From 2005 to 2007, teacher Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche gave classes on Buddhist scholar Shantideva’s The Way of the Boddhisattva at a noted retreat center in Northern California. His commentaries revealed such a deep understanding that practitioner Marcia Binder Schmidt decided to collect them for other students of Buddhism as an independent work. This book is the result.Beginning with an overview of the entire path of Buddhism, Kongtrül Rinpoche goes on to examine different aspects of Shantideva’s text, always relating the teachings to individual experience. He explores in depth the training of the four immeasurables—equanimity, loving kindness, compassion, and sympathetic joy—and discusses the importance of wholehearted engagement in the process. His advice for setting up and maintaining a spiritual practice is both practical and inspiring.Although the book contains three years of teachings, it remains remarkably compact, reflecting Kongtrül Rinpoche’s characteristic directness and emphasis on implementation. In the words of the editor, “Dharma practice needs to be more than mere theory. Dharma needs to be trained in, integrated into our lives, and embraced by wisdom.” Uncommon Happiness contains the guidance to undergo that training with the right attitude of clarity and commitment.
“The thirteen short and well-edited chapters are centered on traditional topics such as rejoicing and the six paramitas, but they address a decidedly contemporary audience and are largely free of technical vocabulary.” —Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly