Buddhadharma on Books: Summer 2024

Constance Kassor reviews the latest in Buddhist books, including The Jhanas, Buddhism Between Religion and Philosophy, and more.

Excerpt: Buddhism Between Religion and Philosophy, by Rafal Stepien

Read a brief of Buddhism Between Religion and Philosophy: Nāgārjuna and the Ethics of Emptiness by Rafal K. Stepien, and an exclusive excerpt courtesy of its publisher, Oxford University Press.

Excerpt: A Dakini’s Counsel: Sera Khandro’s Spiritual Advice and Dzogchen Instructions

Read a brief of A Dakini's Counsel: Sera Khandro's Spiritual Advice and Dzogchen Instructions by Sera Khandro, translated by Christina Lee Monson, and an exclusive excerpt courtesy of its publisher, Shambhala Publications.

Excerpt: Nagarjuna’s Precious Garland

Read a brief of Nāgārjuna's Precious Garland: Ratnāvalī by Sara McClintock and John Dunne, and an exclusive excerpt courtesy of its publisher, Wisdom Publications.

Excerpt: The Jhanas, by Shaila Catherine

Read a brief of The Jhānas: A Practical Guide to Deep Meditative States by Shaila Catherine, and an exclusive excerpt courtesy of its publisher, Wisdom Publications.

Excerpt: The Blue-Cliff Record, translated by David Hinton

Read a brief of The Blue-Cliff Record by David Hinton, and an exclusive excerpt courtesy of its publisher, Shambhala Publications.

Excerpt: A History of Uyghur Buddhism 

Read a brief of A History of Uyghur Buddhism by Johan Elverskog, and an exclusive excerpt courtesy of its publisher, Columbia University Press.

Excerpt: Lotus Girl, by Helen Tworkov

Read a brief of Lotus Girl by Helen Tworkov, and an exclusive excerpt courtesy of its publisher, St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

A collage whose pieces comprise an abstract human face

Dukkha as a Doorway to Liberation

Scott Tusa on how Buddhist ethics transcend mere morality and help us to realize awakening.

A diamond is seen refracting colored light.

Concentrating on the Work at Hand

In this excerpt from The Gift of Work (originally published as Skillful Means), the prolific Nyingma teacher Tarthang Tulku shares a plain-language exercise for concentration, as developed over his five decades interacting with Americans from various business backgrounds.

A photo of The Gates, a New York City art installation by Christo and Jeanne Caudeby.

Moving Through the Three “Karma Doors”

Vanessa Zuisei Goddard on how understanding our gateways to the world—body, speech, and mind — is key in our practice of sila.

A human figure is depicted wit its facial features obscured by high-exposure light

What Is Harmful? What Is Helpful?

Chan teacher Guo Gu on how, through practice, we awaken to the best in others and ourselves.

A Buddhist monastic holds up their saffron-colored robe

Understanding the Vinaya

Amy Paris Langenberg on the history, evolution, and modern manifestations of the training rules followed by Buddhist monastics.

Palms together as a sign of appreciation.

How Right Action and Loving-Kindness Work Together

Nikki Mirghafori on why the cultivation of good will can lead to wise action—and vice versa.

A meditator sits in practice at Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp in Poland

How the Three Tenets Help Us Live Wisely

Roshi Joan Halifax reflects on the guiding principles of the Zen Peacemaker Order, and why we all might benefit from putting them to the test.

Multicolored light is seen illuminating the palm of an opening hand

Opening to the Joy of Work

Making a living while living our values can be easier said than done, but Maia Duerr has discerned six keys for cultivating the qualities and conditions for doing abundant, cheerful, sustainable work.

A man is depicted leaning his head into a large sculpture of an ear and ear-horn

Discernment Guided by Compassion

Ryuei Michael McCormick on right speech: When should we use forceful words, or gentle ones? Or none at all?

All-Encompassing Compassion

Heidi Nevin remembers her teacher Chatral Rinpoche’s inspiring commitment to vegetarianism as part of the dharma path.

A triptych of photos depict a man sitting in a meditation posture as water rises around him

Is Our Practice Enough?

Clair Brown on how Buddhists’ vow to end suffering must go beyond the individual to a global understanding of how our suffering—and happiness—is connected to all living beings on our planet.

A woman stands at the threshold of an illuminated doorway

How Ethical Conduct Leads Buddhists to Wisdom

How might our minds find peace, and even liberation? It starts, said the Buddha, with what we do (or don’t do). Bradley Donaldson explains.