August 26, 2007

8/26/07 Lavaur France

Nalanda Monastery

As you can imagine, I have access to a wonderful library of Buddhist literature at the monastery. I thought I might let you know what kind of stuff I've been reading here.

Old Path White Clouds
Walking in the Footsteps
of the Buddha
Thich Nhat Hanh

Publisher: Thich Nhat Hanh brings to life the story of the Buddha with his beautiful and vibrant style. It traces the Buddha's life, slowly and gently through the eyes of Svasti, the buffalo boy who provided kusha grass for the Buddha's enlightenment cushion, and through the eyes of the Buddha himself. Drawn directly from Pali, Sanskrit, and Chinese sources, the life story of the Buddha is retold by Thich Nhat Hanh in a style that captures the clarity and serenity of the Buddha's life. This is a gift book, a reference book, and an excellent read, destined to become a classic of religious literature.

Fragrant Palm Leaves
Journals 1962-1966
Thich Nhat Hanh

Synopsis: A rare combination of mystic, scholar, poet, and activist, Thich Nhat Hanh has lived in exile from his native Vietnam since 1966. Though he is best known for his ever popular Buddhist teachings, Fragrant Palm Leaves: Journals 1962-1966 shows not only an exquisite portrait of the Zen master as a young man, but the emergence of a great poet and literary voice of Vietnam. From his years as a student and teaching assistant at Princeton and Columbia to his efforts to negotiate peace and a better life for the Vietnamese, Fragrant Palm Leaves offers an elegant and profound window into the formation of the heart and mind of one of the world's most beloved spiritual teachers.

Joyfully Together
The Art of Building a
Harmonious Community
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Publisher Comments: In Joyfully Together, Thich Nhat Hanh explores the spiritual, emotional, and practical aspects of developing a community for life. He stresses the importance of communication in all our relationships as the basis for resolving difficulties and maintaining an atmosphere of harmony in sanghas, families, and in our daily encounters. Based on the experience of the Buddhist monastic community in Plum Village, the book presents both traditional and evolving practices that are applicable to current global concerns of peace and security, reconciliation and mediation. It provides very concrete methods for nonviolent communication that can help any community to live together in joy and harmony, and serves as a guideline easily adaptable for use by lay people, families, and even nations.

The Miracle of Mindfulness
An Introduction to the
Practice of Meditation
by Thich Nhat Hanh

Publisher: In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness--being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.

Living with Mindfulness,
Wisdom, and Compassion
by Sharon Salzberg

Publisher Comments: The Buddhist teachings have the power to transform our lives for the better, says Sharon Salzberg, and all we need to bring about this transformation can be found in the ordinary events of our everyday experiences. Salzberg distills more than twenty-five years of teaching and practicing meditation into a series of short essays, rich with anecdotes and personal revelations, that offer genuine aid and comfort for anyone on the spiritual path. Many chance moments, both small and profound, serve as the basis for Salzberg's teachings: hearing a market stall hawker calling "I have what you need "; noting hotel guests' reactions to a midnight fire alarm; watching her teacher, Dipa Ma, bless a belligerent dog; seeing the Dalai Lama laughing uproariously at his own mistake. Each passing moment, Salzberg shows, can help us down the path toward "a seamlessness of connection and an unbounded heart."

Three Pillars of Zen
Teaching, Practice,
and Enlightenment
by Philip Kapleau

Publisher Comments: Through explorations of the three pillars of Zen--teaching, practice, and enlightenment--Roshi Philip Kapleau presents a comprehensive overview of the history and discipline of Zen Buddhism. An established classic, this 35th anniversary edition features new illustrations and photographs, as well as a new afterword by Sensei Bodhin Kjolhede, who has succeeded Philip Kapleau as spiritual director of the Rochester Zen Center, one of the oldest and most influential Zen centers in the United States.

Imagine All the People
Conversation with the
Dalai Lama
on Money, Politics, and
Life as It Could Be
by H.H. the Dalai Lama
with Fabien Ouaki

Publisher Comments: Fabien Ouaki was granted the opportunity to sit down with the Dalai Lama and talk with him about anything, and asked the Dalai Lama for his thoughts on the everyday issues that fill our news, Trade Papers, and our lives. Imagine All the People is the record of these varied and remarkable conversations. Covered are a wide spectrum of topics ? political, social, personal and spiritual ? including the media and education, marriage and sex, and disarmament and compassion. Blessed by His Holiness' buoyant and insightful thoughts, Imagine All the People allows readers to glimpse the spontaneous workings of an extraordinary mind at once of and above this world. This book includes the full text of "The Global Community and the Need for Universal Responsibility."

Sun Buddhas Moon Buddhas
A Zen Quest
by Elsie Mitchell

Synopsis: A spiritual memoir by Elsie Mitchell, born in 1926, who became one of the founding members of the Cambridge Buddhist Society in Massachusetts. One woman's spiritual quest and a dialog between Buddhist and Christian values. The chronicle of a quest that has carried her from her Unitarian roots in New England to marriage to an English Catholic born in Austria, and finally to Japan and the living tradition of Zen Buddhism.

What Color is Your Mind
by Thubten Chodron

Midwest Book Review: Thubten Chodron's What Color Is Your Mind? is about a Buddhist approach to the concerns of daily life written in clear and engaging language for those who are new to Buddhism. The first section of What Color Is Your Mind? responds to such questions about Buddhism as rebirth, working with emotions, and practicing Buddhism in daily life. The second section, "Working with Anger", offers many practical techniques. Buddha was a religious leader who was also a consummate psychologist and peacemaker. This presentation is based upon the Buddha's unique prescription for transforming anger and Chodron's interactions with mental health professionals, people in therapy, and conflict mediators. With a foreword by H. H. The Dalai Lama, What Color Is Your Mind? is an excellent introduction to Buddhism, and has much to offer experienced Buddhists as well.

Start Where You Are
A Guide to
Compassionate Living
by Pema Chodron

Synopsis: "Start Where You Are" is an indispensable handbook for cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart. With insight and humor, Pema Chödrön n presents down-to-earth guidance on how we can "start where we are" — embracing rather than denying the painful aspects of our lives. Pema Chödrön frames her teachings on compassion around fifty-nine traditional Tibetan Buddhist maxims, or slogans, such as: "Always apply only a joyful state of mind," "Don't seek others' pain as the limbs of your own happiness," and "Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment." Working with these slogans and through the practice of meditation, "Start Where You Are" shows how we can all develop the courage to work with our inner pain and discover joy, well-being, and confidence.

The Tantric Distinction
A Buddhist’s Reflections
on Compassion and Emptiness
by Jeffrey Hopkins

From the Publisher: Widely recognized as one of the West's leading scholars of Tibetan Buddhism, Professor Jeffrey Hopkins is renowned for his textual translations and original scholarship. For ten years he ser4ved as the principal English translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Tantric Distinction is his effort to make accessible the complexities of this highly sophisticated philosophy by sharing his personal, individual experience with Buddhist thought and practice. It lays out the entire Buddhist path as a living experience.

by Chogyam Trungpa

Synopsis: In this modern spiritual classic, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa highlights the commonest pitfall to which every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. The universal tendency, he shows, is to see spirituality as a process of self-improvement— the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. "The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use," he said, "even spirituality." His incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play on ourselves, and to offer us a far brighter reality: the true and joyous liberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it. It is a message that has resonated with students for nearly thirty years, and remains fresh as ever today.

All the above books are available at