The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wonderful Books That Found Their Way Into My Hands In 2010

After finishing up my formal Priest Studies this past summer, I felt like a kid released from school for a long break....but I guess I'm a nerdy kid. I headed for the library and took out a stack of fiction books, then headed for the bookstore and treated myself to a few volumes that I simply couldn't resist. But the biggest splurge was time to read fiction, which I really hadn't had time to read in three years, since any reading time was devoted to Buddhist study. Ironically, the books I bought were all about Buddhism, so the habit has been set, and fiction, I find, has to be very, very good if it is going to sustain my interest.
Fiction was once a passion, and I feel as if I'm gingerly testing the waters once again.
So the list I've (haphazardly) compiled here is not by any means complete--mostly because I know I've forgotten books. At any rate, the first 5 listed are the top 5 that I adored the most this year!

1. No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong
2. Mindful Eating, by Dr. Jan Chozen Bays
3. Once On A Moonless Night, by Dai Sijie
4. Mountains Upon Mountains, by Tracy Kidder
5. The Heart Sutra, by Red Pine

6. The Spirit Of Zen, by Alan Watts
7. Zen Poems, Selected & Edited by Peter Harris
8. Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei, by Peter Haskel
9. Free Your Mind, by Sensei Tony Stultz
10. Book Of Common Meditation, The Blue Mountain Lotus Society
11. Yoga Body, Buddha Mind, by Cindy Lee
12. Zen Mountain Monastery Liturgical Manual, by John Daido Loori
13. The Dharmapada, A New Translation of The Buddhist Classic by Gil Fronsdal
14. The Way of The Bodhisattva, by Shantideva
15. Being With Dying, by Joan Halifax Roshi
16. Zen Heart by Ezra Bayda
17. Hitching Rides With Buddha, by Will Feruson
18. Say You Are One Of Us, by Uwem Akpan

My list is by no means complete, but all of the above have had a profound and lasting impression on me this year. And when this all gets a little too heavy, there's always Alexander McCall Smith, Scottish author extraordinaire who tells stories about Isabel Dalhousie, Precious Ramotswe and a host of vivid characters who always give me a reason to make a cup of tea, fall into my big striped chair in the kitchen and simply indulge by love for great fiction!

If you read any of these books, please let me know what you think!
And 2010 has a few more weeks left--next up? Patti Smith's Just Kids. I think it will be in Hotei's Bag.
Happy Reading!

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