The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path

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A lively exploration of contemporary Buddhism from one of its most admired teachers

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 contemporary research on meditation and mindfulness and his experience as a Buddhist teacher and practitioner, Nichtern describes in fresh and deeply resonant terms the basic existential experience that gives rise to spiritual seeking—and also to its potentially dangerous counterpart, spiritual materialism. He reveals how our individual quests for self-awareness ripple forward into relationships, communities, and society at large. And he explains exactly how, by turning our awareness to what's happening around us and inside us, we become able to enhance our sense of connection with others and, at the same time, change for the better our individual and collective patterns of greed, apathy, and inattention.
In this wise and witty invitation to Buddhist meditation, Nichtern shows how, in order to create a truly compassionate and enlightened society, we must start with ourselves. And this means beginning by working with our own minds—in whatever state we find them in.
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About the author

Ethan Nichtern is a Shastri, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and the author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence. He is also the founder of the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and psychology, integral activism, mindful arts, and meaningful media. Nichtern has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology classes in New York and around the country for the last ten years.

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Additional Information

Publisher
North Point Press
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Published on
Apr 21, 2015
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780374711962
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Buddhist
Religion / Buddhism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The lotus blossoms in July, so the other day I took a tripsomething of an annual pilgrimage of sortsto a provincial park famous for its sea of pink lotuses. I go there every summer and just saunter around the huge pond for half a day or so and then return. The rainy season had already begun and when I arrived it was drizzling and the park was deserted. With umbrella in hand, I stood on the footbridge in the center of the pond, inhaling the mystical fragrance and watching the raindrops fall on the large green lotus pads. As it began to rain harder, it was interesting to observe that what seemed like large raindrops falling in front of my eyes looked more like tiny grains of millet once they landed on the pads. Then I noticed something else. The raindrops would collect into little transparent crystal pools on the pads. As more raindrops fell, the pools became larger and heavier, and the pads began to roll the pools around on their surfaces. When these little crystal pools grew to a certain size and weight, the pads unhesitatingly dropped them down onto the other pads below. Those pads in turn rolled the pools around until they were too big and heavy, whence they just rolled them off and down into the pond. I watched this process rather indifferently until I realized what was going on, and then I marveled at the wisdom to be found in the lotus pond. The pads held what they could until it became too much for them, and then they freed themselves of their burdens. If they didn't and, out of greed, tried to hold as many raindrops as possible, then either the pads would tear or their stems would break from the weight. - Zen Master Bopjong, Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall
An engagingly contemporary approach to Buddhism—through the lens of an iconic film and its memorable characters

Humorous yet spiritually rigorous in the tradition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and The Tao of Pooh, drawing from pop culture and from personal experience, The Dharma of “The Princess Bride” teaches us how to understand and navigate our most important personal relationships from a twenty-first-century Buddhist perspective.

Friendship. Romance. Family. These are the three areas Ethan Nichtern delves into, taking as departure points the indelible characters from Rob Reiner’s perennially popular film—Westley, Fezzik, Vizzini, Count Rugen, Princess Buttercup, and others—as he also draws lessons from his own life and his work as a meditation teacher. Nichtern devotes the first section of the book to exploring the dynamics of friendship. Why do people become friends? What can we learn from the sufferings of Inigo Montoya and Fezzik? Next, he leads us through all the phases of illusion and disillusion we encounter in our romantic pursuits, providing a healthy dose of lightheartedness along the way by sharing his own Princess Buttercup List and the vicissitudes of his dating life as he ponders how we idealize and objectify romantic love. Finally, Nichtern draws upon the demands of his own family history and the film’s character the Grandson to explore the dynamics of “the last frontier of awakening,” a reference to his teacher Chogyam Trungpa’s claim that it’s possible to be enlightened everywhere except around your family.

With The Dharma of “The Princess Bride” in hand, we can set out on the path to contemporary Buddhist enlightenment with the most important relationships in our lives.

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