What Buddhist book has had a significant impact on your practice?
Encountering environmental activist, humanitarian, and scholar Joanna Macy’s PhD dissertation, Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory, was a revelation for me. I have been obsessed with the Buddhist insight into the nature of “dependent arising” for all my adult life. Although dependent arising, or pratityasamutpada in Sanskrit, is the key that unlocks the mysteries of what it means to be an awakened human being, this concept and its deep implications are not usually well understood. Macy brings this still-relevant ancient wisdom alive with fresh language, depth, sensitivity, and brilliance. She also incorporates Western philosophical traditions, showing us that looking into the nature of mutual causality is always relevant to the way we live and understand who we are.
The topic of pratityasamutpada is deceptively simple. Yes, it is easy (and critical) to recognize the interdependent nature of things, but if you are interested in looking even deeper, these teachings will interrupt your confusion, rock your world, and lead to liberating insight.
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