HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Living in Blue Sky Mind: Basic Buddhist Teachings for a Happy Life

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12101,327,879 (3.88)2
We live with minds as open and spacious as the deep blue sky. Living in Blue Sky Mind presents basic Buddhist teachings that keep us on the wholesome path of self-realization toward a happy life.Zen priest and teacher Richard Diedrichs offers simple lessons, anecdotes of personal transformation, and reflective questions to guide us along Buddha's enlightened way, such as -- "Buddha advised that we not speak with malice if we want to create connection and happiness around us;" -- "We learn that to be happy, we need to end our suffering and the suffering of those around us;" and -- "We are fortunate to have a way to be happy with what we have and with who we are."… (more)
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What a great rule book to live by. You can't argue with much of the teachings of Buddha. The author, Richard Gentei Diedrichs summarizes dharma, the teachings of Buddha, by writing short essays to illustrate the lessons. Each chapter ends with questions for the reader to consider or reflect upon to assist in digesting that particular chapter. Very simple, easy read to make the world a better place if you put these thoughts into actions.
  FamilyResourceCenter | Nov 15, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When I asked for this book as an early reviewer, I thought it was an introductory text for beginners. While I am not a beginner to Zen I am also by no means an experienced practitioner.

Much like one of the previous reviewers, I was a bit disconcerted by the fact that the material for the book came from dharma talks geared towards children, I feared that it would speak down to the readers. But as Buddhist mindset of approaching Buddhism with a beginner's mind a child's mind teaches us, it may be very fruitful for all of us if we did indeed take that admonition.

I found that this book was quite delightful and effective in transferring the depth of knowledge from an experienced practitioner to a relative beginner. In fact, I think this is the best way to do so rather than treating the subject in an overly complicated way.

I found the text very enlightening and educational in my path towards gaining appreciation and knowledge about Zen Buddhism. ( )
  pw0327 | Oct 22, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Suzuki Roshi wrote a book titled "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind." It is the mindset each Zen student has each time we bow to our cushion. We are all beginners each time we sit in meditation.

This slim and simple book is based on a series of children's Dharma talks. But there is much depth here. Each chapter covers a different aspect of Buddhist teaching. I have been a student of Zen for over a decade, leaning under the guidance of a Korean Master. I read much more on Buddhism than my Master would like. Zen is a mind to mind transmission - beyond words. This book was a good reminder of the root teachings. It would prove a good volume to gift to someone interested in learning more about Buddhism. It would be valuable to someone who likes to journal, as each chapter ends with several points for further reflection or writing. ( )
  AzureMountain | Jul 22, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A note about these newly posted non-link reviews.

This was another LibraryThing.com “Early Reviewers” selection that the “Almighty Algorithm” matched up with my collection over there. At first I was sharing some of the other reviewers' consternation that this book originated out of a children's program at a Hawaiian Zen temple, “based on {the author's} experience as a Zen priest and an elementary school teacher”, a data point not suggested at all in its descriptive paragraph in the LTER listings. However, if one takes a step back from that genesis, one is faced with a really very good “introductory” book about Buddhism (albeit primarily from a Zen perspective).

Richard Gentei Diedrichs' Living in Blue Sky Mind: Basic Buddhist Teachings for a Happy Life covers a lot of ground, with over 80 chapters (each illustrating one particular point from the Buddhist perspective) in its brief 162 pages. Each chapter is 1-2 pages of text, followed by a “Reflecting” section featuring 1-5 questions for the reader to contemplate regarding the material in that chapter (ranging from the very basic like “How does being good help us and everyone around us?”, to the technical as in “What is a mental formation”, to the more obscure such as “What did Chogyam Trungpa mean when he called Sangha 'clean friendship'?”).

Obviously, nothing here is considered in depth, but I was very pleased to find what it lacked there, it made up in breadth, as the book is a quite attractive (and certainly accessible) over-view on Buddhism (although, with its Zen grounding, a Theravada practitioner might not be as enthusiastic about it). I have been reading Buddhist books for decades (part of me wishes I had been practicing all that while, but no), and this is, I think, one of the best introductory pieces that I've seen.

If I had one gripe here, personally, it would be that I would have liked to have seen more structure, even to the point of pedagogical presentation of the material. The sections of this are, however, fairly evidently crafted to appeal to an audience of children, so the text is light-handed in doling out the information, such as this paragraph at the start of the chapter (“How to Solve the Problem”) which introduces the concept of “the Middle Way”:

      If we know that craving causes us so much trouble and sadness, as Buddha indicated, we might also know that we are happy when we stop craving. If we understand how life works, we also are happy.

There are also, notably, eleven indexes and a glossary. I would have liked to have had more of this material interspersed in the book itself, but the component elements of these are the main subjects of most of the “chapters”, so I guess it would have created a situation of the author “getting ahead of himself” repeatedly through the book … but these are as short as six words (and that's including the heading). I suppose listing these out here will give you a good sense of what's in the book (although it doesn't march through these in order): “Eightfold Path”, “The Four Noble Truths”, “The Six Virtues/Perfections/Paramitas”, “The Four Wisdoms / Methods of Guidance”, “The Three Refuges / Three Treasures / Three Jewels / Triple Gem” (quite a heading for a 3-word appendix!), “The Four Sublime Attitudes/Immeasurables or Brahma Viharas”, “The Seven Factors of Enlightenment”, “The Three Poisons”, “The Five Strengths”, “The Four Bodhisattva Vows”, and “The Three Marks of Excellence”. The Glossary, while only covering three dozen terms, included a handful that I wasn't familiar with (such as Piti: joy, rapture, happiness” – go ahead, say it like Mr.T), which either indicates the author was delving into a particularly technical level of Zen in his word choice, or that I had somehow managed to not have encountered (or, possibly, remembered) these from previous reading.

