Cover image for Infinite life : seven virtues for living well
Title:
Infinite life : seven virtues for living well
Author:
Thurman, Robert A. F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Riverhead Books, 2004.
Physical Description:
xxii, 276 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781573222679
Format :
Book

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BQ5660 .T487 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

America's most popular and charismatic Buddhist delivers the ultimate guidebook to understanding our place in the universe and realizing how we can personally succeed while helping others.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Thurman, a preeminent Tibetan Buddhist scholar, has long championed the cause of Tibet's liberation and sought to promote Buddhism in the West, writing a number of worthy books, including Inner Revolution0 (1998). He is also, as his biographical materials note, the father of actress Uma Thurman as well as a "close personal friend of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama," a vague celebrity status that may have inspired the misguided pop approach of this attempt to present Buddhism as a scientific alternative to Western psychology. Thurman begins with the premise that all beings will have an infinite number of lives, and that all are interconnected. He then presents his Buddhist "psychology," and encourages the cultivation of wisdom, generosity, justice, patience, creativity, and contemplation through various meditations. Unfortunately, his attempt to reach a mass audience falls short as the book's breezy conversational tone and uneven prose distract from valid ideas. --Jane Tuma Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

One day more than 40 years ago, when Thurman was a 21-year-old novice monk (the first Western Tibetan Buddhist monk), he had a physical experience that showed him how the idea of reincarnation, so vast and impossible to verify, can transform our lives right here and now. In his follow-up to Inner Revolution, the Columbia University professor describes how he was walking down a road in New Jersey, sent by his Tibetan teacher to buy milk for tea, when he suddenly experienced the lifting or release of a familiar "push-pressure" around his tail bone. "The pressure gone, I immediately saw that I had always been feeling as if I were being pushed along from behind toward my destination, not only to the grocery store on Route 9 but to my destiny in life, my future in general." Taking stock, he realized that under all of his ordinary thoughts, he had been pondering the Buddhist understanding of the "beginninglessness" of life. Here, in a guide that can be read through as daring thought experiment or delved into as a workbook, Thurman seeks to impart a sense of the inner freedom, the literal lightening up, that becomes possible as we begin to understand that we are all participants in an "infinite life." Thurman explores related transcendent virtues: wisdom, generosity, justice, patience, creativity, contemplation and making art in the service of others. He offers meditations but always returns to the larger truth that true enlightenment-true awakening to the infinite-is never an escape from life but a state of awareness and compassion for other living beings. Among the riches offered here is the insight that we do not become faceless blobs as we realize our selflessness and the infinite nature of our lives but true individualists. Liberated from a fear of death and isolation, confident that we are in a long-term relationship with life that can never be severed, we can begin to help ourselves and others to happiness. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The first Westerner to be ordained a monk in the Tibetan tradition and a leading academic authority on Tibetan Buddhism, Thurman offers the overstressed and suffering his formula for achieving a profound and secure happiness. Explaining the nature of self and the Buddhist concept of "beginninglessness" (all sentient beings have experienced infinite pasts and will experience infinite futures) are the work's first lessons toward enabling the art of "infinite living." Thurman then devotes a chapter, including a meditation practice and implications for individuals and society, to each of six requisite virtues-wisdom, generosity, justice, patience, creativity, and contemplation. General readers will find much of the wisdom and some of the technique of Tibetan Buddhism prescribed as psychological palliative without religious dogma, but, unlike in most Buddhist literature, Thurman comes across as didactic and proselytizing. The author's reputation, the success of his earlier treatise emphasizing the social and political aspects of Buddhism (Inner Revolution), and a planned advertising campaign will create temporary demand in pop collections for this otherwise unremarkable work.-James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina at Asheville Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.