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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Buddha Standard Time
Awakening to the Infinite Possibilities of Now
Lama Surya Das
HarperOne 06/11 Hardcover $25.99
ISBN: 9780061774560


We are living in times when everything has been sped up and the result is damage to our bodies through stress and a concerted attack on our souls. Many of us are so addicted to life in the fast lane that we don't ever want to disconnect. In this timely and wide-ranging book, Lama Surya Das, the bestselling author of Awakening the Buddha Within and Buddha Is as Buddha Does, teaches us how to wean ourselves from the time addictions that sap all our energy and good will. As the founder of the Western Buddhist Teachers Network, he is convinced that Buddhism is a profound study of time management and has much to contribute to the dialogue with its practices of living in the present moment, meditation, equanimity, and detachment.

Throughout the book, Lama Surya Das presents "Mindful Moments" exercises and "Time Out" Meditations. The overarching theme is the experience of the Eternal Now — the realm of timelessness where we can be renewed and opened to infinite possibilities. Among the many topics Surya Das covers here are how to awaken from the tyranny of artificial modern time, the need to create special spaces for nurturing your Higher Self, the art of synchronizing linear Father Time and cyclical Mother Nature, understanding the role of our powers of perception, minding time wisely, mastering living in the moment, creating special refuges in sacred time and space, and learning to embrace loss, death, and the other dimensions of impermanence.

What does it mean to enter Buddha time? Lama Surya Das writes:

"Relax and enter into a timeless zone; nowhere to go, nothing to do, free of scheduling and appointments, free of past and future thoughts and memories and plans. Simply and attentively present, you are cultivating nowness-awareness.

"You can also try removing your watch in your everyday routine. At the office, in the supermarket, out with friends . . . you may be surprised at the new, expansive relationship you have with time when you stop measuring it in small increments.

"The primacy of the moment is one of the first things you discover when you get off artificial clock time. It's always now. Not earlier, not later, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but right now. Your focus is no longer on your schedule — where you have to be and what you have to do — but in the present. When you think about it, the present moment is the one and only place we are or ever can be. It holds infinite ways of knowing our greatness, our individual genius — infinite resources for solving problems. And we can experience the present moment wherever we are, whenever we choose, just by becoming precisely focused on the breath or on any other equally vibrant, ever-available object of attention."

We were most impressed again with the variety of spiritual practices shared by Lama Surya Das including a W.O.W. (Wishing Others Well) practice, a Candlelight Meditation, a piece on Right Driving, practical tips for standing in a line, an "I Am I" Meditation, and a "Breaking Old Patterns" piece. There's plenty of wisdom here for those harassed and hurried by time (which means all of us).

You can visit the author online at www.surya.org. Lama Surya Das is profiled on this website in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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