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Authenticity: Clearing the Junk: A Buddhist…

Authenticity: Clearing the Junk: A Buddhist Perspective

by Venerable Yifa

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Once again I was gifted with a book through the wonderful Early Reviewers Program at LibraryThing. This time it is Authenticity: Clearing the Junk: A Buddhist Perspective by Venerable Yifa (Lantern, 2007). Speaking unpretentiously, like a wise sister, Yifa looks at junk in many manifestations: junk food, stuff, communication, relationships, emotions and thoughts.

This slim volume does not have practical tips for dealing with clutter, nor does it advocate asceticism for all, but takes more of a typically Buddhist approach that involves changing attitudes, working from the inside out. One aspect of the Buddhist approach is to evaluate how behaviors affect the mind, seeking to promote those that are conducive to mental equanimity. Another is to look at whole systems, focusing on the interdependence of all things.

The rest of the review is here:

  albanyhill | May 29, 2008 |
Venerable Yifa, a Buddhist nun residing in California, has added her voice to the simple living movement with "Authenticity". While her short book is a quick read, she still manages to pack in the basics of simple living for a meaningful, mindful existence, while weaving an explanation of Buddhist practices into her solutions.

Some of Yifa's practical advice can be found elsewhere in other books, but she has managed to combine many topics into one easy read, making it a cinch for anyone to apply her "dejunking" techniques to so many facets of life (diet, materialism, relationships, etc.).

After reading many books in the Simplicity genre (including Helen and Scott Nearing, Anthony De Mello, Elaine St. James, Duane Elgin), I am surprised how much of Yifa's advice I have been able to take away from her book.

"Authenticity" is simplicity ... with heart. ( )
  mmello | May 18, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Authenticity is a wonderful book, written in a simple and concise manner, telling the reader how they can rid their life of junk. While the book does have a chapter on getting rid of the obvious "junk" in our lives, it also includes chapters on getting rid of junk food, communications, relationships, and emotions. Written from a Buddhist perspective, it is very applicable to people from all walks of life. We all have junk in our lives that we don't need and "Authenticity" is just the thing to get a reader started ridding their lives of the unnecessary. ( )
  jbayes | May 18, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Authenticity is a slim book (113 pages) that seems ‘larger on the inside than the outside”. Its value and wisdom cannot be judged by its physical size.

This book addresses getting rid of the junk in all aspects of your life—the junk that does not serve you in your quest to live the life that can be authentically yours It begins by addressing the physical clutter in your life. It then expands this theme to address other junk: junk communication, junk food, junk relationships, and junk thoughts and feelings. It ranges from the personal extra clutter in your home and your body to the emotional clutter that brings war and human-caused environmental problems.

Although I do not claim to be Buddhist, I enjoy reading Buddhist philosophy and teachings. Venerable Yifa is a Buddhist nun belonging to the Fo Guang Shan order, which seeks to make Buddhist practice relevant to contemporary life. She has succeeded very well in this task. Her words are upbeat, thought provoking and very clear. Her explanation of the practice and benefits of meditation is one of the most memorable I have read.

I would highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading more of Venerable Yifa’s writing. ( )
  streamsong | May 16, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed this book, it covered Buddhist principles in a practical way, and the cheerful, easy-going style of the author was a pleasant change from some of the more didactic Buddhist books I've read.

She discusses various ways we allow "junk" into our lives, from the foods we eat to the people we choose to associate with, to the thoughts that poison our behavior. And after pointing out how all of us have junk, she offers advice on how to lessen its effect in our lives, and how by combining meditation and mindfulness, we can ultimately eliminate it and live truly authentic lives.

One uplifting thing about reading the book for me, was I found out I'm not too far off track, I do have things I still need to work on, but compared to some of the examples in the book, I seem to be on the right track to eliminating the junk from my life. Sometimes books on Buddhism can seem overwhelming in the requirements of practice, but this book made me realize that even small, easy to manage changes can, over a lifetime, have a major impact on our happiness and connection to others. So, I recommend this book to everyone, even those not normally interested in Buddhism, as it is practical, non-preachy advice on how to live a happier, more authentic life. ( )
1 vote nonobadkitty | May 1, 2008 |
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Do you find yourself overwhelmed by junk? Is your house full of stuff you don't know what to do with? Do you eat too much unhealthy food? Are you involved in destructive relationships? Do you find yourself surrounded by trivialities or engaged in meaningless conversation? Do you feel there's little of value in your life?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then you need to read Authenticity. Clearly and compassionately, Ven. Yifa explores junk in all its ramifications: junk food, junk stuff, junk relationships, junk communication, and junk thoughts and feelings. She shows how our obsession with materialism, convenience, and the fast-paced nature of our society is diminishing our ability to connect wholeheartedly with others and making it harder for us to lead authentic lives. Through consciously separating out what is junk from what is genuine, she says, and through practicing right-mindedness, we can gain equanimity, clarity of purpose, true friendship, and the ultimate realization of our Buddha-nature.
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