It’s been a while since I wrote a book review here. It’s not as much because I didn’t read much lately, as it’s because I didn’t write on the blog much lately. As you may already know, I’ve been quite busy with a business called Open Connect.
But now, that the storm relaxed a bit, it’s time to get back to my healthy habit of writing regularly here. So, what’s the deal with this book?
In this post you’ll find out
- what you should expect from The Diamond Cutter, in a nutshell
- what is the link between Tibetan Buddhism and business
- why reality has no meaning (seriously)
- how you can change the results of your actions (again, seriously)
The Book In A Nutshell
Or what you should expect from this book.
The Diamond Cutter is written on 3 layers. The author, Geshe Michael Roach, worked in the diamond industry for a good number of years, quite successfully, it seems. By the way, the term Geshe is actually a Tibetan Buddhism academic degree for Tibetan Buddhist and Michael Roach was the first Westerner to get it.
The first layer of the book describes the diamond industry, as it was before synthetic diamonds were produced. A coloured, diverse and strange world, but a very interesting reading.
The second layer of the book is about a Buddhist sutra (or book) called The Diamond Cutter (just like the book). Even if you’re not a Buddhist or if you’ve never been exposed to Buddhism before, you may get a lot of value from this layer.
And the third layer is made of practical advice for business people, based on the teachings from The Diamond Cutter sutra and Tibetan Buddhism in general. It’s one of the most enlightening parts of the book and I say that based on my own experience as a business person for more than 14 years already.
Tibetan Buddhism and Business. Really?
Or what’s the link between those two.
Michael Roach makes a very interesting point related to the dissemination of Buddhism in ancient India. The main carriers of those new (at that time) teachings weren’t poor or unfortunate. On the contrary, they were the equivalent of the modern middle class: princes, merchants or people who had enough money to travel a lot.
A very subtle approach to spiritual practices. The modern Western culture had its fair share of creating artificial barriers between spirituality and business, making them seem opposite or incompatible, at best. What Michael Roach tries to demonstrate is that spirituality and business are actually indispensable to each other. You can’t really be a successful business person if your spirituality practice is not fine tuned and you cannot experience full spirituality in depression, poverty or lack of decent life means.
This Reality Has No Meaning. Really.
Or how to cope with this (yes) reality.
By far and large this is the most shocking part of the book. At least for me. Using an incredibly simple example, The Diamond Cutter shows how reality is actually different for every one of us and it’s merely a projection.
Here’s the example: suppose your boss is calling you in his office and starts yelling at you because you didn’t do your job, or so he thoughts. How’s your reality in this context? Most likely it will be a reality of frustration, at best, or even fury. Now suppose in the same room with you it’s your colleague, who wants to take your position in the company. How do you think his reality will look like? Most likely, he will look at this context as an opportunity for his own goals. He will feel positive at least, if not downright happy.
It took a while to incorporate this concept – and I highly encourage you to read the book, to really understand it – but now that I (think) I understand it, it made a huge difference in my life. The mere act of looking at events without an intrinsic meaning, knowing that you are the one who actually covers or impregnates them with the meaning of your choice, is liberating. Even a potentially stressful event can be handled better with this approach.
It’s not that reality will always obey what you feel and will follow your projections. What it is, is what it is, you cannot change it. But you can change how you feel and what you see in it.
Ok, And What’s The Deal For Me?
Or how you can use this to change the results of your actions.
Now that you know there’s no intrinsic meaning in reality, and you are the one who puts the meaning there, you’re ready to understand one of the most important concepts in Tibetan Buddhism, namely karma. Karma is, briefly put, the law of cause and effect. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Karma means that the seeds you plant, by giving a certain meaning to reality, will flourish some day. Suppose you react with anger and frustration to some event. Well, that’s a seed you plant. It will give birth to more anger and frustration later on. But, even if the events are rather ugly, if you do your best to project feelings and balance and harmony, you plant another type of seed. It will give birth to more balance and harmony later on. That’s the process in its simplest form.
Of course, mastering this process is not even remotely as simple as writing it down or understanding it. “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path”, as Morpheus will say.
Another interesting consequence of this concept is that you cannot understand what you’ve not been exposed to before. In other words, you can project to reality only the feelings you already experienced before. You can create only the reality that you already know. That’s why is so important to get out of the comfort zone and try to understand new stuff, and learn new skills and approaches, even if it’s difficult in the beginning. But you can find more about this specific situation in this article, about the language of happiness.
The Diamond Cutter, by Geshe Michael Roach is a book that really changed my life and the way I react to events. I don’t know if I could understand this book ten years ago, but now it feels like the missing piece in my toolbox. It’s not an easy lecture either (mostly because of the interposition of those 3 layers) but, once you get in the flow, it’s easy and very captivating.
One more thing: I recommend to buy this book from Amazon, not to get it for “free” on torrents. It’s good for your karma. You can buy it from here:
The Diamond Cutter – The Buddha On Managing Your Life And your Business
Nope, it’s not a affiliate link. I don’t think I want to be rewarded instantly by a commission if you buy this book.
If the book is really interesting and useful for you, it means I planted a good seed. It will surely give birth to something good later on.