Toni Bernhard is the author of the award-winning How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers and How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow. Until forced to retire due to illness, Toni was a law professor at the University of California–Davis, serving six years as the dean of students. She has been a practicing Buddhist for over twenty years. Her blog, “Turning Straw Into Gold,” is hosted on the website of Psychology Today. She can be found online at ToniBernhard.com.
The must-have guide to the practices of the bestselling classic to help you cope with the pain and uncertainty of illness and navigate your relationships with family, friends, and medical professionals.
Praise for the First Edition
“This book can bring you more fully alive by healing your spirit.”—Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance
“Beautiful, heartfelt, and immensely courageous. Truly worth reading.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness
“This is a book for all of us.”—Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job
“Practical, wise, and full of heart.”—James Baraz, author of Awakening Joy
“Told with relentless honesty and clarity.”—Stephen Batchelor, author of Confession of a Buddhist Atheist
HOW TO BE SICK
Your Pocket Companion
You won’t be alone when you have this pocket-sized treasure of transformative practices, written by beloved bestselling author Toni Bernhard.
In 2001, Toni got sick and never recovered. As she faced the confusion, frustration, and despair of a life that was suddenly severely limited, Toni had to learn how to be sick.
In this easy-to-use, easy-to-carry book, Toni shares practices from her bestselling classic How to Be Sick and also offers new suggestions and strategies for coping with a life impacted by chronic pain and illness. Because the book is organized by specific challenges, you can immediately find practices that can help when they’re needed most.
With this book in hand, you will discover the experiential wisdom that has helped Toni live a life of equanimity, compassion, and joy, despite her physical and energetic restrictions—and, sometimes, because of them. In the pages of this loyal companion, you’ll find help, solace, and inspiration, no matter what life challenge you’re facing.
- 104 pages, 4 x 6 inches
- ISBN 9781614296768
- 104 pages
- ISBN 9781614296775
A new volume of original poetry from the bestselling creator of Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy.
In Dharma Talk, award-winning poet John Brehm explores the perennial themes of aging, compassion, emptiness, nonseparation, and more. At once poignant and humorous, Brehm’s gentle, wry poems remind us that the personal and the universal are not different—and point us to the Dharma of everyday life.
Impermanence in Plain English
The bestselling author of Mindfulness in Plain English guides the reader toward a direct and personal realization of one of the foundational tenets of Buddhism: all things that arise must pass away.
Once-youthful bodies grow old and weary. New thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise and fade every second. Impermanence is not some abstract metaphysical idea. This is the Dhamma, and you can see it for yourself.
Drawing from Pali scriptures and writing with fresh, direct language, Bhante Gunaratana and his student Julia Harris highlight the Buddha’s exhortation that we must directly realize for ourselves the liberating insights that free us from suffering and cyclic existence, without relying only on the word of religious authorities or academic or philosophical musings.
Being Human and a Buddha Too
In writing that sparkles and inspires, Anne Klein (Lama Rigzin Drolma) shows us how to liberate our buddha nature to be both human and a buddha too.
This first volume in the House of Adzom series centers on Longchenpa’s seven trainings in bodhicitta, our awakened mind, the ultimate purpose of our practice and training. Anne Klein’s original composition masterfully weaves in Adzom Paylo Rinpoche’s commentary and Jigme Lingpa’s five pith practices and commentary on the trainings, in keeping with Longchenpa’s skillful integration of sutra, tantra, and Dzogchen, to resolve our most challenging questions about what awakening involves and how it relates to the truth of our human situation right now. As foundational teachings for Dzogchen practitioners, the seven trainings are framed as contemplations on impermanence, the adventitiousness of happiness and its short duration, the multiple causes of death, the meaninglessness of our worldly activities, reliance on the Buddha’s good qualities, the teacher’s pith instructions, and ultimately nonconceptual meditation on bliss and emptiness, clarity and emptiness, and reality itself.
The Power of Mantra
Energize your practice with the potent energy of mantra.
In this book, beloved teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche guides us through the most popular mantras in Tibetan Buddhism: Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrezig, Manjushri, Tara, Medicine Buddha, Vajrasattva, and more.
A mantra—literally “that which protects the mind”—is a series of Sanskrit syllables that evoke the energy of a particular buddha or bodhisattva. It works as a sacred sound that brings blessings to ourself and others, and as a tool to transform our mind into one that is more compassionate and wise.
In clear and succinct teachings, Lama Zopa shows us why we need different mantras and how each mantra works. He also explains their importance and power, giving specific instructions for practicing them. The exquisite, full-color illustrations of the deities that accompany the text make this book a beautiful guide, one suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
The Wisdom Culture Series, published under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, features translations of key works by masters of the Geluk tradition. Also available in the Wisdom Culture Series are Tsongkhapa’s Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and The Swift Path, translated by Szegee Toh.
