THE WISDOM OF IMPERFECTION by Rob Preece; THE STORY OF TIBET by Thomas Laird; ZEN PIONEER: THE LIFE AND WORKS OF RUTH FULLER SASAKI by Isabel Stirling; A CASCADING WATERFALL OF NECTAR by Thinley Norbu
THE WISDOM OF IMPERFECTION: THE CHALLENGE OF INDIVIDUATION IN BUDDHIST LIFE
Snow Lion Publications, 2006
335 pp.; $16.95 (paper)
IN THIS EXAMINATION of the interplay of the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey to awakening, psychotherapist and meditation teacher Rob Preece argues that the Jungian process of individuation, “the discovery of our own personal quality of wholeness that is intimately connected to our experience of the whole,” is supported by the Buddhist path of self-realization. He draws on his own, often-painful experiences as a practitioner and therapist to illuminate some of the pitfalls on this path of uncovering “our personal spiritual pathology,” and to offer advice on gradually moving towards its resolution, with compassion and acceptance.
THE STORY OF TIBET: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE DALAI LAMA
Grove Press, 2006
496 pp., $27.50 (cloth)
COMPILED FROM MORE than sixty hours of interviews over a period of three years, this book presents a much wider range of material than we are accustomed to hearing discussed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Journalist Thomas Laird includes valuable background information throughout, lending valuable support to their conversations; but it is the Dalai Lama’s mastery of a wealth of historical information that makes this captivating reading. He candidly discusses topics such as the early history of Buddhism in Tibet, the first incarnate lama, his memories of Chairman Mao, and his favorite image of the Buddha.
ZEN PIONEER: THE LIFE AND WORKS OF RUTH FULLER SASAKI
Shoemaker & Hoard, 2006
320 pp., $25.00 (cloth)
RUTH FULLER, born into Chicago high society at the turn of the twentieth century, was an unlikely early pioneer of Zen in America. Her focus and determination however, would lead her to study in Japan in 1930 after meeting D. T. Suzuki; to help develop the First Zen Institute in New York in 1944 with her teacher and eventual husband Sokei-an; and to become the first woman and Westerner to be made a priest at the historic temple Daitoku-ji in Japan. Isabel Stirling gives a comprehensive account of her life and influence; also included are three of Sasaki’s writings, here in book form for the first time, and a foreword by Gary Snyder.
A CASCADING WATERFALL OF NECTAR
Shambhala Publications, 2006
336 pp., $24.95 (cloth)
THINLEY NORBU RINPOCHE is one of the foremost contemporary teachers in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Two commentaries are included here, the first and longer of which is on a text that reveals the Nyingma tradition’s ngöndro, or preliminary practices. That translation is perhaps a bit misleading; as Tulku Thondup says in his foreword, “the ngöndro is not just a preliminary teaching but the quintessence of the Vajrayana path.” Thinley Norbu’s commentary is not only profound but also refreshingly clear, making it valuable and accessible to both experienced practitioners and those new to this path.
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