51JTPZA2MJL (1)Answers:
Discussions with Western Buddhists
The Dalai Lama
Translated and edited by José Cabezón
Snow Lion Publications: Ithaca, 2001
102 pp.; $12.95 (paper)

It has been a long-standing tradition for the Dalai Lama to spend several days each winter in residence at Bodhgaya, answering questions and holding informal discussions and meditations with students of Buddhism from around the world. This book presents a gathering of these exchanges, in which the Dalai Lama offers clear and penetrating insights into the issues most pertinent to Western studentfs. Topics range from psychology, politics, and tantra to debates about particle physics and philosophical discussions of emptiness.

41ASTxGNd-LCounsels From My Heart:
Dudjom Rinpoche
Translated by Padmakara Translation Group
Shambhala Publications: Boston, 2001
112 pp.;$19.95 (cloth)

Renowned Tibetan Buddhist master H.H. Dudjom Rinpoche offers dharma teachings drawn from an array of subjects. Sharp, forthright, direct—this work is a treasure of heart advice. Some of these teachings find expression as beautiful poems. In the chapter “An Introduction to the Three Jewels,” Dudjom Rinpoche says, “We must understand that we are all disciples of the Buddha and all followers of the one teaching that is his, and on this basis we should practice the tradition to which we are drawn. We must refrain from criticizing other traditions and schools, and stop entertaining wrong notions about them.”

Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
Thich Nhat Hanh
Riverhead Books: New York, 2001
208 pp.; $23.95 (cloth)

Have you ever considered “taking good care of your anger”? As one of the three primary sources of unhappiness in Buddhism, anger can wield extraordinary power over our life, health, and spiritual development. Thich Nhat Hanh likens anger to a crying baby, which we must treat with the same attention, examination, and gentle care. With his characteristic simplicity, Thich Nhat Hanh offers compassionate yet concrete instructions for facing this destructive emotion and transforming it into peace.

dangerous-friend-the-teacher-student-relationship-in-vajrayana-buddhism-21465258Dangerous Friend:
The Teacher-Student Relationship in Vajrayana Buddhism
Nga-la Rig’dzin Dorje
Shambhala Publications: Boston, 2001
144 pp.; $15.95 (paper)

A vibrant, provocative work regarding the teacher-student relationship. Paramount in the Vajrayana tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, this relationship has been clouded in the West by confusion, controversy, and misunderstanding. Here, a Western practitioner explores this profound bond of trust, and its inherent responsibility. “In the Vajrayana,” the author says, “the emphasis is on an inner commitment, not an outer one; one uses one’s awareness of the teacher from moment to moment.”

9780965317276Good Life, Good Death:
Tibetan Wisdom on Reincarnation
Rimpoche Nawang Gehlek
Riverhead Books: New York, 2001
192 pp.; $23.95 (cloth)

Rimpoche Nawang Gehlek offers a practical guide to living a good life and achieving a good death by overcoming the negative emotions of anger, hatred, jealousy, and attachment, which arise from fear and ignorance. Good Life, Good Death also provides a vivid description of the dying process and how one can prepare oneself for the inevitable journey.

9781570625930Straight to the Heart of Zen:
Eleven Classic Koans & Their Inner Meanings
Philip Kapleau
Shambhala Publications: Boston, 2001
192 pp.; $15.95 (paper)

Fresh from the zendo, here is a collection of previously unpublished talks about koans by one of the pioneers of Western Zen. Under Roshi Kapleau’s direction, koans shed their esoteric stigma and reveal themselves as familiar and relevant to fundamental issues of spiritual life. The book is arranged in three sections—Koans of the Buddha, Koans of the Great Lay Practitioners, and Koans of Our Lives—designed to reflect the path of a maturing koan practice.

0062517724.01.LZZZZZZZThe Best Spiritual Writing 2001
Edited by Philip Zaleski
HarperSanFrancisco, 2001
320 pp.; $16.00 (paper)

For those who didn’t have time to comb through every spiritual publication in 2001, here is the fourth annual offering of the “best” of spiritual literature. Gleaned from established, as well as less known, sources, the collection represents a variety of faiths and includes emerging writers alongside the big names (including Robert Pinsky, Thomas Moore, Bret Lott, and Terry Tempest Williams). Together, the authors address the profound and everyday aspects of spirituality in an ecumenical scope of formats and voices.

