Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?: A Westerner's Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice

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Namchak Publishing, 2016 - Buddhism - 276 pages
2 Reviews
If you think meditation is only for monks, think again.

Today's world seems to be growing more and more stressful by the minute--for all of us. So now, as a teacher of Tibetan Buddhist practice and a 21st-century woman, Lama Tsomo offers us time-tested tools for getting underneath our everyday worries and making our lives richer and more fulfilling with the release ofWhy Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? Reviewers deem the book "a sympathetic, personalized text" (Foreword Reviews), and recommend it "to those who want to learn more about Buddhism, meditation, or just how to live a more peaceful lifestyle" (Readers' Favorite).

Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? is a lively, approachable guide for using the ancient traditions and practices of Tibetan Buddhism to find happiness and peace in this modern world. Well received and praised, the book was honored with several awards in 2016, including a National Indie Excellence Award and a silver medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Through step-by-step instructions, photographs, and helpful explanations, Lama Tsomo recounts her personal and spiritual journey to greater happiness, and teaches how we can experience the many benefits of meditation. She offers proven techniques for sharpening our focus, enhancing relationships, and living each day more mindfully and joyfully.

Laced with humor, compassion, and stories from Lama Tsomo's own life,Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? meets us where we are and guides us onto the path to a deeper awareness of the world and ourselves. This is a journey well worth taking. As Lama Tsomo invites in the book's prologue, "Won't you come along?"

Featuring an introductory letter from H.H. Dalai Lama,Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? includes a set of beautifully illustrated meditation cards, "Science Tidbits," a glossary of Buddhist terms, and lessons used in Namchak Foundation eCourses and retreats. Learn more about the book and Lama Tsomo at Namchak.org.

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Why is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? A Westerner's Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice applies the ancient traditions of Tibetan Buddhism to modern life through a series of step-by-step instructions and explanations and comes with portable meditation cards, a handy glossary of terms, and foundation lessons from the Namchak Foundation eCourses.
One doesn't expect to find science 'tidbits' peppered into a spiritual treatise, but they are wonderfully present here. Rupert Sheldrake's research into morphic resonance is among the works supporting these Buddhist practices and discoveries.
There are many candid discussions about this process, such as why people get 'stuck' in processing lives and choosing paths, how to block hindering karmic channels, or how to sustain an uninterrupted session of Tranquil Abiding - all aided by color photos throughout.
There's also an unexpected thread of humor that runs through many discussions ("Now you're ready to "assume the position". No, not THAT position!").
More so than almost any other book covering Tibetan Buddhist wisdom and its applications, these are just a few of the methods utilized by Lama Tsomo to make a potentially technical or confusing discussion lively and accessible to her audience. When combined with her powerful, exact messages, which take ethereal philosophy and spirituality and translate them to accessible, compelling, and actionable ideas, readers are in for a real treat.
This book is simply exquisite. It's packed with colorful visual insights, meditative connections, and strategies for mindfulness and change; all wound into a format that is bright, joyful, and hard to put down. It promises to reach readers with a verve and usefulness that exceeds most other discussions of Tibetan Buddhist practices directed to Western audiences, and should be on the shelves of any new age or spirituality collection.
 

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Reviewed by Carla Trueheart for Readers' Favorite
Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? is an enlightening and beautiful book that includes a memoir of sorts by author Lama Tsomo, thoughts on
spiritual paths, and instruction on how to be happier and live a peaceful lifestyle. The book begins with the author’s own journey, her struggles, and how she became involved in Buddhist practices. That would be enough to tell a moving tale of life and choices, but she goes further and includes instruction on how this was accomplished. Through daily meditation, positive thinking, unique techniques, and the teachings of Rinpoche, she was able to live a happier, more peaceful life. Included in the book are meditation techniques, The Tibetan Nose Blow (it is not as weird as it sounds), and the practice of Tonglen, which teaches compassion and eases suffering. The book also includes tips for fitting meditation into our busy daily lives.
It’s interesting that I read this book when I did, because I just, by happenstance, began the study of Buddhist religions and Buddhist history. Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? really helped me as a reader learn more about these old techniques and Buddhist teachings, such as meditation, dharma, karma, the Five Poisons, and the Three Jewels. In addition, author Lama Tsomo includes color illustrations, charts and guides, science tidbits, and a Question and Answer section. All of these additions were done with passion for the subject and even touches of humor. The author’s personality and her beliefs really came through, making this a delight to read and educational as well. I would recommend the book to those who want to learn more about Buddhism, meditation, or just how to live a more peaceful lifestyle.
 

About the author (2016)

Lama Tsomo (Lama Sangak Yeshe Tsomo) brings her unique perspective to
Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? Born into a Midwestern Jewish household, she followed a path of spiritual inquiry that ultimately led to her ordination as one of the few American female lamas teaching Tibetan Buddhism.

She now speaks Tibetan fluently and has done extensive spiritual retreat both in the U.S. and abroad, deepening her understanding and mastery of Tibetan Buddhism under the tutelage of Tulku Sangak (sometimes spelled "Sang-Ngag") Rinpoche, the holder of the Namchak lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and spiritual head of the Namchak Foundation. Rinpoche has asked Lama Tsomo to oversee the planning and construction of the Namchak Retreat Ranch, and she does so through her service on the board of theNamchak Foundation, an educational resource for a national learning community.

Her teaching has inspired American and international students, who appreciate her warm intelligence and her informal, often humorous style. Lama Tsomo is both the mother of three grown children and a grandmother.

She shares her mountain home with her two dogs, whom she describes as her "constant, loving companions throughout the entire, years-long journey of writing this book.

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