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Lions Roar : November 2016
A Kinder Voice is for adults what My New Best Friend is for chil- dren. It’s a guide to dealing with low self-esteem—chronically thinking that what we are and what we do isn’t good enough. The tool that Thérèse Jacobs- Stewart employs for working with our inner critic is the Buddhist practice of lojong, or mind train- ing. It was developed in Tibet by the yogi–scholar Atisha (982– 1054) and, for years was taught only orally to an inner circle of disciples. Then Chekawa Yeshe Dorje (1101–1175) made the teachings more widely accessible by composing The Root Text of the Seven Points of Mind Training, in which he sum- marized the lojong practices into fifty-nine pithy aphorisms or slogans. In A Kinder Voice, Jacobs-Stewart offers commen- tary on six of the slogans, including “Rest in the openness of mind” and “Begin kindness practice with yourself.” The idea is that once we’ve spent enough time with them, the slogans become a natural part of our thinking process, and instead of being mired in negativity, we’re more compassionate with ourselves and others. AWAKENING FROM THE DAYDREAM Reimaging the Buddha’s Wheel of Life By David Nichtern Wisdom Publications 2016; 160 pp., $15.95 (paper) According to tradition, the Buddha himself directed the creation of the original Wheel of Life painting and gave it to an Indian king. The king contemplated the allegorical image and immediately attained enlighten- ment. In Awakening from the Day- dream, David Nichtern’s emphasis is on the circle that repre- sents the six realms of samsara—the god realm, the jealous god realm, the human realm, the animal realm, the hungry ghost realm, and the hell realm. Traditionally in Buddhism, these six realms are viewed as actual, objective destinies into which one can be born, but Nichtern focuses on them as psychological and emotional states that we cycle through over the course of a lifetime, and maybe even over the course of a day or an hour. Unpacking these six states of mind and their emotional founda- tion, he shows us how we can use the Wheel of Life teachings, in combination with meditation practice, as a path to self- awareness and emotional freedom. ♦ LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 79