Synopses & Reviews
Heres the latest offering in the series Publishers Weekly called “a great window into the world of a small and articulate community shaping American spiritual practice.” Selected by the editors of the Shambhala Sun, The Best Buddhist Writing 2009 offers an entertaining mix of writing styles on a wide range of issues from a Buddhist point of view. Included are pieces by the Dalai Lama, Natalie Goldberg, Ruth L. Ozeki, Norman Fischer, John Tarrant, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Jack Kornfield, Susan Piver, Liza Dalby, Alan Weisman, Pema Chödrön, the Seventeenth Karmapa, Gabriel Cohen, Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche, Peggy Rowe Ward and Larry Ward, John Welwood, Tom Robbins, John Daido Loori, Gehlek Rinpoche, Joan Sutherland, and Rabbi Rami Shapiro.
Since 2004 the editors of the magazine Shambhala Sun have compiled articles and excerpts from recently published books for an annual edition. This volume's essays fall loosely into the categories of meditation Buddhist theory practicing in the world mindful living and Buddhism in the West. Coping with suffering and loss is a persistent theme. Distinguished American Buddhists from vipassana Zen and Tibetan Buddhist traditions are represented; writing styles vary from Thich Nhat Hanh's simple prose to Diane Ackerman's lyricism. Alongside lucid if earnest advice some distinctive voices emerge: Jarvis Jay Masters on a brief outing from death row; Jaimal Yogis on searching for and not finding enlightenment in the perfect wave; John Tarrant on time well spent with his dying father; Hannah Tennant Moore's raw account of connection in the midst of depression. As always the value of such a book is to acquaint casual readers with unfamiliar writers they might want to explore in more depth. A tighter focus and greater selectivity would have helped this book better live up to its "best" designation. Yet most readers should find helpful information or an arresting take on the world through a Buddhist lens. (Sept.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"In this wise, accessible collection, editor McLeod gathers writings from a number of well-known Buddhist writers-Pico Iyer, Tom Robbins, Natalie Goldberg, and others-along with up-and-comers whose work contributes to the study, understanding and practice of Buddhism. Environmental concerns make up a major theme of the book, a sharp turn away from more self-focused Buddhist practices of the past; in 'Cranes in the DMZ,' Alan Weisman writes that there's 'great peace' in realizing 'that we are part of a grand, changing, living pageant-one that, no matter how deep a wound it sustains, will always be renewed.' That quest for peace in the face of life's suffering also drives two of the best contributions, Kathleen Willis Morton's account of her baby son's death ('The Blue Poppy') and Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle's chronicle of her husband's losing fight with Alzheimer's ('The Majesty of Your Loving'). Neither makes for easy reading, but both demonstrate how the ancient practice of Buddhism sustains the authors through their grimmest ordeals. A few essays provide practical guides that will resonate for Buddhist practitioners, but lack the intensely humane focus of the collection's best. Still, thoughtful readers of all kinds will find something here that resonates." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)