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Reviews of some of Robert’s Works
Robert Sachs has written an important book for our time. Freedom and human rights are based on the fundamental idea that a moral sphere within which freedom and liberty can exist must be created and sustained across every generation. It is imperative that we maintain a collective consciousness that nothing has more value to us than to live together in a world which honors freedom. Such a moral sphere requires that we understand the virtues which mold and constitutes a civil society. Our opportunity to live peacefully together in societies always depends on a moral condition. It is important that we strive to choose those alternatives which provide all our citizens the best life possible. This is best assured by following the path of civility.
Robert’s new book; “The Path of Civility” traces both the Eastern and Western cultural ideas which have guided humanity toward love, compassion, peace, and well-being. He reminds us again why civility is essential if human transactions are to bring peace and harmony amid the many vicissitudes we experience in life. He suggests there is indeed a path to civility, and he outlines how we can create such a path for ourselves. He gives us many examples of how we tend to respond for better or worse in our personal life encounters. We intuitively know the distinctions we make in how we analyze our circumstances largely define how others see us.
There is no better example in life than the example of a good man who has an altruistic spirit; a sense that he does not live for himself alone, that he is here to help others, support our country’s highest ideals, and perform his duties with a cooperative frame of mind. After all, these attainments are fundamental to our collective happiness and purpose.
The author suggests that civility, love, and compassion operate in an atmosphere of cooperation; and he provides excellent insights into what these things mean, and how we can use them in our personal, social and civic actions.
This book reminds us what appropriate and inappropriate behavior looks like; and how we may manifest our character around doing things that are right solely because they are the right things to do. Sachs uses the thoughts of the Buddha and the wisdom of Washington to show how we can transform our mind to become more aware of how precious life is; and how we can use the time we have to honor the best that is within us. His commentaries on Washington’s classic rules of civility are superb.
I highly recommend “The Path of Civility” for your instruction, and as a resource you can use in striving to be a man of civility!Robert G. Davis, Author of “Understanding Manhood in America”
“The Ecology of Oneness, offers a compelling model of consciousness and the role it’s playing in the creative evolution for a thriving world… This is so much more than a good read… it’s a portal of truth!”Dr. Darren Weissman, originator of The LifeLine Technique
“I am glad that my friend of many years, Bob Sachs, has again written a book which brings together practical and important steps on the way to the realization of different transcendent cultures. Like much of is former work it exemplifies methods to see clearly and avoid wasting precious time while choosing ones spiritual path…”Lama Ole Nydahl, author of The Way Things Are, and Fearless Death
“The inspirational teachings of Bob Sachs have enhanced our lives. Bob speaks from such a pure and sincere place, with love, gentleness, wisdom, and great humility.”Deva Premal and Miten, singers, songwriters, and renown mantra performers
“In modern countries where materialsm is strong, the concepts and practices of Buddhism can be effective in neutralizing the problems that naturally arise and create much suffering, including conflict and war. My student, Robert Sachs, gas written this book to show what role Buddhism can play in creating lasting political and social change….”Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche
“Here is a memorable story of how spiritual practice transforms our understanding of a traumatic event and, as a result, our reaction to it.”Ram Das, teacher and author of Grist for The Mill and Be Here Now
“…This is a book of options, an honoring of the continuum that few have believed possible. It is a rare tale about the death of a child and the rebirth of the spirit in the hearts of all who were near – and the skillful passing into what is available to us all – our original nature.”Stephen Levine, author of Who Dies and Turning Towards the Mystery
