Taming the Tiger

From Taming the Tiger: Tibetan Teachings for Improving Daily Life, by Akong Tilku Rinpoche.

Unfortunately, our background as members of a modern civilised country does little to equip us for accepting things as they are. Our kind of society has an altogether different approach to situations which are held to be disagreeable or imperfect in some way. For example, we invent complicated machinery to take the boredom out of certain kinds of work. Then we have to make lots of people redundant, leaving them more bored than they were before. Moreover, we bulldoze whole communities and build high-rise flats to improve living standards, only to find that no-one wants to live in them; while the people who must live in them feel isolated and miserable. We are always trying to increase and improve things without realising the consequences or knowing where to stop.

Rather than directing all our energy into futile attempts to make life perfect, we could be using some of this effort to develop our tolerance and appreciation of the way things are. Such inner peace brings deep and lasting happiness…

It seems highly unlikely that there are many of us who could not benefit from this advice, regardless of our religious views. Buddhist practice is such a simple thing, and it is quite easy to verify its efficacy. It is only by way of a lot of sophistry that we can justify rejecting its underlying cosmology as untestable, and testing its daily practices for their effect on our inner peace and happiness is a simple project. Not even a telescope would be required. This book is brilliant and completely practical. It is about how to get the job done in the least difficult way. The ‘tiger’ in the title would be our ego, so it might as well be called Taming the Human Race.

This is only one of countless excellent books saying the same things but to me it seems a particularly useful one. If only it was as easy to do the work as recommend the books.

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