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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-buy for anyone interested in the teachings of Buddhism
I found this book resonating with my inner thoughts. For someone who is curious about Buddhism (such as myself), this book is a must-buy. It is written in a no-nonsense accessible way, taking you through a journey into the life of Lord Buddha, while at the same time imparting the wisdom of the path in everyday language, using incisive and contemporay examples to...
Published on 7 Mar 2007 by Anjan Ghosh

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15 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What Makes you not Stick to the Subject
This book is:

20% Buddhism
40% Moralism. "Capitalism is bad. USA is imperialist."
40% Long-winded, getting-to-the-point

Quote from p. 36: "Imagine how the world would be [...] [if we] lived Mao Tse-tung's pragmatic communist philosophy: we would be perfectly happy with no shopping malls, no posh cars ... "

I liked the 20%...
Published on 19 Jan 2010 by sanyata


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-buy for anyone interested in the teachings of Buddhism, 7 Mar 2007
By 
Anjan Ghosh (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I found this book resonating with my inner thoughts. For someone who is curious about Buddhism (such as myself), this book is a must-buy. It is written in a no-nonsense accessible way, taking you through a journey into the life of Lord Buddha, while at the same time imparting the wisdom of the path in everyday language, using incisive and contemporay examples to illustrate various points, with humour and even some irreverence. I have always thought it important to read books on Buddhism, written by one who is a practising Buddhist who lives what he or she writes about. With this author you cannot get any better as he is an eminent and very high Lama in Tibetan Buddhism. It is a book that opens your mind to a very different way of living and of seeing life. It is a must for anyone who is serious about understanding that which is beyond the intellect.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars irritating but a gem it is!, 1 May 2007
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The book gives a clear concise exposition of buddha's teaching, his life, of buddhism as a wisdom tradition, and most importantly, it explains the FOUR SEALS that makes for a life liberated from mental and emotional anguish. It is, as the author pointed out, a very abbreviated generalisation of the vast depth of buddism, but that compactness is also what makes the so wonderful becuase every word sticks. As if by magic, I found myself daily being nudged to change my usual habits and ways of thinking and seeing. But if like me, you don't share the author's sense of humor and his penchant for being ' hip' and up' to date' with his take on popular culture and the ( possibly tongue in cheek) ' attitude' that verges on arrogance and cynicism, you may find the work somewhat irritating. But hey, that hows oysters grow pearls.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Most Eye-Opening Books Ever !, 28 Nov 2008
By 
Mr. B. W. Collins (UK) - See all my reviews
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I was intrigued by Buddhism after a 5 week trip around Thailand. After visiting many temples and coming across Buddhist monks around the cities, I wanted to know more about the Buddha and Buddhism as a whole.
I am so glad I opted for this book, as another reviewer said, it is very important to learn about this deep topic from someone who has lived and breathed it. From what I understand the author has been practicing Buddhism since he was 13.

The book explains some deep concepts in an extremely easy to follow and almost "modern" fashion. The author writes in a style which is more relevant to todays world, rather than the author just schooling us about what the Buddha said more than 2500 years ago.

The author teaches us to ignore the incense, the robes, the shaved heads, the golden statues, yet get back to what the Buddha really taught, the four noble truths, also known as the four golden seals. Each chapter presents, explains and analyzes each of these seals, followed by an amazing conclusion at the end.

If you have ever been intrigued by Buddhism, if you have ever thought or wondered that life is more about owning a big flatscreen TV, or knowing what such and such 'celeb of the day' is doing, then you really owe it to yourself to have a read of this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the right audience very worth reading, but not for all., 2 July 2011
This review is from: What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Paperback)
My interpretation of this book is very different from the other reviewer who interpreted this book to be in praise of Mao Tse Tung's communist ideals. I write this review in the hope that if you are considering buying this book you will get some feedback here helping you to decide if this is this is the right book for you, apologies for the length of writing it took. I took a chance in ordering it and am glad I did. As Dzongar Khyentse Rinpoche (perhaps tongue in cheek) says he is not so sure if he is the reincarnated tulku of the illustrious teacher he is said to be he seems to expect his teaching to be studied for the sense they make and not due to some authority he has (In some teaching styles Gautama Buddha did too, in some not). In that spirit I will refer to him as the author of the book.

In studying Buddhism one has to take cognisance that it is 2500 years old and has always said that no phrasing can capture its core truths. They can at best be analogies to a more accurate view, point out the inaccuracies of our assumptions, and guide on how to try to experience truth for ourselves. All of us learn in different ways and at different stages and Buddhism has many different approaches (said to be 84 000, believed by many to have all been taught by Gautama Buddha, and mostly still available) we can look at to find ones that resonate with us. Different teachers have very different styles and none will work effectively for all. There is formal teaching in Buddhism on what the four core truths ('dharma seals') are that identifies an approach as Buddhist, the author of this book here attempts to make that broadly accessible, no small task.
This book is probably not a beginner's introduction to Buddhism suitable for everyone, maybe to some beginners, probably to the more dedicated willing to leave no stone unturned. It's seems to me quite useful for those who have studied Buddhism for a while to help one understand some core messages of Buddhism.

The author has a sharp wit and spares no holy cows. His tongue in cheek comments might be taken out of context by those prone to taking exception on sensitive areas. He tries to keep a balance between getting to the point and providing diverse examples to show the significant impact of related issues on our society. He seldom focuses on being technically accurate and possibly overshoots to both sides (of brevity and elaboration) at times. This is not an particularly easy topic and making it acccessible to all is no small task.

