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spiritual book club

spiritual book club

Spiritual Book Club

Expand your horizons and join us for discussion and meditation.

Book club is wonderful opportunity for self-study, under the guidance of a qualified meditation teacher.
spiritual book club
Sessions are open to those who haven’t read the text but wish to join in the conversation.
spiritual book club
Next meet Saturday 22 June

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spiritual book club

What we read.

At Phoenix we like to read all things relating to spiritual development – yoga, meditation, mindfulness. spiritual book club

The books we choose to study bring more clarity to our everyday lives, and enhance our ability to be compassionate towards ourselves and others.

spiritual book club

Current Book

Start Where You Are

Author: Pema Chödrön

Read the book before attending the session and prepare at least one question.

It’s ok if you just with to be part of the conversation without reading the book.

About This Book

Start Where You Are is an indispensable handbook for cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart, from bestselling author Pema Chödrön. With insight and humour, she presents down-to-earth guidance on how to make friends with ourselves and develop genuine compassion towards others.

This book shows how we can ‘start where we are’ by embracing rather than denying the painful aspects of our lives.

Pema Chödrön frames her teachings on compassion around fifty-nine traditional Tibetan Buddhist maxims, or slogans, such as: ‘Always apply a joyful state of mind’, ‘Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment’ and ‘Be grateful to everyone’.

Working with these slogans and through the practice of meditation, Start Where You Are shows how we can all develop the courage to work with our own inner pain and discover joy, well-being and confidence.

spiritual book club

Previous Books

spiritual book club

Click on a title to read, listen, or watch the discussion and meditation session held at Phoenix.

When Things Fall Apart

spiritual book club ringwood

Author: Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön teaches that there is a fundamental opportunity for happiness right within our reach, yet we usually miss it – ironically, while we are caught up in attempt to escape pain and suffering. This accessible guide to compassionate living shows us how we can use painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion and courage, ways of communication that lead to openness and true intimacy with others, practices for reversing our negative habitual patterns, methods for working with chaotic situations and ways to cultivate compassionate, energetic social action. spiritual book club
spiritual book club

Notes From Session

An Open Heart

spiritual book club ringwood

Author: HH Dalai Lama

In the Dalai Lama’s own words: ‘It is my hope that the reader of this small book will take away a basic understanding of Buddhism and some of the key methods by which Buddhist practitioners have cultivated compassion and wisdom in their lives. The methods discussed have been taken from three sacred texts of Buddhism. I would like to stress at the outset, however, that one doesn’t have to be a Buddhist to make use of these meditation techniques. Meditation is merely the process whereby we gain control over the mind and guide it in a more virtuous direction. Meditation may also be thought of as a technique by which we diminish the force of old thought habits and develop new ones. Yet the techniques themselves do not lead to enlightenment or a compassionate and open heart. That is up to you, and the effort and motivation you bring to your spiritual practice.’
spiritual book club

Notes from Session

No Mud, No Lotus

spiritual book club

Author: Thich Nhat Hanh

The secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not to run away from it. In No Mud, No Lotus, Thich Nhat Hanh offers practices and inspiration transforming suffering and finding true joy. Thich Nhat Hanh acknowledges that because suffering can feel so bad, we try to run away from it or cover it up by consuming. We find something to eat or turn on the television. But unless we’re able to face our suffering, we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us. Nhat Hanh shares how the practices of stopping, mindful breathing, and deep concentration can generate the energy of mindfulness within our daily lives. With that energy, we can embrace pain and calm it down, instantly bringing a measure of freedom and a clearer mind. No Mud, No Lotus introduces ways to be in touch with suffering without being overwhelmed by it.
spiritual book club

Notes from Session

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Author: Chögyam Trungpa

This modern spiritual classic highlights a trick we play on ourselves and offers a brighter reality: liberation by letting go of the self rather than working to improve it The Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa calls attention to the commonest pitfall to which every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. “The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use,” he says, “even spirituality.” The universal tendency is to see spirituality as a process of self-improvement–the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. Trungpa’s incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from these false comforts.
spiritual book club

Notes from Session

The Dalai Lama's Cat

spiritual book club ringwood

Author: David Michie

Not so much fly-on-the-wall as cat-on-the-sill, this is the warm-hearted tale of a small kitten rescued from the slums of New Delhi who finds herself in a beautiful sanctuary with sweeping views of the snow-capped Himalayas. In her exotic new home, the Dalai Lama’s cat encounters Hollywood stars, Buddhist masters, Ivy-league professors, famous philanthropists, and a host of other people who come visiting His Holiness. Each encounter offers a fresh insight into finding happiness and meaning in the midst of a life of busy-ness and challenge. Drawing us into her world with her adorable but all-too-flawed personality, the Dalai Lama’s cat discovers how instead of trying to change the world, changing the way we experience the world is the key to true contentment.
spiritual book club

Notes from Session

The Places That Scare You

spiritual book club ringwood

Author: Pema Chödrön

One of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of our time offers simple, practical advice for living with less fear, less anxiety and a more open heart.