Diedrichs uses his background and childhood for a lot of the illustrative bits here, be it when he stole something, lied about something, failed at something, etc. Here's a paragraph from the chapter discussing the “Right Speech” aspect of The Eightfold Path:

      Besides never lying or trying to never lie, we also do not talk trash. We try to talk kindly to people. I watched a video of my brother and me playing baseball when we were kids. I was probably twelve, and he was nine. I hit the ball and ran towards the base where he was standing. The sun shone in his face, and he laughed. I saw my mouth move as I ran up, and I said something to him. Suddenly, his face darkened, and his expression turned to a mean scowl. He said something angry back at me. My heart broke when I watched that. I was so nasty to him. These hurtful actions sill bring me suffering as Buddha said they would.

I think this illuminates the dual level of the book … while this is certainly targeted to being something that children can relate to, it also has a payload of reflective material for the adults reading it. That's what makes this as useful as it is – not only does it cover nearly all the “main points” of Buddhist teaching, making it informative to nearly everybody (and, as I mentioned, it includes stuff that I'd not recalled seeing in dozens of Buddhist books), but presenting it in a form that anybody can connect with.

In the chapter introducing the “Three Poisons” (greed, anger, and ignorance, although the particular chapter here is mainly about greed), one of the “Reflecting” questions is “Where does your happiness come from?”, which points the reader back to this bit:

      We understand the truth about life, and we realize that our happiness, sense of well-being and worth, and our joy come from inside our own hearts and minds. No one can give them to us. No one can take them away from us. Our own hearts and minds are the most joyful and happy when we are loving, kind, caring, peaceful, and giving.

Again, the message is applicable to anybody, but how great would it be if more kids got those messages when they were kids? Similarly, introducing children to these concepts (in the chapter discussing “impermanence”, or annica, the “Buddha's First Mark of Existence”) early on would be awesome:

      I said that you should not believe anything I or anybody else says until you have explored it for yourself. You must make every truth you own. Take a look at the truth of impermanence. See if anybody or anything in your life stays around forever, without ever changing. Buddhists call this fact the true nature of reality.

A few chapters later he adds:

      Buddha observed that our thoughts, a Fourth Mark of Existence, become words. Our words become actions. Our actions become habits. Our habits harden into character. ...

He then leads into a consideration of attachment to mental formations with:

      A thought appears in a flash. It disappears just as quickly and completely. A thought cleanly completes its cycle unless we attach to it. … Once we grab a thought and hold on, like clutching the mane of a bucking stallion, confusion, contortion, and regret ensue. Caught in a stream of consciousness, we manufacture more thoughts. We form our captured thoughts into ideas, beliefs, opinions, and personal philosophies. We believe these fabricated formations of thought. They become our identity, which we take as our past and our life story. ...

Admittedly, this is pretty “deep stuff” for the kids … which serves as an additional example of how the book speaks to both children and adults. As mentioned above, Living in Blue Sky Mind is only 162 pages (and “really” is considerably shorter than that, as there's a lot of white space involved in those 80 chapter breaks), so it's a quick read … and possibly reasonably appealing to older kids. However, I don't think this is something you'd just hand to a 10-year-old to read, but could well be used to have “weekly Zen sessions” when you read one chapter with your kid and then discuss the “Reflecting” questions. Alternately, this is something that could be a quick, easy, and uniquely informative “first contact” for those unexposed to Buddhist thought … I would certainly contemplate suggesting this to anybody in that state.

As one would expect from an LTER selection, this has just been released (it came out this April), so it is likely to be available via your local bookstore, but the on-line big boys have it at about a third off of cover price, putting it, very affordably, under ten bucks. This, while coming from a “kids book” place, is hardly a book that should be limited to that audience, and I'd have to say this comes in as one of my “all and sundry” recommendations, as I think anybody would benefit from the very direct approach to a wide range of Buddhist thought that's presented here.

CMP.Ly/1

A link to my "real" review:
BTRIPP's review of Richard Gentei Diedrichs' "Living in Blue Sky Mind: Basic Buddhist Teachings for a Happy Life" (1553 words)


  BTRIPP | Jul 6, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Buddhism is basic, simple, distilled, but it is complex and deeply enriching. So is this book.

I understand complaints that it is a basic primer, doesn't go onto depth, and adds little new to the understanding of someone well versed in Buddhist principles and practices. It is easy to read, fast to get through, and seems superficial.

To those people, I would ask, doesn't all of Buddhism strike you as simplistic and superficial on first glance? Isn't it about exploring your understandings that lead to all depth? Do you expect a book on Buddhism to go deeper than this, spoon feed you enlightenment? Good luck finding one.

My only complaint is that it wasn't longer, set up as a daily meditation guide. ( )
  HippieLunatic | Jul 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

We live with minds as open and spacious as the deep blue sky. Living in Blue Sky Mind presents basic Buddhist teachings that keep us on the wholesome path of self-realization toward a happy life.Zen priest and teacher Richard Diedrichs offers simple lessons, anecdotes of personal transformation, and reflective questions to guide us along Buddha's enlightened way, such as -- "Buddha advised that we not speak with malice if we want to create connection and happiness around us;" -- "We learn that to be happy, we need to end our suffering and the suffering of those around us;" and -- "We are fortunate to have a way to be happy with what we have and with who we are."

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

's book Living in Blue Sky Mind: Basic Buddhist Teachings for a Happy Life was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.88)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 1
3.5
4 4
4.5
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 162,269,405 books! | Top bar: Always visible