Now in Paperback!
An accessible, inspiring book on one of the most important topics in Tibetan Buddhism, written by one of its renowned masters who has an international following of thousands.
Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word meaning “the mind of enlightenment” or “the awakening mind”—the mind that wishes to achieve enlightenment in order to lead all other beings into that same state. It is the attitude of the bodhisattva, of the person who makes the compassionate vow to save others from suffering. In this book, the renowned teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche shows us how to achieve it.
First, Lama Zopa gives a clear and comprehensive explanation of bodhichitta, its benefits, and its importance to the path. Then, he walks us through the two main methods for achieving bodhichitta: the seven points of cause and effect, and equalizing and exchanging self and others. Finally, the book closes with meditation instructions to guide and strengthen our practice.
Readers will find Bodhichitta to be a comprehensive guide to this core Buddhist principle, one rich in both accessible philosophical explanation and concrete advice for practitioners.
The sixth chapter of Shantideva’s classic A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life is a beacon of inspiration that shows what patience—one of the essential actions of the bodhisattvas—can really mean, leading us to profound self-realization and a heightened determination for awakened action in the world.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche—a teacher whose very name means “patience”—explores Shantideva’s teachings verse by verse, unpacking their lessons for the modern reader, including:
- overcoming anger,
- accepting suffering,
- and respecting others and finding happiness in their happiness.
In explaining this quintessential quality of a bodhisattva, Rinpoche shows us ordinary beings the profundity of the practice of patience and the relevance it has in our everyday lives.
“Shantideva was like us, but he worked on his mind until he became completely free from delusions . . . A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life has inspired countless people since it was written over thirteen hundred years ago. It tells us that we too can develop our mind to the levels of realizations that the great masters have attained—and it shows us how to do it.”—Lama Zopa Rinpoche
The Six Perfections
The six perfections are the actions of the bodhisattvas—holy beings who have transcended selfless concerns. But they’re also skills we can and should develop right now, in our messy, ordinary lives.
In this clear, comprehensive guide to the backbone of Mahayana Buddhist practice, Lama Zopa Rinpoche walks us through each of the six perfections:
As he carefully describes each perfection, he not only reveals the depth of its meaning and how it intertwines with each other perfection, but he also explains how to practice it fully in our everyday lives—offering concrete ways for us to be more generous, more patient, more wise. With the guidance he gives us, we can progress in our practice of the perfections until we, like the bodhisattvas, learn to cherish others above ourselves.
“The perfections are the practices of bodhisattvas, holy beings who have completely renounced the self; they have transcended selfish concerns and cherish only others. Each perfection is perfect, flawless. Each arises from bodhichitta and is supported by the other perfections, including the wisdom of emptiness. Because of that, a bodhisattva generates infinite merit every moment, whether outwardly engaged in working for others or not. A bodhisattva’s bodhichitta never stops.”
—Lama Zopa Rinpoche
We experience illness on a physical level, but in order to be healed, we must understand where true healing begins: within our hearts and minds. In Ultimate Healing, internationally renowned meditation master Lama Zopa Rinpoche helps us to recognize the root of illness and gives us the tools to create our future happiness. Beginning with stories of people who have recovered from disease through meditation, Rinpoche addresses the central role played by karma and by the mental habit of “labeling” in causing illness, and shows how meditation and other thought techniques for developing compassion and insight can eliminate the ultimate cause of all disease.
Ultimate Healing shows us that by transforming our minds, especially through the development of compassion, we can eliminate the ultimate cause of all disease. In addition to relating stories of people who have recovered from disease through meditation, Lama Zopa presents practical healing meditations, including white-light healing, compassion meditation, “taking and giving”, and techniques to cure depression.
Cards for Bearing the Unbearable
Grief sometimes leaves us without words. Yet narrating our feelings, thoughts, and experiences can be so helpful in relating to our inner world. These cards are an invitation to begin that process.
Calm Breath, Calm Mind
Discover ancient Tibetan breath practices for calming your mind and improving your health in this plain-English guide.
Over millennia, many Eastern traditions have developed practices that use the powerful healing energy of breath to treat physical, emotional, and mental problems. In Chinese, this energy is called chi; in Sanskrit it is called prana; and in Tibetan it is called lung.
Lung is life-giving energy that moves through our bodies. A lack or imbalance of lung can create illnesses of body and mind or cause emotional struggles such as confusion, anger, and sadness. In this book Geshe YongDong Losar, a scholar and monk in the ancient Bön tradition of Tibet, guides us through time-tested practices to help balance our lung. His deep knowledge—garnered through years of study and practice—renders the practices simple and achievable, creating a clear path for us toward greater calmness, strength, and clarity.
