Nawang Khechog
Awakening Kindness
Book Review by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony

Nawang stopped by Pasadena to play a little flute and sign a few books. I attended. Sadly, I was late, while he wasn't feeling well and finished early. But, I can say I did enjoy his bird-like harmonics and the ominous grumble of his homemade didgeridoo. His book signing followed. I was pleasantly distracted and again darted in late to get my book. But I'm glad for the delay, because as I approached this former monk/hermit I was able to catch him filling out his W9 for the bookstore. Isn't that an odd contrast? But, I'm a guy that likes odd with my Zen. How about you?

Let's move on to the book review, shall we? In general, I liked it. The few bones I had to pick with it center around name dropping. And his veneration of the Dali Lama is a little too much for me. I mean, I think the D.L.'s awesome, too. Really. But, "none can compare" to his wisdom, compassion -- I'm not buying that. Just seems either overly gratuitous, or rather pessimistic when it comes to the potential of others. I mean, with millions of us all over the planet, I like to think that some can, at the very least, compare.

Okay, I'm done nitpicking. Look, it's a sweet book that encourages us to be wise and kind. And it's written by a real guy who's not perfect. Nawang writes about some of those personal specifics. For instance, he informs us that he's been divorced. This makes him more real, more like us. Makes his message seem more attainable. Further, he seeks to enlighten all people with these pages. He's open to other religions. These "spiritual values ... can benefit all human beings -- whether they are Buddhist or not. (In fact, they are completely independent of religion.)"

Here's a few of my favorite quotes from the book. The first makes a great summary:

"All I'm trying to do is share the value of love and compassion. It is time to say to the world, 'Love and compassion are valuable.'"

"We value education; we value money; we value our home; we value everything. But we don't value kindness and compassion enough."

"...awaken to the value of kindness, be caring, and spread this compassion to others so that the world can begin to change in positive ways -- so that we can individually change in positive ways. And now, let it begin with us, in our beautiful hearts."

And here's the tough one: "When someone whom I have helped, Or in whom I have placed great hopes, Mistreats me in extremely hurtful ways, May I regard him still as my precious teacher." (Which he's excerpted from Thangpa)

"We don't have to make everybody believe what we believe. This power struggle is the reason religious wars start. There can be balance. If all the world's spiritual leaders' first thoughts were, How can I serve humanity through my religion or through myself, simply as a human being? Then the world would be a different place."

Read more Book Reviews by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony.

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 29-Feb-2012 13:05:21 PST