books-in-briefThe Dhammapada
Gil Fronsdal,
Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2005, 176 pp.; $18.95 (cloth)

In his highly praised new translation of this most essential Buddhist text, Gil Fronsdal brings to bear his considerable experience both as a scholar and a practitioner. Trained as a teacher in the Soto Zen and Insight Meditation traditions, Fronsdal also has a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies from Stanford University. His intimacy with the text is obvious: the verses ring out clearly on the first read, communicating their meaning with precision and poetic sensitivity. An introduction and extensive notes explain the many challenges faced by the translator and complement the text effectively, but you may not want to stop to read them.

book-in-brief-2Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche’s Heart Advice
Ron Garry, translator
Boulder: Snow Lion Publications, 2005, 352 pp.; $29.95 (cloth)

This collection of prayers and songs from Dudjom Rinpoche (1904—1987), former head of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, provides a rare opportunity to absorb the core insights of a master. The teachings—often transcribed from the same poetic verse that he presented orally to his students—are not concerned with complex rhetoric. Rather, they are intended to communicate directly Dudjom Rinpoche’s personal realization, his heart advice. A prose section, “Essential Advice for Solitary Meditation Practice,” includes a complete discussion of the Dzogchen path and answers all the questions that might arise during a three-year retreat (and a shorter one, too).

books-in-brief-3A Beginner’s Guide to Changing the World

Isabel Losada
San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco 2005,
372 pp.; $24.95 (cloth)

Can one person make a difference? Isabel Losada’s answer is a joyful and persistent Yes! Her latest book is a funny and fast-moving tale that celebrates the power of compassionate action. Having taken up a mission to honor the Dalai Lama for his nonviolent stance in a terrorized world, Losada invites her readers along a delightful ride from London to India and back again with a parachuting publicity stunt along the way. With its large doses of humor delivered with a British accent and its endearing humility, this book just might inspire you to change the world in your own way—whatever that may be.

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