VICENTE HAO CHIN, JR.
Wheaton: Quest, 2015. 343 + xvi pp., paper, $24.95.
At the very beginning of The Process of Self-Transformation, Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., raises a critically important point. He asks, “How many schools teach children how to handle fear?” He then observes that not only do our schools ignore the question, they use fear to get students to follow the rules. Schools also ignore problems with anger and worry, yet we all suffer from these conditions from time to time and only by trial and error — if indeed we ever try — do we overcome those problems. Chin acknowledges that various groups talk about the need to overcome such negative feelings, but few if any ever suggest how we might do that.
In this book and in the Self-Transformation Seminars that he facilitates, Chin, former president of the Theosophical Society in the Philippines, gives people a step-by-step method to help them actualize their higher potential and overcome their psychological and spiritual problems. Early on in his book he encourages readers to notice that they have a dual nature: a higher nature, with an inner will motivated by principles and higher values; and a conditioned and self-centered nature, driven by desires and fears. He lists the characteristics of each and suggests ways to actualize the higher nature so that it can rid the lower nature of negative qualities.
Rather than simply telling the reader to trust that his methods work, the author provides a summary of success stories. One cannot help but be impressed by the testimonies of those who have benefited greatly from his approach.
Chin also discusses how a facilitator may help someone go through the process. While people can achieve success on their own, it would seem of enormous benefit to have a facilitator. On our own it is easy to give up when we discover that the path to success requires focus, effort, and determination. With an experienced person to encourage us, we are more likely to achieve our goal.
The reviewer is former vice-president of the Theosophical Society in America. His book The Secret Gateway: The Mahatmas, Their Letters, and the Path was reviewed in Quest, summer 2015.