Handful of Leaves, Volume 5
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
The Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, 2007
419 pp.; free (paper)
Not many things in life are free, but the Buddha’s teachings are, thanks to Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s comprehensive five-volume anthology Handful of Leaves. Thanissaro, a Theravada monk and abbot of Metta Forest Monastery in Valley Center, California, spent ten years excerpting and translating suttas from the Pali canon. The last volume of his user-friendly series, complete with original introductions, footnotes, and references, concludes his project. Free copies of all five books can be requested by writing to the Sati Center Book Fund at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, 1205 Hopkins Avenue, Redwood City, CA, 94062.
Buddha Takes No Prisoners: A Meditator's Survival Guide
by Patrick Ophuls
North Atlantic Books, 2007
175 pp.; $17.95 (paper)
Like a strong cup of coffee, Patrick Ophuls’s pithy, down-to-earth guide to meditation snaps the bleary-eyed practitioner to full attention. Buddha Takes No Prisoners aims to boil Buddhist teachings down to the essentials while placing meditation in a modern context. Ophuls urges students of insight meditation not to take themselves too seriously while offering seasoned encouragement and advice. His lively metaphors (“meditation can feel like orthodontics”) make for an entertaining read, and his practical take on working toward enlightenment in daily life will appeal to novices and veterans alike.
Each Moment is the Universe: Zen and the Way of Being Time
by Dainin Katagiri
Shambhala Publications, 2007
242 pp.; $21.95 (cloth)
“When you see in the proper way, what do you see?” muses the late Japanese Zen master Dainin Katagiri at the outset of Each Moment Is the Universe. “You see the true nature of time.” Through the teachings of Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), Katagiri contemplates the meaning of impermanence, the present, and the eternal. Written with gentle candor, the book suggests that focusing on the present moment, in conjunction with a long-range view of life, allows the spiritual student “to go forward toward the future with great hope.”