The Dharma of The Princess Bride by Ethan Nichtern
What the Coolest Fairy Tale of Our Time Can Teach Us About Buddhism and Relationships

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A generous and instructive book on working through relationships, with much to recommend for readers, whether they are fans of The Princess Bride or not.


An engagingly contemporary approach to Buddhism—through the lens of an iconic film and its memorable characters

Humorous yet spiritually rigorous, drawing from pop culture and from personal experience, The Dharma of “The Princess Bride teaches us how to understand and navigate our most important personal relationships from a twenty-first-century Buddhist perspective.

Friendship. Romance. Family. These are the three areas Ethan Nichtern delves into, taking as departure points the indelible characters—Westley, Fezzik, Vizzini, Count Rugen, Princess Buttercup, and others from Rob Reiner’s perennially popular film—as he also draws lessons from his own life and his work as a meditation teacher. Nicthern devotes the first section of the book to exploring the dynamics of friendship. Why do people become friends? What can we learn from the sufferings of Inigo Montoya and Fezzik? Next, he leads us through all the phases of illusion and disillusion we encounter in our romantic pursuits, providing a healthy dose of lightheartedness along the way by sharing his own Princess Buttercup List and the vicissitudes of his dating life as he ponders how we idealize and objectify romantic love. Finally, Nichtern draws upon the demands of his own family history and the film’s character the Grandson to explore the dynamics of “the last frontier of awakening,” a reference to his teacher Chogyam Trungpa’s claim that it’s possible to be enlightened everywhere except around your family.

With The Dharma of “The Princess Bridein hand, we can set out on the path to contemporary Buddhist enlightenment with the most important relationships in our lives.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: Fairy Tales, the Real World, and True Love

1. Mercenaries or Besties: What Are Friends For?
2. The Bad Guys: Out There vs. In Here
3. Find Your Inner Fezzik: The Practice of Friendship

4. There Is No Buttercup
5. Lost on the High Seas: Emptiness and Dating
6. Basic Goodness: How the Farmboy Was Finally Reborn
7. As You Wish, Part I: The Practice of Partnership

8. All Sentient Beings Have Been Grandpa
9. Fred Savage Is a Jerk, and I Am Fred Savage: Gratitude for Your Lineage
10. As You Wish, Part II: The Practice of Family

Conclusion: Have Fun Storming the Castle
Appendix: Seven-Step Loving-Kindness
(Metta or Maitri) Practice in 20-25 Minutes


About Ethan Nichtern

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Ethan Nichtern is a Shastri, a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and the author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence. He is also the founder of the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Buddhist-inspired meditation and psychology, integral activism, mindful arts, and meaningful media. Nichtern has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology classes in New York and around the country for the last ten years.
Published September 12, 2017 by North Point Press. 289 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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on Jun 27 2017

A generous and instructive book on working through relationships, with much to recommend for readers, whether they are fans of The Princess Bride or not.

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