I suppose I was flattered to be asked to review a DVD of Deepak Chopra. I thought maybe I could give the DVD to the agency I work for, they do have a chaplain and spiritual groups. Most of the clients are Christian, but I believe in learning about all the wisdom of the world.
Prior to this DVD, I listened to one of his tapes, from the library, on energy. His suggestion, if I remember correctly, was to rest more, to get more energy. I like going the opposite way sometimes, I liked his advice.
Shambhala Sun reviews Chopra's book on the Buddha says, "Buddhist will turn up their noses at Buddha for it's loose interpretation of scripture adn it's new-age dilution of Buddhist philosophy." He has posted The Huffington Post about the Buddha.
In the Wikipedia entry on Deepak Chopra, I learned he was a very successful western medical doctor and teacher before he turned to the spiritual world.
For me, Buddhism is the path. There is similarity with Hinduism, which is what I believe Chopra's tradition is, as he references the Vedas. Hindism itself is very diverse. Chopra advocates Transcendental Meditation. In TM you focus on a mantra that is your object of concentration. I do mindfulness of breathing and metta bahavana.
I sometimes find spiritual advice overly simplistic, but I´m also aware of my cynical nature that pooh poohs this kind of stuff. For me the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order finds the right tone for me. I know some people who embrace Hinduism in it´s universal form, or TM, and find benefit. When people find what is right for them, I feel the happiness that I felt at finding the access to the dharma through the FWBO.
I don´t know enough to criticize his use of certain ideas in relationship to Buddhism. It feels a bit wishy washy and vague at times, and sometimes it feels more in harmony with me. I like the idea of being natural, going with the least resistance. It almost makes me think of Bhante´s advice to work as little as you can get away with--advice that runs contrary to the protestant work ethic. I find people judged as not working, elderly adults, children, disabled and unemployed, and therefore as unworthy. There's a lack of generosity in America in my opinion. I get other bloggers challenging me for saying that, like I can't observe something negative about America. I feel like my country has been hijacked by unlike minded people.
I want to be open minded, but I'd say to my FWBO brethren to pass on this DVD. I would encourage seeks to consider this DVD, especially if you haven't really explored world religions, because it does have some interesting language. I found "manifest" a bit funny, but then I heard my friends using that word a lot. I sometimes wonder if these kinds of thing are interesting because they are foreign. It's a matter of extremes—to discount everything foreign or to discount everything native.
Finally I like the spiritual and non-materialistic focus, even though they do have "successful business people" in the DVD. I wish Deepak Chopra well.
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