Book Report: A Fearless Heart

Sokyo offers a book report on A Fearless Heart by Thupten Jinpa:

I highly recommend this book because it is multi-faceted. The author, Thupten Jinpa,  has a background in Classical Tibetan Buddhism and has established himself in a cross-cultural position. He cites many scientific studies and research on the brain and exercises around demonstrating compassion. He includes a thread of his personal journey, which is also interesting, as he served the Dalai Lama for three decades.

The book is deeply grounded in Buddhism, but is interwoven with an emphasis on psychotherapy.  For that reason, it is an excellent book for those who are not Buddhist.

Jinpa established the CCT – Compassion Cultivation Training – at Stanford University. He makes use of the personal insights of some of the students in his training programs and includes 15 guided exercises that are instrumental in opening up the heart, which he sees as the process of developing our “compassion muscle”.

Jinpa observes qualities in people, such as our individualistic and competitive nature, as part of our Western society. His initial premise is that the human condition has a basic empathetic nature, and that compassion isn’t always accessible because of the habitual patterns that we have created to protect ourselves from the drama of living our lives. He argues that unless we change our habits and make compassion an active force, it will only be something that happens to us.  If we leave it at that, we fail to tap into the transformative power of compassion.

This book report is offered by Sokyo and the Daoren Circle, which maintains the DRZC Library. For questions, contact Kengan. The library is located in Uji East and contains a variety of Zen Buddhist and other material. Members may check out books for up to 30 days, and any sangha member may use the library to browse and study. The library is open and staffed on the 3rd Sunday of the month after Dharma Talk. It is also open but unstaffed during DRZC office hours (please call ahead to ensure someone will be there to let you in). 

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