Buddhists are quite disturbed by the addiction of many in modern society to what they call "the Eight Mundane Concerns." They are: (1) seeking the acquisition of material goods, (2) trying not to lose those you have, (3) striving for stimulus-driven pleasures, (4) doing your best to avoid pain and discomfort, (5) seeking praise, (6) avoiding abuse, (7) yearning for a good reputation, and (8) fearing disgrace. The more time and energy we spend on these goals and objectives, the less time we have for genuine happiness.
B. Alan Wallace has taught Buddhist theory and meditation throughout Europe and North and South America since 1976. He devoted 14 years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk and was ordained by the Dalai Lama, who has written the foreword to this book.
Wallace provides a fine overview of meditation as the path to fulfillment in thematic sections on (1) Meditative Quiescence, (2) The Four Applications of Mindfulness (body, feelings, mind, phenomena), (3) The Four Immeasurables (compassion, loving-kindness, empathic joy, and equanimity), (4) Dream Yoga, and (5) Dzogchen (the Great Perfection). Each chapter includes a guided meditation and thoughts for further contemplation. Here the reader will find insightful material on refining the attention, cultivating mindfulness, opening the heart, investigating the waking state and its relation to dreaming, and probing the nature of awareness itself.
In the last chapter Wallace notes: "Gyatrul Rinpoche has chided his students time and time again when giving us Dzogchen teachings, saying, 'You know why you have not fulfilled your spiritual aspirations? You don't believe in yourselves. It is not that you don't believe in Buddhism or the Nyingma tradition; it is that you don't believe in yourselves." Now is the perfect time to explore who you really are. Self-reflection and training the mind are the keys to genuine happiness.