“Over and over I have personally witnessed, both in myself and in my students, the breath’s clear potential to heal and deeply transform lives. I truly believe that in the future such practices will play an important role as a medicine for preventing and treating physical, emotional, and mental maladies. I am glad that Geshe YongDong is making these practices widely available, and I’m sure that by doing so, he is bringing benefit to countless lives.”
—from the foreword by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
The mind can be a potent tool, used to guide extraordinary achievements, inspire good works, and incline your spiritual path toward peace and awakening. But the mind can also produce thoughts that lead to suffering. For many people, thoughts run rampant and seem to oppress or control their lives. Even the Buddha tells us that before his enlightenment, he sometimes found his mind preoccupied by thoughts connected with sensual desire, ill will, and harm. But he figured out how to respond to thoughts skillfully and developed a step-by-step approach to calm the restless mind. Now, Insight Meditation teacher Shaila Catherine offers an accessible approach to training the mind that is guided by the Buddha’s pragmatic instructions on removing distracting thoughts. Drawing on two scriptures in the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Shaila shows you how to overcome habitual modes of thinking, develop deeper concentration, and discover the insights into emptiness that are vital for a liberating spiritual path.
Following the Buddha’s pragmatic approach, Shaila guides you through five steps for overcoming distraction and focusing the mind:
- Replace unwholesome thoughts with wholesome thoughts.
- Examine the dangers of distracting thoughts.
- Avoid it, ignore it, forget it.
- Investigate the causes of distraction.
- Apply determination and resolve.
Each chapter includes exercises and reflections to help you cultivate the five steps to deeper concentration. You’ll learn about your mind and develop your ability to direct your attention more skillfully in meditation and daily activities. And ultimately, you’ll discover for yourself how these five steps boil down to one key realization: In the moment you recognize that a thought is just a thought, you will find yourself on the path to a life of remarkable freedom.
A Peaceful Piggy’s Guide to Sickness and Death, Sadness and Love
When someone we love gets sick, we little piggies worry! It can feel scary when a person we care about is sick or in a hospital. Luckily, there is one good thing we peaceful piggies can do: meditate.
This is a story about love.
Experiencing a loved one’s illness or death is challenging for both children and their grownups. With three distinct sections to choose from—when someone we love is sick, dying, or has died—this guide will help you easily find soothing and practical mindfulness activities focused on what your young one needs in order to guide them through their big emotions and questions. These practices will help calm and empower children—and their grownups—as they discover they can still be with their loved ones through their heart connection, no matter where they are.
Click here for an animated video based on the story.
Liberation from Samsara
This rare teaching by Rinpoché is a uniquely concise volume of the teachings of the path to liberation that is authentic, authoritative, and complete.
In Liberation from Samsara, the Fourth Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoché presents the Longchen Nyingthik preliminary teachings, with a special focus on guru yoga. These teachings, from the innermost secret instruction of Dzogchen, constitute a complete path to enlightenment.
After discussing the ways to turn our mind toward Dharma and the trainings, Rinpoché provides guru yoga instruction as he turns to the main tantric practice: meditations on unifying one’s mind with Guru Rinpoché’s wisdom mind. This rare teaching by Rinpoché, though intentionally succinct to accommodate the needs of contemporary Western practitioners, presents a complete path to enlightenment. It contrasts three different paths to liberation: Shravakayana (the way of the disciple), Pratyekabuddhayana (the way of the self-enlightened buddha), and Mahāyāna (the way of the bodhisattva), which is our way, our boundless intention to seek refuge in order to free all sentient beings from samsaric suffering.
The Mindful Menopause Workbook
The Mindful Menopause Workbook will help you bring mindfulness into your day-to-day activities during menopause. The teachings, exercises, and meditations will show you how to recognize and achieve a more balanced, peaceful, and joyful orientation to whatever you experience at menopause and beyond.
A year’s worth of daily teachings will offer you micro-moments of self-care and self-development—mentally, physically, and spiritually. Following each teaching is space for you to journal whatever thoughts, emotions, or sensations arise. The exercise section includes an illustrated guide to yoga postures and outlines sequential poses that foster greater ease and awareness of the body, while the guided meditations and breath exercises promote body-mind unity through expanded peaceful awareness. The book addresses issues common to women during menopause sensitively and gives recommendations for dealing with common complaints such as insomnia, fatigue, low energy and libido, anxiety, depression, hot flashes, physical discomfort, poor digestion, and weight gain.
Together, these teachings, exercises, and reflections will help you approach menopause mindfully, and joyfully, as you deepen your practice and transition into a new stage of life.
“The Mindful Menopause Workbook is an ideal companion for navigating the transitional tidal waves of feminine growth. It is a great resource to rejuvenate the heart, mind, and body as you step into the next phase of life with renewed hope, confidence, and wisdom. Francesca Dupraz-Brossard has mapped out exciting pathways for women to appreciate and connect with their heart, mind, and body with love, compassion, joy, and equanimity, and to rediscover the beauty of their lives.”
