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Paperback Questions from the City, Answers from the Forest: Simple Lessons You Can Use from a Western Buddhist Monk Book

ISBN: 0835607747

ISBN13: 9780835607742

Questions from the City, Answers from the Forest: Simple Lessons You Can Use from a Western Buddhist Monk

Sincere inquiry always sparks our movement towards truth. Deep questions signal the manifestation of the very energy through which we outgrow ourselves. -- from the Introduction.Born in Chicago, a law school graduate and real estate professional, Ajahn Sumano abandoned his comfortable American lifestyle for the begging bowl and simple cave home of an ordained Buddhist monk in the tradition of the Thai forest meditation masters. In 1994-95, he conducted...


Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A priceless gift

I picked up this book just when my life was so full of doubts and confusion. It has been a great source of strength for me especially during those tough times. I don't believe that it is simply a coincidence that whatever page I happen to open always contains the response to my concerns. I feel the compassionate and gentle guidance of Ajahn Sumano in his wise and down-to-earth answers, even to the most mundane questions. I felt so blessed to have found this book and I wanted to share the same joy among my friends, so I have given it out as a gift to several of them.If you had to get only one book this year, do yourself a great kindness and make it this one.

Heart-to-Heart Encounters

Q & A books of all kinds have been written many times before but very few bear the genuineness and sincerity that this book has. This heartfelt attitude is what makes it so engaging. The questions presented throughout the pages sound like something I or any spiritually curious person would ask. Ajahn Sumano's answers in return are strikingly simple and compassionate. Perhaps in his early days as a layperson, he may have asked these questions himself. As profound as the answers are, Ajahn Sumano never loses his quiet sense of humor in the delivery of his response (Q:Why do I get a headache whenever I meditate? A: Do you ever get headaches when you don't meditate? Q:...uh, yes. A: There you are. You get a headache because you have a head.).There are many lessons one can pick up, learn and cherish in this book, one of which is the fact that each one of us is student and teacher at once.

My favorite book

After having met Ajahn Sumano on two occasions, I looked forward to the day he would write this book for us. It is written from his heart in true Buddhist fashion. I highly recommend this book for the Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike. Ajahn Sumano gives us a taste of what it is like to be a forest monk in Thailand and how he views all things. Thank you for writing this Ajahn.

A look from the Western view toward Buddhism.

It is not often to have a Western Monk who brought up in Western world teaching the Westerners to understand Buddhism from the perspective of the West.He really made the punch to the heart of the readers.

Quiet enthusiasm about the spiritual guidance offered

Those seeking spiritual guidance will find practical advice and solid instruction in fundamentals in this book. Since people always begin from the point at which they are most entangled in their day-to-day lives, the path presented up and out of the morass is clearly marked and gradual in its initial steps. Because the author followed that path, too, he is able to provide leadership by example here. It is perhaps difficult to be noisily enthusiastic about a book which teaches quieting raucous inner voices in the pursuit of inner peace amid the commotion of the world. However, a quiet enthusiasm and happiness may usefully be expressed by this reviewer. The form of the book is a dialogue with questions and answers. The power of this form comes when the reader is able to imagine him- or herself posing the question. Often the questioner is seeking the path to a more spiritual life amidst the day-to-day struggle for the markings of middle class success. The questions are a nice mixture of challenges, complaints, and honest or simple inquiries about the foundation and structure of the path to spiritual well-being and enlightenment represented by the author's training as a Buddhist monk. For example, one questioner suggests an approach whereby success in accumulating wealth precedes the ability to detach from the world and lead a spiritual life. Rich people have to devote themselves to their money, to guard, administer it, and grow it. Naturally, the problem is the more wealth and possessions you have, the more you are entangled in the struggle to care for your possessions and wealth. Our possessions own us. Although each individual must decide the exact degree of simplification - two cars, one car, or none (for example) - living simply is learning to be content with what you have. A moderate life style which makes possible spiritual development is a great treasure. Thus, people who sit quietly with their legs crossed and concentrate on their breathing (fore example) find their minds are filled with random images. Violence. Desire for stuff of all kinds. Sexual longings. Silliness of all kinds. This is disturbing. Especially when one is trying to take control of one's thoughts. The recommendation? Let things float by as if they were the clouds of an increasingly distant and passing storm. Step-by-step the thoughts will become less compulsive, driven. You are not really thinking these thoughts anyway. They are "thinking" you - and will float back from whence they came if not resisted or attended to. Then instead of reacting to people, situations, thoughts, and problems out of fear or anger, the person is able to be proactive and act creatively. Questioners ask about the experience of having one's conscious literally in a spin. Many of the questions are in the form of complaints about being unable to control one's thoughts, which are so unattractive as to be distressing. People are lite
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