“The Passionate Buddha is a wonderful book on the proper handling of the magnetics of the heart – its irrepressible attraction as well as its unremitting opposition. This is about the great work that only the heart is great enough to handle…”Stephen Levine
“The Passionate Buddha is a must for anyone seeking to practice the profound path of intimate relationship, containing meditations and practical tools for joining deep awareness with passionate intensity.”Tsultrim Allione
“Bob Sachs is himself a passionate Buddha, as well as a longtime Buddhist practitioner and a husband and father, healer and teacher. I have enjoyed his previous books, and find a lot here in this new book that helps us to further sacred relationships by learning to open the spiritual heart, deal with anger and inner conflict, love and accept ourselves and others, and live a more enlightened life…”Lama Surya Das
“Through his attention to detail and a wide inclusion of birth and in circumstances at the time of death of several of his dear ones, Robert Sachs catches and describes the often illogical but deeply human events at the time of dying. Being compassionate, practical, and non-judgmental, and supported by an unusual memory of detail, the moving sequences he depicts are definitely a help in dissolving many taboos about the recycling of our bodies.”Lama Ole Nydahl
“Perfect Endings, with the author’s clear and memorable examples, demystifies the dying process and helps us to remain emotionally engaged with the dying individual. Understanding how to work with the symbols and metaphors of dying is both rich and empowering. Perfect Endings will be a valuable resource for our families, staff, and volunteers.”Donna Kean, LCSW – Director, Hospice of San Luis Obispo, CA
“Tibetan Ayurveda is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to live a life based on the wisdom of Ayurveda. I recommend it highly.”Deepak Chopra, M.D.
“…This book provides an avenue for incorporating Tibetan healing concepts into our daily lives, not just as an intervention against sickness, but as a part of our overall well-being.”Dr. Lobsang Rapgay
The Buddha at War: Peaceful Heart, Courageous Action in Troubled Times…
“Reading The Buddha at War, I hear a bell ringing. It is like the bell that begins and concludes a period of meditation, and it is also the ‘All Clear’ bell that signals it is safe to venture out, the bell that rings the end of war.”Stephen Levine
“Sachs uses Buddhist teachings and ideas and offers practical ways of calming the mind, finding support and gaining a larger perspective of our time.”International Press-Cutting Bureau
“Add this book to the list of Top 20 Books to Give As Gifts This Holiday Season…”Elephant Journal Review
The Age of Enlightenment and The Vision of a More Awake and Civil World
What distinguishes the 1700’s during the “Age of Enlightenment” is perhaps that there was a greater collective of thinkers, East and West, and beyond the enclaves of the parochial religious, where the separation between the sacred and mundane was not so fixed and who believed that it was possible “to create a more perfect union.” Despite the savagery, barbarity, and hubris of our ancestors, even our neighbors, it was possible to actualize and really implement our better instincts, rooted in the love and compassion espoused by those to whom we turned for solace and guidance. This dream was built upon the imperfections of our collective past, an awareness and acknowledgement of the legacy of those who demonstrated civility and nobility of character, with the goal to create that which would elevate and truly express civilization at it’s finest.
Born into this time in history, George Washington – recognized not only as the most exalted “father” of the American nation,” the first President of the United States, but also a man highly regarded by leaders around the globe – was strongly influenced by The Age of Enlightenment. In a time when science and industry was expanding and the ravages of the Middle Ages and continuous war and intrigue amongst factions of Christendom, “free” thinkers were embracing a re-imagining of their faiths, seeing a God that was not only transcendent, but also imminent in all things, including man. Deists, and others like them were no longer looking for absolution from their human tendencies or a mere exoteric adherence to moral and ethical prescriptions in order to be civil and civilized. They saw each and every one of us as playing the essential role in learning ways to understand and transform our own behaviors from within. One example is the movement of Freemasonry, established as a fraternity in 1717 in England, founded on the tenets of brotherly love, relief, and truth, demanding of its members to study that which circumscribed our earthly desires in order to accomplish these noble intents.
