Wisdom

Radically Happy

With Phakchok Rinpoche & Erric Solomon

A User's Guide to the Mind

In conversation with Phakchock Rinpoche and Erric Solomon on their new practical Buddhist guide to happiness that's relevant to everyone.

East meets West in a fresh, modern take on a timeless challenge: how to find contentment and meaning in life. A longtime meditator and seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur meets a young, insightful, and traditionally educated Tibetan Rinpoche. Together they present a path to radical happiness through accessible meditation and mindfulness techniques. Following three parts, the authors guide readers through Basic Happiness, Interconnected Happiness, and finally Radical Happiness, with each section building on itself to form a complete program. Filled with personal stories, scientific studies, step-by-step exercises, and gorgeous illustrations, this is the perfect guide to meditation and how to easily integrate it into your life. It's a thoughtful exploration of modern science and ancient wisdom-- there's  no dumbing things down--yet it doesn't take itself too seriously. 

The conversation is lead by Deborah Quibell, teacher, writer and healer with a doctoral degree in Depth Psychology - a scholarly mystic who is utterly in love with the more-than-human world. Get to know your own mind and discover how a slight but radical shift can transform your life.

 

"This extraordinary book carries the reader quickly into a direct experience of deep wisdom and inner peace, with lots of gentle humor and nurturing support along the way. It offers a rare integration of ancient Tibetan wisdom, modern psychological tools, and hard-won lessons from the business world. Plus it is physically beautiful and visually nourishing. A wonderful book!"

 

– Rick Hanson, Ph.D, author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

 

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Book Foreword

If we look within ourselves with some perspective, we might see how our mind can be like a wild monkey. Left to its own whims, the mind can, in an instant, take off in any direction—here one second, there the next.

How can we take more control?

Operating manuals for the mind have existed for millennia, particularly in Asian cultures. These have been meditation instructions—pithy bits of advice for the monks, nuns, and yogis who devoted their lives to these practices. Typically secret, they were not shared beyond the small circle of these hardcore practitioners.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century. Brain scans of Olympic-level meditators show how much their minds have shifted in beneficial ways from this inner workout; meditation, it turns out, operates like a mental fitness workout. And neuroplasticity explains how working a given mental circuit, the essence of meditation practice, makes those neuronal links stronger. The data points to a dose–response relationship, where the more time you put in, the stronger the benefits are. And these show up from the very start.

The need has never been greater. Since these ancient methods were first practiced, everything has changed. Indeed, the sheer velocity of change—social, technological, cultural—escalates hourly, it seems, a torrent that demands we continually adjust to newness. Our heads spin.

So it’s no surprise that millions now seek some inner peace through the pursuit of meditation. This mental workout comes in a myriads of forms, some highly effective, others not so. But meditators or not, we all need an easy-to-use, pragmatic operator’s manual for the mind.

You’ve found it here.

Consider the authors. We’ve known them both for many years and can attest to the depth of their knowledge and their empathy with our predicaments.

Phakchok Rinpoche hails from a long line of meditation masters. His grandfather, Tulku Urgyen, was one of the greatest meditation masters to emerge from old Tibet in the 1950s. And Tulku Urgyen’s great-grandfather, Chokgyur Lingpa, was legendary throughout nineteenth-century Tibet as a revealer of great wisdom teachings. Phakchok Rinpoche himself was recognized as the reincarnation of yet another great Tibetan master.

And yet, as you’ll see in Radically Happy, Phakchok Rinpoche lives much like the rest of us and so can draw on his own doubts, anger, and other familiar feelings to illustrate ways we can each find steadier footing in the rocky realities of our lives. His earthy tales of dealing with life’s stuff mix with his remarkably clear and accessible instructions—heart advice for navigating the tricky shoals of our own mind.

Erric Solomon adds a different wealth of expertise. Mastering the craft of software writing at a young age, he spent years as an executive in the high-pressure world of Silicon Valley. At the same time, Erric Solomon became a serious practitioner of Tibetan meditation. He speaks in the no-nonsense voice of a techie but with the clarity of a seasoned practitioner, presenting mind-training methods in a way that resonates with our wired world.

Both Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon have the gift of using rich and humorous examples from their own lives to make their points. The net result: a user-friendly guide to understanding how to work with our mind.

Daniel Goleman and Tara Bennett-Goleman

 

About Phakchok Rinpoche & Erric Solomon

"You know that meditation is good for you, but you ignore that. You know that benefiting others is ultimately how you benefit yourself, but you ignore that. You know that facing your problems is the only way to resolve them, but you ignore that. That is the habit of ignorance."

