A manual offers advice on anxiety-free living, filtered through a Buddhist perspective.
Drawing broadly on classical Buddhist tenets, the latest book from Hunter (You Are Buddha, 2014) seeks to encourage readers to breathe deeply and take stock of their lives. It does this by distilling traditional Tibetan Buddhist thinking into four “reminders”: first, that every person is a “spark of divine consciousness”; second, that an individual is mortal and will soon die; third, that humans are the architects of their own realities; and fourth, that a sense of fulfillment ultimately comes only from within. In underscoring these reminders by advocating that his readers empty their minds of negative emotions, Hunter is completely unhindered by the fact that one of his dictums is controversial (are people really the sparks of some larger “divine consciousness”?) and another is wrong (humans are not the architects of their own realities; huge amounts are determined by elements entirely outside of their control). He concentrates his eloquence and enthusiasm throughout this book—which is engaging and knowledgeable enough to serve as a general introduction to the modern Western versions of Tibetan Buddhism—on two of his four reminders: the belief that all people are mortal and that their attitudes toward the world are largely their own to forge. “The human body needs constant protection and support in order to avoid being snuffed out by a hostile world,” Hunter writes. But the human mind is shaped internally as well, and those factors can be vital in determining the course of a life. “The reason karma is so infallible,” Hunter insightfully reminds his readers, “is because there’s no way to escape or hide from your own mind.” Rather, a healthy emphasis should be placed on improving karma by enhancing the mind, and this lucid book is full of hard-won and well-phrased pointers on how even the most stressed-out readers can start to bring that about in their own lives.
A smart, eminently readable Buddhist guide to achieving an inner awakening, an inward victory that “looks like surrender.”