Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Library's Buddhist Collection: New Books

Even if you're not interested in Buddhism, most Haligonians have heard of Shambhala, the school they run in the city's north end, and maybe even the organization's place in the publishing world (Shambhala published two of the books in my list, below). Shambhala/Buddhism is BIG in Halifax. Zen Buddhists looking for community and guidance from a teacher can turn to the Atlantic Soto Zen Centre, among others. Beyond these two groups, your options for a Buddhist sangha in the city are somewhat narrow. As a practitioner in the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, I usually turn to books and podcasts for formal instruction.

As a source of books by Buddhist teachers, libraries are an important part of my practice. Halifax Public Libraries has a wealth of material in the Buddhist (and other faith-based) literature. I've included a few recent titles that have caught my attention, here.

Noah Levine has a new book out: The Heart of the Revolution: the Buddha's radical teachings on forgiveness, compassion, and kindness (M) (2011). Levine initiated the global Dharma Punx movement with the publication of his first book, Dharma Punx: a memoir (M), in 2003. Family friend Jack Kornfield contributed the Foreward to Levine's second book, which is described in the summary as "a hip and edgy instruction manual on how to apply Buddhist practices to daily challenges."

While I'm not a yogi myself, I am curious about the intersection between yoga and Buddhism. In Awake in the World: teachings from Yoga & Buddhism for living an engaged life (M) (2011), Michael Stone (a yoga and meditation teacher and a psychotherapist) notes the connections between yoga and Buddhist thinking with the aim of encouraging community engagement toward a more just and caring society.

Ordinary Recovery: mindfulness, alcoholism, and the path of lifelong sobriety (M) (2010) by William Alexander is a revised edition of his 1997 text, Cool Water. Tricycle Magazine hosted a discussion about the book on its website.

I'm particularly happy to see that the Library has added to its collection of books by and about women and Buddhism, including Buddhism Through American Women's Eyes (M) (2010), edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo; composed of a series of essays that explore how Buddhism relates to the reality of women's experiences. Less recent but still worth investigating is Woman Awake: women practicing Buddhism (M) (2005) by Christina Feldman, a discussion of how Buddhist practice can help women to critically reflect on the ways in which gendered socialization can limit women's social and spiritual development.


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