In his 1776, historian and author, David McCullough, tells how Washington who, though from landed gentry in Virginia, did not receive the benefit of more than eight years of formal education. Washington, himself, considered this a disadvantage, making him self-conscious in the presence of those whom he considered as more learned or of an elevated status in the society of the time. A man of great stature and bearing – being six foot two inches in a time when the average man was a clear six to ten inches shorter – he was use to hard work and had a practical knowledge of the land, learned the ways of military discipline, distinguished himself in that arena while also becoming a Freemason, himself, at the age of 20. His military career and the moral and ethical lessons and leadership training in Freemasonry would more than compensate for a lack of knowledge in teaching him how to present himself with the dignity and civility he saw so essential to social and personal harmony. We know that these latter points, dignity and civility, were so essential to his training and resulting character from an early age. One of the few examples we have of writings penned by Washington is a little booklet he wrote as a young man, known as “The Rules of Civility.”
As early as the Second Century B.C., traders and adventurers were travelling the Silk Road, which connected the Orient to the Mediterranean. Thus, there would have been an awareness of Buddhism and the cultures that ascribed to its tenets. The famous Marco Polo records his encounters and reflections on the Tibetan masters he met and observed while visiting the Chinese Imperial Court. Thus the teachings of the Buddha would have been known to thinkers, philosophers, and spiritual aspirants of Europe during the Age of Enlightenment in the Eighteenth century. How these teachings, with their emphasis on personal growth, responsibility, enlightenment, and altruistic action to the benefit of others may have influenced this Age of Enlightenment has no doubt been investigated. But, in talking about how to interpret “Perfecting the Lessons of a President by Applying the Wisdom of a Buddha,” I wish to focus on the person and circumstance of the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni, who lived nearly twenty-two centuries earlier.
Sakyamuni, whose birth name was Siddhartha Gautama, had a different background and training. Born to be a king, his education was the finest in its day and he learned the ways of power and leadership that he was presumed to deploy when it was his time. But, after a series of life-changing events and using his own power of reasoning, he concluded that his life’s purpose was not to take on the throne after his father, but rather, pursue a life more focused on spiritual, rather than worldly rewards.
I say “spiritual” rather than “religious” because the teachings he gave and would be known as the dharma (translated: the way things are) flew in the face of the Hindu views and caste system that dominated the Indian subcontinent. Like Western Age of Enlightenment thinkers who saw the ravages of the Middle Ages, the Crusades, and so forth, Siddhartha Gautama knew of the strife, intrigues, and even wars waged in the name of or for religion throughout India. But rather than taking sides, he stepped back and took a more dispassionate approach. His conclusion was that if God and the laws of God are objective truths and people are killing each other over the interpretation given, then the problem is not with God or God’s laws, but rather in the minds of humans who have their own subjective biases as to who God is and what he/she means. Thus, what we need to do is examine how we think, how we come to the conclusions that we do. Thus the dharma of the Buddha is really a mind science much more than it is a religion. And the goal of these teachings by he who would be known as The Buddha Sakyamuni was to transform our worst tendencies to awaken to our inherent goodness and become more peaceful and “civil” to each other. One could argue that the path the Buddha lays out is exemplified in the world as “The Path of Civility.”
The Buddha never cloistered himself or those who followed him away from society. Indeed there were retreats in remote, peaceful areas to support ongoing, intense meditations and contemplations. But, for the most part, many of the communities he formed were close to urban centers, where even the lay person could come to learn to meditate, learn how to calm down, and learn to be a better citizen. But, this did not mean that the spiritual communities or its members around the Buddha were the models of such. Being well educated and savvy to the ways of the world of men, he could see that the religious life had every bit as much political wrangling as the royal court. Thus, he allowed his transcendent eye to bring a focus on social and communal life, be it secular or religious. And, the conversations and recommendations he makes regarding speech, conduct, and actions have stood the test of time. Hence it is that the wisdom shared in teachings known as sutras applies as much to modern secular life as it did to the religious sects and communities of antiquity.
In essence, both Washington and the Buddha shared an understanding of social and communal life and the necessity for Civility to be an important civilizing feature.
Excerpt from Robert Sachs’ upcoming book, The Path of Civility: Perfecting the Lessons of a President by Applying the Wisdom of a Buddha