Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery (book review)

Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of BraverySmile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery by Chögyam Trungpa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 3h 59m

While I was raised for a long time as a traditional Catholic, my family was Nichiren Buddhists for over five years. I have always found meditation and centering more effective then actual worship so I have kept that part. I am always on the lookout for secular or moderate buddhism practices that I might be able to use.

That is why I picked up this book. I have read some books on Buddhism before, and had positive and negative experiences, a mixed bag so to speak. This book is also a mixed bag.

I was unfamiliar with Chogyam Trungpa or his outlook. It did feel weirdly enough a lot like Alan Watts in certain parts. His path, the Shambhala Path is a good opening for people new to buddhism. I liked a lot of the concepts. Unfortunately about halfway into the book the writing became repetitive to me, and the metaphors and the overall writing lost my interest and isn’t my outlook.

I just can’t get past calling yourself a warrior. I realize it isn’t meant like that necessarily in the path but calling yourself a warrior two billion times (intentional hyperbole) doesn’t fit with my path. It felt like it was trying way too hard. I also suspect I would get more doing the series of weekend programs and longer retreats because it wouldn’t try and fit everything in a five hour audiobook.

Either way, it is a fairly good look at a secular approach to Buddhism. I didn’t get much out of it, and by the middle it became harder to stay interested which is why it got three stars. But it is a quick book and not a bad starting place.

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