Cover image for Wake up to your life : discovering the Buddhist path of attention
Wake up to your life : discovering the Buddhist path of attention
McLeod, Ken, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : HarperSanFranciso, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 468 pages : illustrations 25 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ4302 .M44 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BQ4302 .M44 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



It is easy to lose your way exploring how to benefit from Buddhist wisdom in the contemporary Western world. In this fresh and original work, Ken McLeod demystifies the essential teachings of Buddhism as he illuminates a path to living fully in the present. Writing without jargon or obscure terminology, he uses delightful stories from around the world to explain clearly and compellingly how we can utilize the practices of Buddhism to awaken to the full potential of our lives.

Most of us live behind a wall of illusion. Wake Up to Your Life gives us all the tools we need to "dismantle" that wall. Readers will learn to move out of the reactive patterns that create suffering and curb true freedom by using meditations and reflections that point the way to wisdom, awareness, compassion, and inner strength. Each meditation is described in detail and is accompanied by a lucid commentary on its meaning and value.

Using everyday language, stories, and examples accessible to westerners, Wake Up to Your Life presents the Buddha's original teachings separate from the cultural context of religious ritual and belief. Highlighted with quotes from thinkers as diverse as Mulla Nasrudin, Samuel Beckett, Yogi Berra, Albert Einstein, Kalu Rinpoche, James Baldwin, and Bob Dylan, this authoritative guide offers a warm and engaging approach to awakening our true self and walking the liberating path of mindful and compassionate living.

Author Notes

Ken McLeod is widely respected as an authentic teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This book's promotional material asserts that author McLeod "is no guru and has no meditation center; rather, he is a life trainer." Perhaps only in contemporary America can this be touted as an advantage for a Buddhist teacher. McLeod, no doubt, is not the least bit bothered by the implications, as he is writing expressly for "Americans in a thoroughly American way." Still, potential readers should not fear that McLeod has shortchanged them on the details of the Buddhist path. He offers very charming stories, unclouded prose, step-by-step meditations, charts and quotes from such varied sources as Bob Dylan, Milarepa, Rumi, Yogi Berra and anonymous Buddhist sayings ("Think of all sentient beings as Buddha, but keep your hand on your wallet"). McLeod delivers a hefty how-to manual that could prove useful to a single soul in the hinterlands or a sophisticated searcher in Los Angeles, where McLeod directs Unfettered Mind, a Buddhist teaching and counseling service. This text's apparent self-help style is somewhat ironic, since McLeod pointedly asks, "Can you do this work on your own?" and immediately responds, "Basically, the answer is no.... We need a teacher," going against the American apotheosis of the individual. Whether he cops to it or not, McLeod has illuminated the path for solitary individuals who want a long-lasting handbook to begin the journey toward wakefulness. (Apr.) Forecast: A five-city West Coast author tour and a February 15 excerpt in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review should boost sales of this book, which will have a 25,000-copy print run. Advertising is planned in PW and in Tricycle. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. ix
Chapter 1 The Mystery of Beingp. 1
Chapter 2 Buddhism in a Nutshellp. 19
Chapter 3 Cultivating Attentionp. 49
Chapter 4 Dismantling Attachment to Conventional Successp. 91
Chapter 5 Karma and Dismantling Beliefp. 127
Chapter 6 Dismantling Reactive Emotionsp. 207
Chapter 7 The Four Immeasurablesp. 243
Chapter 8 Mind Trainingp. 313
Chapter 9 Insight and Dismantling Illusionp. 353
Chapter 10 No Separationp. 411
Sourcesp. 449
Permissionsp. 453
Guide to Meditations and Commentariesp. 455
Indexp. 459