—Dr. Charika Marasinghe, PhD, trustee, Vishva Niketan International Peace Centre
Discover ancient Tibetan yogic practices that integrate body, breath, and mind on the journey to personal cultivation and enlightenment.
Tibetan Yoga offers accessible instructions for performing the ancient yogic techniques of Tibet’s Bön religion. This is Tibetan yoga, or trul khor, a deeply authentic yogic practice. Drawing on thirty years of training with Bön’s most senior masters as well as advanced academic study, Dr. Alejandro Chaoul offers expert guidance on practices that were first developed by Bön masters over a millennia ago, framing them according to the needs of contemporary yoga practitioners and meditators.
No matter their level of experience, dedicated practitioners of Tibetan yoga will discover their ability to clear away obstacles and give rise to meditative states of mind. In Tibetan Yoga, you’ll learn what it means to practice for the benefit of all beings and to experience your body as a mandala, from center to periphery. These movements help you live in a more interconnected mind-breath-body experience, with benefits including better focus, stress reduction, the elimination of intrusive thoughts, better sleep, and general well-being.
Save 20% on the Tibetan Yoga online course when you buy this book! Your discount code is at the end of the book.
Awake Where You Are
“Embodied awareness is the way back home—intimacy with where and how we are right now, with what is happening and how we are meeting it. This book will lead you into the heart of your life, into your body, where everything happens—with quality of listening rather than knowledge, of feeling rather than reaction. Practicing in this way is radically transformative.”
Pulled around by desires and distractions, we’re so easily disconnected from ourselves. Life is happening right in front of us, and within us—but still, we manage to miss so much of it.
Awake Where You Are provides the antidote, inviting us to go deep into our own bodies, to inhabit our sensory experience carefully; to learn the art of living from the inside out, and in the process to find ease, clarity, and an authentic, unshakeable freedom.
The practices in the book literally bring us back into our skin, where we can reconnect with a more rich, meaningful, and peaceful life. Aylward writes with sophisticated subtlety, as well as the heart-opening simplicity and clarity born of deep experience.
More than a meditation guide, this book is a guide to living an embodied life. You’ll learn about the following areas and practices:
- Understanding and liberating our primal human drives.
- Integrating psychological understanding with meditative practice.
- Investigating the nuances of love.
“Martin is a marvelous teacher and offers us the refreshing wisdom of an embodied life.”
—Jack Kornfield, author of No Time Like the Present
“With my diagnosis of grade IV brain cancer, I no longer observe the truth of impermanence from a critical, analytical distance. I am crashing into it, or it into me.”
Facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, Karen Derris—professor, mother, and Buddhist practitioner—instinctually turned to books. By rereading ancient Buddhist stories with fresh questions and a new purpose in mind, she discovered evolving ways to make them immediate and real. Storied Companions interweaves Karen’s memoir of her lived experiences of trauma and terminal illness with stories from Buddhist literary traditions, sharing with the reader how she found ways to live fully even with the reality that she won’t live as long as she needs—or wants.
Using her knowledge, practice, and imagination, Karen illustrates how placing yourself within narratives can turn them from distant and static sources into companions, and from companions into guides. Reading along with her, you’ll realize how this practice of reading and these ancient narratives can help us come to terms with impermanence, develop empathy and compassion, and realize our own interconnectedness.
Honest, powerful, and insightful, Storied Companions itself becomes an invaluable companion, guiding the reader to discover new ways of facing and experiencing life, death, and impermanence.
The Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment
Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), author of the well-known Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment and guru to the First Dalai Lama, is renowned as perhaps Tibet’s greatest scholar-saint. A dozen years after writing his Great Treatise, he wrote the Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, presented here in its first complete English translation.
Less than half the length of the Great Treatise, this work similarly presents a systematic overview of the Buddha’s teachings. Tsongkhapa begins by abridging the longer work, distilling its meditations for quicker integration. After recognizing the rarity of our human existence and the great opportunities it affords, he follows with reflections on impermanence, suffering, and the promise of liberation from our past actions, proceeding then to the path of bodhisattvas, whose universal compassion seeks to free every being from suffering. Tsongkhapa gives especially detailed instructions on śamatha, the deep meditative concentration that is a precondition for the highest insight into the nature of reality. The final and largest section, on that very insight, is unique to this work, particularly Tsongkhapa’s presentation of conventional truth and ultimate truth. Beginners and longtime practitioners alike will cherish the clear guidance from one of Tibet’s great luminaries.
The Wisdom Culture Series, published under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, features translations of key works by masters of the Geluk tradition. Also available in the Wisdom Culture Series are Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s The Power of Mantra and The Swift Path, translated by Szegee Toh.