Book reviews: Mind Body and Spirit

MIKE ALEXANDER
Last updated 12:54 03/12/2012
Buddhaland
Buddhaland

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Reviewer Mike Alexander looks at the latest Mind Body & Spirit books.

BUDDHALAND BROOKLYN
By Richard C Morais
(Allen & Unwin)
$36.99

The arms of the Buddhist way are much like the spokes in a wheel - many paths leading to the core of the teaching.For Oda the path of the way of the Headwater Sect of Mahayana Buddhism in a remote mountainous part of Japan is not what he envisaged as a young boy.

However, his dharma is sealed when his father orders him to enter the priesthood and thus cut all emotional ties to his family. Oda begrudgingly devotes himself fully to the simple life of, initially, and acolyte, makes peace with his fate and discovers he has a hidden talent for suibokuga ink painting.

The early chapters of Richard Morais' second novel are characteristic of the ritualistic life of a Buddhist - monotonous, routine and devoid of excitement. However, when Oda is sent to America to open a Buddhist temple in New York, Buddhaland Brooklyn, much like the lotus sutra which is the core of its philosophy, blossom out of muddy waters into a hilarious, thought-provoking clash of cultures where Oda is forced to confront the practice of his training in a world that in his eyes is barbaric and ill-suited to true believers.

In the acknowledgements, Morais emphasises this is a work of fiction but ironically it wonderfully captures all of the beauty and difficulty of all spiritual paths where the middle way is found in walking the talk and talking the walk.

THE SEER
By Lars Muhl
Watkins Publishing
$29.99

Sometimes the beauty in a book such as The Seer is the depth of what is revealed and the promise of things to come.  Lars Muhl's Scandinavian best-selling trilogy - The Manuscript - is finally available in English or, at least, the first book is. The Seer is, so we are told, part autobiography and part mysticism - a journey from a life as a musician and author, to a three-year period of ennui and sickness to an inexplicable connection to the sacred Cathar site of Montsegur at the foothills of the French Pyrenees. In '1244, the Knights Templar burned at the stake 205 men, women and children at Montsegur for their apparent heresy.  Muhl, at a crossroads in his own life is drawn to  the ruins and a teacher who helps him discover how embedded hisp resent is in the past and, more importantly, how to free himself.

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I BELIEVE
By Eldon Taylor
Hay House
$54.99 (hardcover)

Eldon Taylor's metaphysics fall somewhere between scientific endeavour and spiritual insight.  The keystone to the fifth book in a series that began with the New York Times bestseller Choices and Illusions the recognition that what we believe subconsciously and consciously maps out what we experience. 

In doing so he demystifies the idea that belief is something that is solely the preserve of the religious and demonstrates, with a certain amount of wit and wisdom, how all of our decisions and choices are conformed by what we believe about ourselves and the world around us.  Its obviousnesss is illuminating.

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE
By David Icke
David Icke Books
$74.99

Former professional soccer player and British parliamentarian David Icke is almost required reading even if his books smack of conspiracy theories.  He's a genuine truth seeker who has a good grounding and insight into the spiritual nature of reality even if his life mission seems more devoted to illuminating the hidden political history of humanity and, currently, the influence of the power brokers known as the Illuminati.  His information and "inside" knowledge of what is potentially going on "out there" has the activist zeal of a Julian Assange  and is  always an intriguing and  fascinating glimpse into the forces that "corrupt" our day to day reality.

THE GOD FRANCHISE
By Alan Dawe
Life Magic Publsihing
$37.99

New Zealand author Alan Dawe's "theory of everything" contains a major statement that is at the very core of spiritual understanding.  In his discussion of "God's laws" or the laws of consciousness, he eloquently and quite reasonably points out that just because we have not (or science has not) codified the creative principles of the universe that we live and move in does not mean that they do not exist. The Ashton Wylie Trust 2011 unpublished manuscript award winner deserves to take his place among the contemporary figures who are guiding humanity towards a greater understanding of personal reality. The God Franchise is easily digestible and thought-provoking.

 

All of the Mind Body Spirit books reviewed are available from Pathfinder Bookshop. A 10% discount on titles reviewed is exclusively available to Stuff readers. Just mention stuff.co.nz  when placing your orders.

- Stuff

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