The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha

Translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi
Wisdom Publications: Boston (1995).
1412 pp., $75.00 (cloth).

This new translation offers the complete text of the Majjhima Nikaya, a collection of 152 suttas that are among the oldest teachings of Buddhism. Here, the Buddha addresses a remarkable range of listeners, from princes and philosophers to common villagers. Accompanying this translation are copious notes, appendices, and glossaries, including an index of all the famous similes used by the Buddha to explain the dharma to men and women of his day.

Gently Whispered

by the Very Venerable Kalu Rinpoche
Edited by Elizabeth Selandia
Station Hill: Barrytown, New York (1994).
292 pp., $16.95 (paper).

Gently Whispered presents the oral teachings of the late Kalu Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who spent over thirty years meditating in hermitages and caves in the Himalayas. Rich in allegory and example, the book offers an unusually intimate view into the mind of one of the great teachers of our day.

The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice

by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Translated, edited, and annotated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa
Foreword by Richard Gere
Wisdom Publications: Boston (1995).
210 pp., $25.00 (cloth).

This latest book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama offers a solid introduction to the Buddhist path, with special emphasis given to Buddhism as an altruistic way of life. It also offers, in a section of less than 50 pages, one of the most lucid introductions to the Vajrayana Buddhism of Tibet.

Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo: Book One

translated by Gudo Nishijima and Chodo Cross
Windbell Publications: Woods Hole, Massachusetts (1994).
358 pp., $25.00 (paper).

The first installment in a new series of translations of the Shobogenzo (“Right Dharma-Eye Treasury”), the life’s work of Japanese Zen master Dogen (1200-1253), the founder of the Soto sect of Zen in Japan. Includes detailed, inspired instructions on everything from how to realize the true nature of the universe to the proper way to use the toilet.

The Path is the Goal: A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation

by Chogyam Trungpa
Shambhala Publications: Boston (1995).
179 pp., $10.00 (paper).

Based on lectures given in March and September of 1974, this book offers the meditation teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Such chapter titles as “Continuing Your Confusion,” “Boredom: Full or Empty?” and “From Raw Eggs to Stepping-Stones” show why, even years after his death, Trungpa Rinpoche continues to be the most humorous, most familiar voice in American Buddhism.

Inside Tibetan Buddhism: Rituals and Symbols Revealed

by Robert A. F. Thurman
Collins Publishers: San Francisco (1995).
110 pp., $20.00 (paper).

A clear, engaging overview of Tibetan Buddhist ritual and practice. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll love this book. Diagrams, mandalas, photographs of postures and mudras (ritual hand movements)—it’s all here, on every page.

The Zen Teachings of Jesus

by Kenneth S. Leong
Crossroad: New York (1995).
204 pp., $14.95 (paper).

Kenneth Leong, President of the World Young Buddhist Association, offers a rereading of the Gospels, Zen-style. Doubtless, some will enjoy this newest attempt to makes friends of Jesus and Buddha, while others will not. In either case, it’s hard not to get drawn into the labyrinth of overlapping pathways, and hard not to conclude that there is, after all, some mysterious common ground at the basis of all mystical traditions.

Talking Zen

by Alan Watts
Edited by Mark Watts
Weatherhill: New York (1994).
201 pp., $12.95 (paper).

This collection of previously unpublished essays and radio talks given in the 1960s captures the voice of one of Buddhism’s most free-spirited and eclectic spokesmen. Topics range from politics and art to the movement of a thistledown in the wind and the way a baby learns to swim. Watts is as fresh and original today as he was thirty years ago.

Fundamentals of Mainstream Buddhism

by Eric Cheetham
Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc.: Boston (1994).
322 pp., $16.95 (paper).

True to its title, Fundamentals of Mainstream Buddhism keeps well to the middle of the road. Avoiding the various sectarian interpretations of early Buddhism, Eric Cheetham presents the teachings of the Buddha in a refreshingly straightforward way. Drawing on the teachings of the historical Buddha, as well as on texts written in the centuries immediately following his death, Cheetham explains what is meant by “Mainstream” Buddhism.

Written by Clark Strand.