1053320-LClarifying the Natural State
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal; Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang
Rangjung Yeshe Publications; Hong Kong, Boudhanath & Esby, 2001
107 pp.; $18.00 (paper)

Directly from his personal experience, a sixteenth-century Tibetan Buddhist master offers practical instruction on the path of awakening. “Ordinary mind,” says Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, “simply means your mind’s natural state. When you try to correct it by judging, accepting, or rejecting, it will no longer be your ordinary mind.” Eminently clear, precise, and psychologically astute, this guide for the profound teachings of Mahamudra is “indispensable,” says Kagyu master Thrangu Rinpoche.

321882Transform Your Life:
A Blissful Journey
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Tharpa Publications: Glen Spey, NY, 2001
424 pp.; $22.95 (cloth), $18.95 (paper)

What is the meaning of life? How do we find the source of happiness, solve our daily problems, and accomplish our ultimate goal? Geshe Kelsang Gyatso provides advice on these matters in this handbook for “serious seekers of happiness.” It is possible, he says, to transform our lives and, through this process, to find everlasting joy and peace.

secret-of-the-vajra-world-the-tantric-buddhism-of-tibet-ray-reginald-a-world-of-tibetan-buddhism-21466844Secret of the Vajra World:
The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet
Reginald Ray
Shambhala Publications: Boston, 2001
524 pp.; $29.95 (cloth)

An accessible, far-ranging guidebook to Vajrayana Buddhism. Ray explores the foundations and early spread of Vajrayana from India to Tibet, the tantric view of human nature, and such subjects as the profound importance of the teacher, who “introduces us to the mystery, the power, and the magic of the phenomenal world.” Woven throughout are inspiring stories and quotations from many great teachers through the centuries. An affecting portrait of life in long-term retreat rounds out this valuable work.

9780861713028Meditation for Life:
Martine Batchelor
Photography by Stephen Batchelor
Wisdom Publications: Boston, 2001;
168 pp.; $22.95 (paper)

In this evocatively illustrated book, Martine Batchelor demonstrates that it’s not necessary to be a Buddhist to benefit from meditation practice. Each chapter is divided into three parts: a discussion of the basic concepts behind Buddhist meditation, practical advice on formal and informal techniques, and a guided meditation on such themes as death, compassion, conversation, and cooking. Drawing on a variety of Buddhist traditions, it is an approachable, attractive introduction to integrating meditation into daily life.

5089133Portraits of Buddhist Women:
Stories from the Saddharmaratnavaliya
Ranjini Obeyesekere
SUNY Press: Albany, NY, 2001
208 pp.; $54.50 (cloth), $17.95 (paper)

Translated from a thirteenth-century Sinhala Buddhist text, these stories reveal the role and status of women in medieval India and Sri Lanka and within the Buddhist doctrinal ideal. Through a combination of translation, contextualization, interpretation, and commentary, Obeyesekere reveals how the Theravada Buddhist position on gender and sexuality adapted to accommodate the social climate of its time. In addition, the collection offers unusual insight on the crucial differences in perspective between the celibate monks who composed this text and their audience.

9780742508804Growing up Untouchable in India:
A Dalit Autobiography
Vasant Moon; Translated from the Marathi by Gail Omvedt
Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham, MD, 2001
224 pp.; $65.00 (cloth), $19.95 (paper)

The first Dalit (“untouchable”) autobiography to be published in English, Vasant Moon takes readers into the heart of his childhood ghetto neighborhood, where crime and deprivation are pitted against an unexpectedly generous community spirit. At the center of Moon’s Dalit world is the hierarchical caste system, and towering above this is famed Dalit and social activist Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (1891-1956), who led many Dalits to convert to Buddhism. At once a social historiography and a tale of seemingly inexplicable cruelty and joy, here is a testimony to a uniquely Indian life and to a profound humanity.