His comments on Mao Tse Tung is an example, as referred to by the other reviewer the author mentions the benefits of a socialism where social inequality and material temptation is minimised and perhaps give Mao Tse Tung credit therefore, lets however look at the context.

The author's country has been devastated by Mao Tse Tung's "Cultural Revolution", with massive and consistent cultural genocide where people were tortured to death for not giving up their moral beliefs. The author of the book does a lot of charity work in those areas and is committed to improving the plight of survivors there. The tremendous depth of cultural treasures in Tibet and across China that was destroyed makes this revolution one of the greatest cultural destructions in recorded history and the author of the book was right in the middle of it on the receiving side. The Dalai Lama has said his only fear is losing his compassion for communist China. While we in the West often tolerate condemnation as out ethical or moral duty Buddhism like many other religions teach that it does harm and separates us from our true nature and accurate perception of the world. Buddhists therefore try hard to retain compassion as the only way to move forward, however heinous crimes might be. In analysing human nature the author of the book makes it clear that much of Mao Tse Tung and others' approach (including his own at times) is unworkable, such as defining dogmas and ideologies that get forced upon people. He talks in defence of many principles that Mao Tse Tung violated.

In presenting a balanced picture he then tries to retain common humanity and see the good in the aggressor by acknowledging one good thing about early communist China: Because almost everyone had the same level of material wealth people did not define their self-worth thereby or seek their happiness therein. The author does not judge materialism as wrong, simply points out how Buddhism says it cannot make one truly happy. He also points out how erosive it is to societies if competition to be superior to others becomes a dominant focus in a society. This is a topic I have personally done research on, and is a chain reaction started by trying to be good enough, fit in, have happiness others seem to have etc. Economics Nobel prise winner Amartya Sen did much work on this, around the notion of functionalities - how we evaluate our functioning in society. It is also analysed in detail in 'The Spirit Level' where those authors look at the extensive evidence and interdisciplinary views on reason for this. The focus of this debate is not whether free markets are efficient, they are economically. The focus is on the side effects certain current variations thereof have on other aspects of society and finding a balance. Supercapitalism is another good book that looks at both sides of the coin.
Getting ahead in life is so ingrained in much of our modern society that if someone challenges this notion directly in the no holds barred way the author does it might come across as a threat to our values. There are probably other notions that are also addressed directly enough to upset other potential readers.

If you think you are a Buddhist this book might give you a lot of insight. It did to me but partially due to the context of studying various other authors which helped me understand what was said here. The author of this book uses his considerable training and skill to attempt to clarify the core of Buddhist philosophy. For some this book might take the wrong angle or be premature reading, for some it might mostly be obvious. One cannot enumerate what it is that makes us not Buddhists without pointing out the aspects of our culture we might feel a need to defent that is contrary to it. That is not everyone's preferred reading nor intended to be a political treatise.

Some words are used in the book in a very specific way and I found myself at the start of a chapter disagreeing with a statement (such as that all emotions contain suffering), only to later realise that the author had a different thing in mind than what I originally interpreted. In my personal interpretation (and I am not qualified to teach) he was in this case saying conditioned emotions always has the suffering due to the limitations conditioned into the point of view they arose from - what the Aro teachers call referentiality. Unconditional love, or unconditional happiness, does not contain suffering but the conditionality our everyday emotions contain is due to the limiting beliefs they are based on and that perpetuate our suffering. As out obstructions and limiting beliefs gradually become subtler on the Buddhist path it can then probably be said that our suffering contained in our emotions do too.

The amount I learnt makes me give this five stars. Authors like Myingur Rinpoche or Khandro Dechen and Ngak'chang Rinpoche or Chagdud Tulku might be more accessible to many readers
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What makes this such a great book, 20 Aug 2008
By 
I. Maia (Europe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Paperback)
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche is probably one of the greatest Buddhist teachers of all times. He masters the art of transmiting the most profound teachings in a simple, modern and humurous way.
Those with expectations on how a Buddhist teacher should be (traditional, boring, "zen", a saint...), might get a bit shocked with the way DKR teaches, but those of us who are really commited to destroy our ego by laughing at ourselves, will surely love him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of wisdom, 14 Sep 2013
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This review is from: What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Paperback)
I would recommend this book to anyone who is not only interested in the philosophy of Buddhism, but in the motivation of applying and practicing it in our daily lives. Thank you Dzongsar Rinpoche for your compassion and great wisdom. May all sentient beings be enlightened!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 20 Jun 2013
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An excellent read, having studied the subject and practised over years, this is a good guide for a new comer for a practical and modern approach to living a more harmonious life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better accessible books on Buddhist thought., 7 May 2013
This review is from: What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Paperback)
Don't be put off by the couple of negative reviews. This book is well worth your time and effort. It won't sit well with those of us who want a "quick fix" solution to life's problems and those who want the appearance of Buddhism without the real substance but it will give them a different point of view. For everybody else it provides a valuable introduction to core Buddhist thinking.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engagingly straight forward Buddhism., 19 April 2007
By 
Dh Jayaraja (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed reading this book. Dzongsar Khyentse has a very engaging writing style he manages to be humourous, and clear in making the Buddha's teaching relevant to modern life. I hope the book gets printed in paper back as it is quite expensive at around 130 pages. It is difficult for me to comment on how it might be recieved by those new to Buddhism but my guess is people will enjoy his style and reflect on the Buddha's teachings and the relevance to their lives and the state of the planet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Paperback)
Very interesting book and arrived very fast.
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What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse (Paperback - 3 Oct 2008)
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