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The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology Paperback – 1 Jan 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (1 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060750529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060750527
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Now in paperback, this practical guide to cultivating compassion delivers Buddhist and psychological insight right where we need it most--navigating the difficulties of our daily lives. Compassion is often seen as a distant, altruistic ideal cu

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At over 280 pages, Dr Ladner has done well to create an accessible and insightful piece that covers compassion from all angles. His obvious experience of Tibetan Buddhism is evident, and has no doubt helped him to juxtapose Western and Buddhist psychology almost seamlessly. Interspersed with a number of suggested meditations, this is probably one of the best non-Buddhist reads on compassion I have encountered. I managed to read this in a few days, but it's one of those books I know I will be referring back to again and again. No matter whether you are a practicing Buddhist, psychologist/counsellor, or just someone wishing to lead a more fulfilling life, you could do infinitely worse than reading this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diogo on 8 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic book!
The best combination of western and Buddhist psychology, written in the most accessible and easy to read way!
A must have for those interested in getting to know how to increase their sense of well being!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism Meet 25 Nov. 2004
By CPTScott - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Overall I would have to say this is an excellent book that combines principles of Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism with the focus on practices of compassion.

There are many techniques in this book that can help to cultivate compassion as well as insights and stories that help to illustrate his various ideas. For this I gave the book 5 stars.

That being said, There are times that the author seems to slide down a "slippery slope" into the worst sort of New Age thinking. For example, he seems to think that most difficulties in relationships are caused by one's own projections.

While one's inaccurate projections may be a part of many people's relationship dynamics, I think it is unrealistic to always assume that one's difficulties in relationships are based on this idea. This is an oversimplification of the reality of many situations and a poor attempt to fit everything into a nice little box.

For example, I have many friends who were born into or married into families to whom conflict and negativity is the norm (though in the case of those who married into it their spouses may not indulge in this behavior but rather their spouse's families) and they became unwilling participants often as targets in this web of negativity. One may have compassion for why their aggressors developed such negative behavior, but to blame the recipient of this aggression by saying that somehow it is a manifestation of their own projections is absurd and not helpful. All this does is lead to unwarranted confusion and guilt in the person being victimized and traps them in a vicious cycle.

Sometimes in spite of their best efforts there is nothing they can do but "draw a line in the sand" and tell their aggressors that if they cross the line that they are no longer welcome. This can be the most compassionate thing one can do because that can stimulate the aggressor to look at themselves in the mirror and try to help themselves. These aggressors, if given free reign (like petty dictators), typically just get worse rather than better unless confronted firmly. It's almost like a power hungry person craving more power.

All that being said....

Overall, the material presented does offer many useful insights from ancient Tibetan Buddhist practices. If the Dalai Lama is an example of the fruits of these practices then one would have to be impressed by their potential.

Some of the practices described here are also described in the book "Awakening The Buddha Within" by Lama Surya Das (aka Jeffrey Miller) which is a fabulous book. While that is not a psychology book per se, Buddhism is very much psychological in nature in and of itself.

My favorite book that contains insights of psychology and spirituality is "Yoga and The Quest For The True Self" by Stephen Cope (also a psychotherapist as well as scholar in residence at the Kripalu Center in Massachussetts). I found that I was able to relate better to the material in that book overall than the Ladner book. Stephen Cope's book is also not only incredibly informative but is written in a style that makes it a joy to read (I am currently reading it for the 3rd time and I know it is a book that will be an ongoing part of my spiritual life).

Still, if you are interested in the meeting of psychology with spirituality, I would recommend reading and trying to incorporate many of the ideas "The Lost Art Of Compassion" into your life. It is a very readable book in terms of it's language (you won't need to read it with an unabridged dictionary by your side) and the author does seem very knowledgeable and sincere.

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant - read it once and then read it again! 24 Feb. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is truly brilliant! It is an excellent resource for anyone interested in living a happier, more meaningful, and more compassionate life. It offers much insight into how the mind works and why ordinary ego-driven attempts to find happiness often backfire. In combining Buddhist concepts and techniques with explanations from Western psychology, this book shows a clear path to transcend the limiting confines of the ego through the power of love and compassion. Read it once and then read it again!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The Lost Art of Compassion 8 Mar. 2004
By Donna L. Wood - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A brilliant intellectually fertile discovery. Dr. Ladner has gotten it right!! If I had the funds I would forward this magnificent book to all religious and political world leaders as well as those versed in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, and any other field requiring human interaction. What am I saying? - that would mean all of us should read this book and we definitely all should.
Anyone reading this wonderful book would come away with hope, a hope that compassion for one's self and for all beings would lead to less suffering for ourselves and others. This book defines how this can come about and a path to inner peace as well as outward peacefulness towards our fellow worldly companions. Imagine the "butterfly theory" if we all read Dr. Ladner's masterpiece.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Loved It! 9 Feb. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I found this book was a joy to read and I learned a lot about a subject I thought before that I'd really understood. It gave me a new way of looking at the self-cherishing mind and a new way to find true happiness. Very helpful for finding happiness in relationships and in daily life.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Insightful, Clear, Inspiring 8 Sept. 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've read several books making Buddhist concepts accessible to Western/American readers -- and this is the best, the clearest, the most practically useful. It is also a book that would help followers of other faiths see the usefulness of Buddhist concepts and practices without threatening their present beliefs. In other words, this is a great book for Christians to read! It helps show many practical ways for all of us to become kinder, more accepting, more loving of others and ourselves. It also show us a way out of our own selfishness, our own fears about interacting with others. It could help marriages, families, relationships, friendships.

It is a wonderful book. I am sad to see that the bargain price suggests it hasn't sold well, but I am glad to see that its bargain price makes it easier for people to purchase. I have given more than one copy as a gift!

Read it!
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