35-1Vajra Speech
Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang
Rangjung Yeshe Publications; Hong Kong, Boudhanath & Esby, 2001
192 pp.; $15.00 (paper)

Advice from the renowned Tibetan dzogchen master, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Inspiring, wide-ranging, these pith instructions are gathered around such topics as Bodhichitta, Devotion, Nonmeditation, Perseverance, View, and Yogi. “The word ‘recognize’ literally means meeting your nature head-on, to recognize your own essence face-to-face,” Tulku Urgyen says. “It means acknowledging what you already have, not something newly produced from elsewhere.”

imagining-tibet-perceptions-projections-and-fantasies-13340939Imagining Tibet:
Perceptions, Projections, and Fantasies
Edited by Thierry Dodin and Heinz
Rather Wisdom Publications: Boston, 2001
512 pp.; $28.95 (paper)

This collection of essays is one of the first attempts to trace the changing Western conception of Tibet from an aesthetic, intellectual, and political perspective. Contributors Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Jeffrey Hopkins, Jamyang Norbu, and other noted scholars explore topics ranging from the Christian missionary view of Tibet and the “Shangri-La” created by Western literature, to the psychologization of Buddhism, Tibetan identity in exile, and the use made of Tibet by the New Age movement. Here is an examination of how mythology and reality have merged to capture the popular imagination.

51MVPXQM8KL._SL500_AA300_Buddhist Stupas of Asia:
The Shape of Perfection
Photography by Bill Wassman; text by Joe Cummings; foreword by Robert A. F. Thurman
Lonely Planet Publications: Oakland, CA, 2001
176 pp.; $34.99 (cloth)

Harmonizing the physical and spiritual realms, the stupa’s divine form embodies the Buddha’s teachings and is said to draw the observer closer to enlightenment. This comprehensive photographic study provides an immersion in the history, myth, and ritual of these devotional forms. The book is lavishly illustrated with more than 250 full-color photographs, and includes ten transparent architectural overlays that depict plans and elevations of major stupas and reveal the religious symbolism woven into their design.

story-buddhism-donald-s-lopez-paperback-cover-artThe Story of Buddhism
Donald S. Lopez, Jr.
HarperSanFrancisco, 2001
288 pp.; $25.00 (cloth)

Leading Buddhist scholar Donald S. Lopez, Jr.’s historical introduction to Buddhism aims to make the tradition both accessible and compelling, as well as to demystify its practices, teachings, and schools. Beginning with the creation of the Buddhist universe and the Buddha’s life story, Lopez explains key concepts such as the dharma and the sangha, describes the development of monastic life and lay practice, and explores the meaning of enlightenment.

benedicts-dharma-buddhists-reflect-on-rule-saint-benedict-patrick-henry-paperback-cover-artBenedict’s Dharma:
Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict
Norman Fischer, Joseph Goldstein, Judith Simmer-Brown, and others Edited by Patrick Henry
Riverhead Books: New York, 2001
200 pp.; $23.95 (cloth)

For years, Christians and Buddhists have remarked on the similarity between their monastic traditions. Here, four prominent Buddhist scholars discuss the guidelines that have regulated daily Christian monastic life for centuries. In addition to reflecting on how the wisdom of both traditions can revitalize each other, the authors offer personal anecdotes of how their own spiritual practices have been enriched by Saint Benedict’s Rule, and what it may offer contemporary culture.

0679891889.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_The Prince Who Ran Away:
The Story of Gautama Buddha
Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Fahimeh Amiri
Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 2001
40 pp.; $16.95 (cloth)

For children interested in Buddhism (or those inclined to run away!) here is a beautiful and approachable introduction to the story of the Buddha. Painted in vibrant colors by a student of Persian miniatures, the illustrations feature jeweled crowns, snarling demons with glinting tongues, and a beatific Siddhartha. The text is engaging, if dense. Young readers, teachers, and parents will find an appealing narrative here in addition to a lesson.

Ultimate-Healing-The-Power-of-Compassion-0861711955-LUltimate Healing:
The Power of Compassion
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Wisdom Publications: Boston, 2001
288 pp.; $16.95 (paper)

Despite our physical experience of illness, we must understand its roots in our hearts and minds. Internationally recognized meditation master Lama Zopa Rinpoche shows how we can heal ourselves by developing compassion and insight through meditation, ultimately eliminating the cause of all disease. Presenting real-life stories in addition to practical healing meditations, Rinpoche addresses the central roles of karma, impermanence, suffering, and interdependence in causing illness and shows how opening to these truths can lead to our future happiness. ▼

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