Due to the recent recession, interest in Ayn Rand's Objectivism is greater than ever, and in the past two decades, interest in Eastern philosophies has reignited in the West. There are also many books on the market that cover Objectivism, such as The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, My Years with Ayn Rand and The Art of Living Consciously, all by Nathaniel Branden.
However, although Branden took Objectivist practices and gave them some flexibility, he stopped long before reaching the concepts of "enlightenment" or, at least, the personal serenity found in the Eastern philosophies. Similarly, Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen, Buddhism for Dummies, and The 8 Minute Meditation by Victor N. Davich are examples of excellent books on Zen Buddhism and Meditation, but that's where they stop. There has never been any attempt to apply philosophies and other practices to the "real world" of the self, until Morgan D. Rosenberg wrote Dark Buddhism: Integrating Zen Buddhism and Objectivism, where he merges Objectivism with traditional Zen Buddhism. On the surface, these two philosophies seem to contradict each other, with Ayn Rand's principles of self-focus and the Buddha's principles of selflessness, but the author argues that each of them has logical inconsistencies, which once weeded out, means the philosophies can be blended into a cohesive whole. In his book, which is aimed at professionals as well as readers who seek a self-help guide, chapters range from Zen Buddhism Basics and Reintegrating the Self into Buddhism, to Living Consciously and Mindfully and The Dark Buddhist Lifestyle. Although most of this book has been directed towards thoughts and consciousness, which are functions of the mind, the author stresses the importance of always remembering that the body supports the mind. "When you have a feeling, which originates in your mind," he says, "your body responds to it." The connection between self, consciousness, happiness, and the body has been long recognized. To quote the Buddha, "Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care." The mind-body connection is a very real thing and also part of our modern world. An entirely fresh and highly original philosophy, Dark Buddhism offers a series of practices that will cultivate strong self-worth, bring about inner peace and harmony, help with personal growth, and improve physical health.
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