The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World (Penguin Books, February 2017; $18.00, 288 pp., cloth), which sold over three million copies in Korea, the home country of its author, Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim, is now available in English. Divided into eight chapters that address broadly defined topics like relationships and rest, passion and the future, the collection comprises a series of short teachings that the media-savvy monk, a former advice columnist for the Korea Times, originally shared via Twitter and Facebook. While each teaching is only slightly longer than your average InstaQuote, the content is far more meaningful, often drawing on metaphors from contemporary life. The accessibility of these memorable mini-teachings has likely led to the book’s runaway success; they take only a minute to read: “A bad driver brakes often. A bad conversationalist also brakes often—interrupting the flow with his own stories.”
This small book is perfect for the bedside. You might start the day with one short teaching and close it with another, or you could give it as a gift to friends or family members who are curious about Buddhism and looking for an unintimidating place to start.
Few texts from the Tibetan Bon tradition, the indigenous religion of Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism, are available in English today, which makes the recent translation of The Six Lamps: Secret Dzogchen Instructions of the Bon Tradition (Wisdom Publications, March 2017; 340 pp., $15.95, paper) particularly valuable. Translated by Tibetologist Jean-Luc Achard, editor and
publisher of the Revue d’Etudes Tibetaines, The Six Lamps includes central teachings from one of Bon’s root texts, The Oral Transmission of Zhangzhung (Zhangzhung Nyengyü), which outlines the return to conditioned existence (if one has failed to recognize one’s true nature) via the death process and bardo states.
The book also describes the Dzogchen teachings known as trekcho (“cutting through”) and thogel (“crossing the crest” or “leap over”); the latter instruction, a rapid method for attaining awakening, is usually held to be an extremely secret practice.
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