This was a compelling read. I'm not familiar with the teachings of Buddha other than anecdotally, and I found this to be very informative and instructional. It at times is practical - a process for undertaking a meditation, how to get to sleep when one lies awake at night, which ironically I read whilst suffering from jet-lag-induced insomnia - through to what is mostly around the abstractions and theories from Eastern thinking. For the most part, however, it takes the reader on a journey through the concepts and ideas of Buddhist philosophy, western psychology and even on two occasions into the influences of IT on the western mind. One of my favourite passages was the analysis of "Cogito Ergo Sum". Rarely have I found such a compelling critique as is to be found here.
Neil takes the apparently numerous lists of Buddhist writings and provides a helpful navigation for this novice reader. I wouldn't doubt that there is a lot in this book for experienced practitioners of Buddhist thinking also.
The book presents an underlying thesis that eastern thinking is influencing western thought, through coherent and credible argument. The conclusion is well worth waiting for, and I won't spoil it.
A cracking read - and beautifully written, to boot.
by David King
Even though I buy many books via Amazon I rarely write a review. After reading Neil's book I felt compelled to do so.
This is a wonderfully written book. It is easy to read without being patronising and has sufficient depth to provide a new learning on almost every page.
It explains concepts and how to apply them in the move to a more mindful awareness of our experiences and our existence in a larger schema. It is a great companion on your own journey to enlightenment.
It is one of those books which you will not only enjoy reading but also dip in to again and again for many years. I sincerely recommend this book !!!
by Dr Roy Woodhead
Like a Haynes Manual for your mind... Informative, insightful, and inspirational
I thoroughly recommend A View from a Lake. It is a fascinating analysis of some of the many teachings of the Buddha (with some of his many lists!) and their relevance to modern life. The book also delivers a wealth of practical help with the "How?" of meditation and also, compellingly, the "Why?".
An appreciation of the teachings of the Buddha is encouraged through the use of a few “mind-exercises”. Through these the author skilfully gives even the uninitiated (me included), the ability to see some of the Buddha’s psychology at work for yourself, indeed, inside yourself. It’s a fascinating read and thankfully (for me) one not needlessly distracted from by any religious dogma.
The voice of the thinking brain is shown to be an overactive, controlling and deceitful guest in our heads and one which distracts us from our supposed pursuit of happiness. Worse still, it is frequently the cause of much of our discontent and misery. Although terrifically powerful at thinking it just doesn’t know when to stop and resists doggedly attempts to quieten it.
So far so good. This presumably is what earned the book its classification as a “self-help” book. But A View from a Lake is much much more than that.
Quoting from a broad spectrum of recent research the author goes on to make a compelling case for the enduring relevance of the Buddha’s insights into the human mind. Citing the development of cognitive psychology, modern research into the idea of self, todays treatment of mental health problems, & an analysis of the evolution of language & thought. He shows how the “Eastern” ideas of two and a half millennia ago are gaining a foot-hold in contemporary “Western” models of mind. Finally it is all brought smack up to date with an assessment of how our use of technology may affect the future evolution of our species (or prevent it completely!).
A View from a Lake is engagingly written and charmingly frank. The author presents complex ideas in an enjoyable, sincere, and surprisingly humorous style. If you are at all inquisitive at all about the uniqueness of the human condition and the role of consciousness in it you will find much to satisfy you in this beautifully written book.
by Chris C
Dr Neil Hayes has a First Class Honours degree, and a doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Oxford. He won an academic prize and a post-doctoral scholarship for his work in the field of unconscious learning, and it was at this time that his fascination with the Buddha’s teachings began. He left an academic career to pursue work in industry, and is now a thought leader in large scale computer systems.
He has been an active meditator for most of the last three decades, and has meditated with monks and other practitioners in multiple Buddhist traditions. He is a double cancer survivor, and has therefore benefited from sufficient suffering to be able to road test the mind training techniques he advocates. He writes clearly and confidently, and explains complex matters in a pragmatic and often humorous way. He is extremely enthusiastic about his first book A View From A Lake: Buddha, Mind and Future, and humanity’s potential to transform itself.