Book Review: In Love with the World by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Monday, May 27, 2019

Title: In Love with the World: What a Buddhist Monk Can Teach You About Living from Nearly Dying
Author: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche with Helen Tworkov
Publication Date: 14th May 2019

Synopsis: "From the bestselling author of The Joy of Living comes a compelling brand new memoir filled with practical advice on coping with change and gaining enlightenment.

The Buddhist master brings together ancient wisdom learned throughout his life and on his four-year wandering retreat, with innovative meditation techniques for a more enlightened and happier life.

Moving, beautiful and suffused with local colour, In Love with the World is the story of two different kinds of death: that of the body and that of the ego, and how we can bridge these two experiences to live a better and more fulfilling life. Rinpoche's skilful and intimate account of his search for the self is a demonstration of how we can transform our dread of dying into joyful living."

My thoughts: How do I describe my experience of reading this? I'm finding it quite hard now I've sat down to do it. The book is next to me, and I have a cup of tea nearby - the scent is quite lovely and I am looking forward to drinking it as soon as it has cooled enough for me to drink. Perhaps we can start there, with awareness.

I'm not sure how he managed it, but when I was reading Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche's writing, I felt a lot like I do when I meditate. Not at the start when I'm reminding myself to just observe my thoughts, but later, when things have begun to settle a little bit. Rinpoche talking about his own experiences on his wandering retreat brought me to a place of complete calm and awareness. I felt able to truly understand what he was talking about, and I felt more capable of applying certain awareness/meditation techniques to my own life.

I also really enjoyed being able to read about Rinpoche's own experiences of ego death, as he realised how much he had come to rely upon his title as a teacher, an abbot, a tulku... By reading about him having to separate himself from these labels and not hold so tightly to them, it made me realise that everyone holds onto something for a while, some grasp their titles with both hands in such a tight grip that it's as if they're throttling the very life out of them, whilst others hold more loosely. I find this sort of thing fascinating, and it also makes me think about what labels I hold onto tightly, and whether I can separate myself from them.

Reading about Rinpoche's experience of death, and then a return to life of sorts, was absolutely astounding to me. I have read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and I remember some of what I have read - which helped when Rinpoche was discussing bardos - but this was entirely new: being able to read about the process of death from the point of view of someone who had experienced it. I am still blown away by his writing on this topic. I think I will have to revisit it soon.

{I received a review copy of this book from Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!}

A favourite line from the book: 'Millions of people die every year, yet if we, or someone close to us, is diagnosed with a terminal illness, we ask, How did this happen? A question of even greater astonishment is: How do we hold such obvious misperceptions in place? We cannot grasp them with our hands. We cannot tie them down with chains. The mind alone has the power to imprison utterly false claims about who we are.'

You would like this book if: You have some experience with or wish to learn a little more about Tibetan Buddhism and the stages of dying, as well as ego death; you would like to explore different meditation methods through reading a memoir of someone else's meditations and practice.

Tea to drink while reading this book: Rinpoche drinks a strong black tea with milk and sugar on occasion within the book - this would be good if you want to have a similar experience whilst reading!

Rating:  10/10

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