The Five Pillars of Transformation By Aloka David Smith

this book specially written for the dharmamind group covers five vital principles that need to be addressed by those dharma practitioners interested in practicing the immanent model – often referred to as the “practice of no practice” – of chan or zen of mahayana buddhism. the principles are: familiarity with meditation, taming restlessness, living in the body, containing the emotions and recognising your true nature. these five principles for training are teachings from recordings made during a retreat in scotland, and convey the importance of becoming aware of habitual attachments to the self and ego, and the need to let them go so as to awaken to our own innate true nature, and realise the joy and freedom from suffering.

I was born in Oxford, England, in 1946, and I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for nearly 40 years. I began training with Zen, practicing with the Venerable Myokyo-ni, a teacher from the Rinzai school, at the Buddhist Society in London. This was my practice for more than five years, before travelling to Sri Lanka in 1980. Here I lived for three years as a Theravada monk under the guidance of the Venerable Dhammaloka Maha Thera. It was while I was in Sri Lanka that my spiritual breakthrough took place in 1981, and it is this that forms the framework of my first book, A Record of Awakening, published in 1999.

On my return from Sri Lanka I matured my practiced by essentially living on my own for a number of years in east London. At the time of my breakthrough in Sri Lanka my teacher told me I should travel and begin to teach, but it was to be around 20 years before I took that role by leading

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Āloka David Smith ‘The Awakened Mind Is Born’

Published on Apr 15, 2014

Āloka David Smith ‘The Awakened Mind Is Born’ Interview by Iain McNay
Practicing Buddhist for 40 years who began training with Zen, practicing with the Venerable Myokyo-ni, at the Buddhist Society in London for 5 years. He then travelled to Sri Lanka in 1980 where he lived for three years as a Theravada monk. While there his spiritual breakthrough took place and it is that, that formed the framework of his first book, ‘A Record of Awakening.’ He then returned to London and matured by living on his own for a number of years. He has written 4 further books, ‘Dharma Mind Worldly Mind;’ ‘A Question of Dharma;’ ‘The Five Pillars of Transformation’ and ‘Blue Sky, White Cloud.’

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Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth and Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan by Alanna Kaivalya


In yoga practice, mantra and kirtan (call-and-response devotional chanting) get short shrift in the West because they aren’t well understood, though they are an integral part of almost every Eastern spiritual practice. They are designed to provide access into the psyche while their underlying mythology helps us understand how our psychology affects daily life. Sacred Sound shares the myths behind the mantras and kirtans, illuminating their meaning and putting their power and practicality within reach of every reader.

Each of the twenty-one mantras and kirtans presented includes the Sanskrit version, the transliteration, the translation, suggestions for chanting, the underlying myth, and its modern-day implications. Based on Alanna Kaivalya’s years of teaching and studying the myths and sacred texts, this book offers a way into one of the most life-changing aspects of yoga practice.

Alanna Kaivalya, coauthor of Myths of the Asanas, is the founder of The Kaivalya Yoga Method and an internationally known teacher, author, and mythologist. In 2008 Yoga Journal recognized Alanna as one of the Top 21 Teachers Under 40. She travels the world teaching at conferences, workshops, and teacher trainings in The Kaivalya Yoga Method. She lives in New York City.

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Alanna Kaivalya talks about SACRED SOUND

Published on Apr 1, 2014
Celebrated yoga teacher Alanna Kaivalya talks about her book SACRED SOUND: Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra & Kirtan.

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