– Phakchok Rinpoche


Phakchok Rinpoche is a great example of a new generation of Tibetan Buddhist masters. He combines the most profound aspects of traditional wisdom teachings with his humorous observations of the irrelevance to the incredibly fast pace modern urban life.

When Phakchock Rinpoche met Silicon Valley entrepreneur and lifelong meditator, Erric Solomon, they saw the greatness of combining their wisdom to help people that are coping with the fast changes in our daily life, managing a career and at the same time aspiring to flourish and grow: intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

Being Radically Happy is the result of learning how to live free from the grip of constant hope and fear. We can ask ourselves, is it possible to achieve real, radical and sustained happiness? According to Sharon Salzberg, Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon answered an enthusiastic yes to that with a practical threefold path to radical happiness. During the conference, Phakchock Rinpoche will be guiding two sessions sharing his wisdom. Together they will be offering a session on their new book Radically Happy: A User's Guide to the Mind.


More about Phakchock Rinpoche

Phakchok Rinpoche is a premier example of a new generation of Tibetan Buddhist masters. He combines the most profound aspects of traditional wisdom teachings with his pithy, humorous observations of their ongoing relevance to the incredibly fast pace of modern urban life.

Born in 1981 to a family recognized for their generations of spiritual accomplishment, Rinpoche was recognized as the seventh Phakchok Rinpoche and incarnation of a great teacher and meditation master. Receiving ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Rinpoche received a thorough education and training in Buddhist philosophy and meditation, studying with some of the most accomplished masters of modern times, his main teachers being his grandfather Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. 

Rinpoche completed his education at the Dzongsar Institute of Advanced Buddhist Studies in Bir, India, where he received the Khenpo title. He is able to playfully combine the scholarly tradition of his studies with the experiential tradition of his main teachers in order to give his students the necessary tools to discover the wisdom and compassion that lies beneath our habitual ways of seeing ourselves and the world around us. 

Now, Rinpoche travels the world, teaching in Buddhist centers, universities, and monasteries from Asia to the United States, from South America to Europe.


More about Erric Solomon

Throughout his career as a Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur, and now as an author and innovative meditation teacher, Erric has been interested in understanding the mind and how it functions, both as a user experience designer and as a mind hacker. 

Erric’s interest in human-computer interaction took shape when as a teenager he taught programming to children and school teachers. As a participant in the Logo Group at M.I.T.’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, he interacted with some of the world’s deepest thinkers on how to make intelligent machines. This experience inspired a lifelong passion to understand the mind and how it functions and led Erric to the study of Buddhist theories of mind and the nature of consciousness.

He has been an invited speaker leading seminars and retreats in corporate settings—such as the World Bank and Silicon Valley tech firms—as well as in prisons, temples and Buddhist centers across the US and Europe.

 

Vondelkerk

The beautiful Vondelkerk, located next to the Vondelpark, has a rich history. With it’s painted ceiling, gothic architecture and deep grounding energy, this is a very sacred space. The church was designed by Cuypers, also the master behind iconic buildings like Amsterdam Central Station and the Rijksmuseum. Cuypers had many ideas about what the ideal society looked like, and the Vondelkerk is an expression of that. We believe that the practice of yoga and meditation leads to a new society, and practicing inner peace in the Vondelkerk is meant to be.

Why do we practice Inner Peace in a church?

Churches are designed to channel universal wisdom to the people. Their locations are always chosen with a clear mind, their energetic field functioning as the nadis of the city. These urban sanctuaries are charged with spiritual energy. By practicing inner peace in these sacred places, we tap into this energy. Here we can come in oneness with the universe and go beyond religion.

 

"Phakchok Rinpoche marries his deep understanding of ancient wisdom with Erric Solomon’s experience in the technology-driven modern world. The combination helps us understand how meditation, kindness, and wisdom can make a real difference, moment to moment, in daily life."

– Mingyur Rinpoche, author of The Joy of Living and Turning Confusion into Clarity

"A practitioner clearly sees that who we become is in our own hands."

– Phakchok Rinpoche

Phakchok Rinpoche at Harvard Divinity School, "Reflections on Mindfulness

In the context of Tibetan Buddhism, the word mindfulness (drenpa) is explained as “not forgetting what to accept and reject.” Similarly, being aware of whatever we are doing is attentiveness (shezhin); and being careful with what we accept and reject is carefulness (bagyö).

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