We always have a choice, Pema Chödrön teaches: we can either let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kind.

Play Video

Zoom Session 1hr 53mins

Spontaneous Creativity

spiritual book club ringwood

Author: Tenzin Wangyal

When we discuss creativity, it is often from an “I”, egocentric perspective. I and I alone have this unique gift. I and I alone must suffer for the art of it. I and I alone am destined to carry the burden of this genius.

But what if we considered creativity from the perspective of being in service to and for the benefit of others? What if we connected to the Source with the goal of fully sharing our infinite creativity with the world beyond? What if we fully experienced our authentic presence, let go of our ego, and ignited our sacred fire of creativity? spiritual book club

How To See Yourself As You Really Are

spiritual book club ringwood

Author: HH Dalai Lama

How to See Yourself As You Really Are is based on a fundamental Buddhist belief that love and insight work together to bring about enlightenment, like two wings of a bird. It provides a new perspective on the psychological problems of hurting ourselves through misguided, exaggerated notions of self, others, events and physical things. It shows how even our senses deceive us, drawing us into unwise attachments and negative actions that can only come back to haunt us in the future.
spiritual book club

The Art Of Purring

Author: David Mitchie

What makes you purr? Of all the questions in the world, this is the most important. It is also the great leveler. Because no matter whether you are a playful kitten or a sedentary senior, a scrawny alley Tom or a sleek-coated uptown girl, whatever your circumstances, you just want to be happy. Not the kind of happy that comes and goes like a can of flaked tuna but an enduring happiness. The deep-down happiness that makes you purr from the heart. spiritual book club
spiritual book club

The Miracle Of Mindfulness

spiritual book club ringwood

Author: Thich Nhat Hanh

In this beautifully written book, Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh explains how to acquire the skills of mindfulness. Once we have these skills, we can slow our lives down and discover how to live in the moment – even simple acts like washing the dishes or drinking a cup of tea may be transformed into acts of meditation.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s gentle anecdotes and practical exercises help us to arrive at greater self-understanding and peacefulness, whether we are beginners or advanced students. Irrespective of our particular religious beliefs, we can begin to reap the immense benefits that meditation has been scientifically proven to offer. We can all learn how to be mindful and experience the miracle of mindfulness for ourselves.
spiritual book club

Play Video

Zoom Session 2hr 17mins

The Wisdom Of No Escape

spiritual book club

Author: Pema Chödrön

In The Wisdom of No Escape, bestselling author Pema Chödrön shows us the profound value of our situation of ‘no exit’ from the ups and downs of life.

This book is about saying yes to life in all its manifestations – about making friends with ourselves and our world and embracing the potent mixture of joy, suffering, brilliance, and confusion that characterises the human experience.
spiritual book club
It urges us to wake up wholeheartedly to everything and to use the abundant, richly textured fabric of everyday life as our primary spiritual teacher and guide.
spiritual book club

A Fearless Heart

spiritual Book Club

Author: Thupten Jinpa

Self-compassion is the overlooked key to achieving our goals. It can lead to increased happiness, stress reduction, a stronger sense of purpose, better health and a longer life. Yet many of us resist compassion, worrying that if we are too compassionate with others we will be taken advantage of and if we are too compassionate with ourselves we won’t achieve our goals in life.

Using the latest science, psychology (from contemporary Western and classical Buddhist sources) as well as stories from others and his own extraordinary life, Jinpa shows us how to train our compassion muscle. His powerful programme, derived from his remarkable course in Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT), is the perfect guide to achieving a greater sense of wellbeing.

spiritual book club

When The Chocolate Runs out

spiritual Book Club

Author: Lama Yeshe

To know Lama Yeshe was to know he loved chocolate; it was his favourite metaphor to describe the nature of our attachments.

This funny and trenchant little volume answers the question of how we can be happy even after the “chocolate” has run out. By cutting the cords of attachment, we discover the indestructible happiness that has always been–and always will be–available to us.

Capturing the remarkable personality of Lama Yeshe, who played an integral role in introducing Tibetan Buddhism to the western world, When the Chocolate Runs Out will delight both readers who knew Lama Yeshe for decades and those who have never encountered this timelessly inspiring teacher.

Introduction to Emptiness

spiritual book club

Author: Guy Newland
spiritual book club
Readers are hard-pressed to find books that can help them understand the central concept in Mahayana Buddhism – the idea that ultimate reality is emptiness. In clear language, Introduction to Emptiness explains that emptiness is not a mystical sort of nothingness, but a specific truth that can and must be understood through calm and careful reflection.
spiritual book club
Newland’s contemporary examples and vivid anecdotes will help readers understand this core concept as presented in one of the great classic texts of the Tibetan tradition, Tsong-khapa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment. This new edition includes quintessential points for each chapter.

