Book Reviews

The following article is from the Autumn, 1991 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

OPEN HEART, CLEAR MIND
by Thubten Chodron

Snow Lion Publications $9.95
Reprinted from Yoga Journal, JulyAugust 1991

As the Dalai Lama says in his foreword, this book conveys a clear understanding of Buddhism as it has been practiced by Tibetans, in easily comprehensible language. Written by an American Buddhist nun, it a primer of basic Buddhismworking with emotions, the cycle of existence, Buddha nature, the path to enlightenment, meditation and compassion. It also briefly recounts the story of the Buddha and the history of Buddhism. As the author says in her introduction, The Buddha talked about our lives and our minds. So this book isn't about abstract philosophy, it's about experienceour experience and the way to improve it. Written in contemporary Western idiom, this user-friendly book is recommended for anyone who wants a taste of this time-honored path.

STUDIES IN TIBETAN MEDICINE
by Elizabeth Finckh

Snow Lion Publications $9.95

Reprinted from The American Herb Association Newsletter, Vol. 7:3, 1990

Herbal medicine's relatively recent renaissance brings with it both good news and bad. The good news is that people are presumably taking a more active responsibility for their health, questioning pat, mainstream medical answers and opting for a more natural approach. The bad news is that many people don't understand the power of Earth's medicinal plants and are ingesting them without giving them the respect they deserve. The result: side effects that are at best uncomfortable; at worst fatal.

To help counteract this trend, I strongly recommend this book as required reading for any serious herbal medicine practitioner. It promises to be a challenge to read and a real eye-opener. If you can suspend your Western belief structure and appreciate the Tibetan's complex (and seemingly bizarre) understanding of human physiology, you will gain valuable insight on why certain herbs should not be given to certain types of individuals and when and for whom herbal remedies can be most beneficial. Much of this book-especially the chapters on pulsology and pharmacologywill be too difficult to understand completely without guidance, no matter how many times you read it. However, the chapters on Theory and Practice and Constitutional Types will be further illuminated by reading the entire book. Do not attempt to use this book for a crash course in Tibetan holistic therapies; nor should you adopt bits and pieces uncritically from such a medical system for use in your own practice. Rather, use this book to gain a better understanding of a fascinating and valuable philosophy and to reaffirm respect for the powers of and proper place for herbal medicines.

Back to all Snow Lion Articles