In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon
booksinbriefBhikkhu Bodhi, Ed. & Trans.
Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2005
496 pp.; $18.95 (paper)

Wisdom Publications’ hefty translations of the Pali canon have, for many practitioners, been books to own and admire rather than read and absorb. With this new selection, editor/translator Bhikkhu Bodhi clears the way for the modern reader to connect directly with the words of the Buddha. Featuring clear introductions to ten thematic chapters—including “The Human Condition,” “Deepening One’s Perspective on the World,” and “The Path to Enlightenment”—the book’s efficient structure makes the teachings accessible despite their volume, aided also by a low price and a paperback binding.

The Way of the White Clouds
booksinbrief2Lama Anagarika Govinda
New York: Overlook Press, 2005
400 pp.; $27.95 (cloth)

Described by Robert Thurman in his introduction as “undoubtedly one of the West’s greatest minds of the twentieth century,” scholar/practitioner/explorer Lama Govinda first published this autobiography in 1966. Born in Germany in 1896 and ordained as a novice monk in Sri Lanka in the 1920s, he eventually found his spiritual home in Tibetan Buddhism and settled in northern India for thirty years. This is a rare and touching account of travels in Tibet by one of the last Westerners to see it before the Chinese invasion, as well as a valuable collection of insights into the mind and practice of an influential pioneer.

The Second Dalai Lama: His Life and Teachings
booksinbrief3Glenn Mullin
Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2005
270 pp.; $16.95 (paper)

Glenn Mullin’s book on Gendun Gyatso, the Second Dalai Lama, is skillfully arranged into three parts: an introduction to the basic concepts of Tibetan Buddhism and the history of the fourteen Dalai Lamas; an engaging biography of the Second Dalai Lama himself; and Mullin’s excellent translation of twenty-five of his poems, each placed in context by a short introduction. All together, this is a fascinating and valuable overview of the Dalai Lama who often signed his works “The Mad Beggar” and “The Yogi of Space.” In his foreword, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama proclaims him “the greatest of all the early Dalai Lamas.”

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