The Power of Meow

spiritual book club

Author: David Michie
spiritual book clu

In the latest installment of the Dalai Lama’s Cat series, His Holiness’s Cat (‘HHC’) is on a mission: to think less, to experience more, to live in the moment. She soon learns the proper phrase for this, being mindful, or, a concept better known to her as the power of meow. What ensues is a journey to discover her own true nature, to gain a deeper understanding of her mind, and to experience life’s greatest joy, the here and now.

Throughout, she shares encounters with familiar inhabitants of Dharamsala, as well as a whole new cast of characters: a senior exec from one of Silicon Valley’s most famous social media companies (hint: the name rhymes with ‘litter’), the Pope’s beloved dog (who shares a shockingly similar title: HHD, His Holiness’s Dog), and a public health inspector who threatens to have our poor narrator banned from the Himalaya Book Cafe.

In this follow-up to The Dalai Lama’s Cat and the Art of Purring, readers escape to the enchanting and exotic world of the Dalai Lama’s monastery in the Himalayas, and take a peek inside the mind of a delightfully imperfect creature on the path to enlightenment. By accompanying HHC on her journey, you will learn new ways to relate to your own mind: slowing down, finding peace, and abiding in the boundless radiance and benevolence that is your own true nature.

The Nectar of Bodhicitta

Author: Lama Zopa Rinpoche
spiritual book clu

About This Book

This book presents Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s teachings on bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment, based on verses from two inspiring bodhicitta texts, The Jewel Lamp: A Praise of Bodhicitta, by Khunu Lama Rinpoche, and A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, by Shantideva.

In Part One, Lama Zopa Rinpoche teaches on selected verses from Khunu Lama Rinpoche’s Jewel Lamp, now published as Vast as the Heavens, Deep as the Sea. Lama Zopa Rinpoche advises, “Understanding and constantly reminding ourselves of the skies of benefits that bodhicitta brings is unbelievably worthwhile. This is the overall purpose of Khunu Lama Rinpoche’s book, to cause us to feel inspired and joyful that such a mind is possible.”

In Part Two, Rinpoche teaches on verses from the first chapter of Shantideva’s Guide. These verses describe the amazing benefits of developing the precious mind of bodhicitta, the supreme cause of happiness for all sentient beings.

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No Death, No Fear

Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
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About This Book

Thich Nhat Hanh says: ‘Our biggest fear is that we will become nothing when we die. If we think that we cease to exist when we die, we have not looked very deeply at ourselves.’

With his usual blend of stories, exquisite analogies and guided meditations, Thich Nhat Hanh takes the reader through the same examination of death, fear and the nature of existence that Buddhist monks and nuns have been performing in their meditations for 2500 years.

The understanding of no death comes from exploding the myth of how we think we exist. Knowing how we actually exist produces the state of no fear. This is a new subject for Thich Nhat Hanh and many people will turn to him for his help with fear and death, just as they did for his help with anger.

The Art of Happiness

Author: HH Dalai Lama
spiritual book clu

About This Book

A Tibetan spiritual leader’s guide to dealing with everyday human problems and achieving happiness. It addresses issues such as: the sources of happiness; desire and greed; marriage and romance; resolving conflict; facing our suffering; overcoming anxiety; anger and hatred; and finding balance.

In this unique and important book, one of the world’s great spiritual leaders offers his practical wisdom and advice on how we can overcome everyday human problems and achieve lasting happiness.

The Art of Happiness is a highly accessible guide for a western audience, combining the Dalai Lama’s eastern spiritual tradition with Dr. Howard C. Cutler’s western perspective. Covering all key areas of human experience, they apply the principles of Tibetan Buddhism to everyday problems and reveal how one can find balance and complete mental and spiritual freedom.

For the many who wish to understand more about the Dalai Lama’s approach to living, there has never been a book that brings his beliefs so vividly into the real world.

Your Book Club Guide

Sanjay began reading and studying spiritual texts in 1996. He has completed many retreats and practice commitments from his teachers at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. He is the director at Phoenix Yoga Studios and lead meditation facilitator.

More About Sanjay

Details

Next Meet Saturday 22 June

Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm (end book session) – 4:30pm (end afternoon tea)

Bring vegetarian/vegan food to share for afternoon tea.

It’s ok if you just with to be part of the conversation without reading the book. You can stay just for the talk and leave before afternoon tea.

Attend at the studio:

Non-Member
$30
Member
$25

Attend online:

Non-Member
$30
Member
$25

spiritual book club

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03 8838 2586 hello@phoenixyogastudios.com.au Address: 1 Ringwood Street Ringwood VIC