditation, Nisker shows how cutting-edge science is proving the tenets first offered by the Buddha.

And he provides a practical program, complete with meditations and exercises, that enables readers to become mindful of the origins of emotions, desires, and thoughts. One of the great synthesizers of East and West, Nisker shows how to incorporate the traditional understanding of the Buddha with the latest scientific discoveries while on our spiritual journey. He shows that we are not separate from nature and the evolving universe. The way to enlightenment lies within our very biology.

Most important, Nisker offers a practical program--complete with meditations and exercises--so readers can take their own evolutionary journey into their bodies to find the origins of emotions, desires, and thoughts.  Nisker provides a liberating way for each of us to incorporate into our lives the understanding, proven by the latest scientific evidence and foretold in the great traditional teachings of the Buddha, that we are not separate from nature and the evolving universe.  Our biology is not our destiny, but our way to enlightenment. -->

256 pages, Paperback

First published October 6, 1998

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About the author

Wes "Scoop" Nisker

8 books6 followers

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Lindsay.
75 reviews24 followers
July 4, 2010
This book found me. I work at a retreat center and was tidying up the teacher's cottage. The teacher from the last retreat had left this book by accident -- under the bed. If on a shelf at the book store, I wouldn't have bought it... I wasn't particularly attracted to the title or the 'enlightment through evolution' part. However, I flipped through it and got hooked.

I emailed the teacher and asked her if I could read it... So, I guess I *borrowed* this book.

Wes discusses the Mahasatipatthana Sutra which discusses the four kinds of mindfulness. Wes asserts that this is the most fundamental Buddhist text. He discusses the sutra, breaks it down quite well...and offers quite a bit of insight though experiences with his own practice. I like how his underlying intention (at least, this is what I picked up)...is to connect people back to our basic nature...and to the brilliance of nature...ours and the phenomenal world. Quite lovely...
1 review1 follower
October 19, 2017
"Combing Buddhist meditation practices with current scientific knowledge seems a wise use of human resources. Generally speaking, Buddhism and science represent the respective genius of Asian and Western civilizations. In comparing the two ways of knowing, one might conclude that the planet was somehow divided along the lines of the two hemispheres of the brain. In the West we looked outside of ourselves for the truth, dividing up the world with our intellect and reason to see if reality's secrets were hiding inside of things. Meanwhile, the genius of Asia was directed inward, relying more on intuition and experiential knowing, seeking to resolve the questions themselves in the realization of nonduality and the great mystery of consciousness.

In recent decades, through modern communications and travel, a bridge has been built between the two civilizations, a kind of corpus callosum connecting the two hemispheres of the world brain. Perhaps out of the confluence, some tools and techniques will be discovered that will nurture a more awakened and satisfied human existence."
Profile Image for Jim O..
19 reviews3 followers
May 27, 2012
As someone who admires Buddhism, and a lover of science, this book was a pleasure to read. The author shows how using the ideas and practices of Buddhism can actually instill a deeper appreciation of the natural world, and of our own bodies and minds. As he says, "The Buddha was a biologist"; the Buddha taught that one can learn about nature and oneself by simply experimenting with meditation, focused breathing, and mindfulness. Our connection with Nature is apparent in the ways we humans live, think, move, and breathe, and yes, also love, hate, and fear. We are products of our evolutionary development. Nisker shows how the tenets of Buddhism are surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) backed up by the latest findings of biology and neuroscience. He also provides lots of meditation exercises to focus our mindfulness, and thus "discover our place in the Cosmos." This is a short, light read; it is also an older book, from 1998, so I am sure there have been even more discoveries in the field of neuroscience, and especially as it relates to meditation. As I said at the beginning, this book is recommended for those who are interested in Buddhism, as well as those interested in biology and evolution. It may also qualify as sort of a self help book, since it shows how our human impulses of fearfulness, hatred, and anger are to some extant programmed into us through evolution, and are holdovers from our primitive past; after all, we still contain within us the "reptilian", "mammalian", and "primate" parts of our brain. We still see the world partly through those ancient eyes...
Profile Image for Rosemary.
1,879 reviews78 followers
March 8, 2011
Some interesting ideas showing how modern neuroscience is basically agreeing with what Buddhism always taught, but I found it hard to concentrate on the text. Not because it was difficult - it was all dumbed down for the general reader - but I think there were too many short sections broken up by quotes instead of examples, and it wasn't clear who it was intended for. Worth reading if you are interested in the nature of thought and the mind.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Ruther.
5 reviews1 follower
November 27, 2007
One thing I do believe in is the natural world and this book is an interesting perspective on Zen buddhism from an evolutionary biology perspective.
Profile Image for Todd.
Author 1 book2 followers
April 28, 2013
This guy is speaking from experience. Presenting the concepts of Buddhist meditation to the western reader. Very good!
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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