The Pure Joy of Being
An Illustrated Introduction to the Story of the Buddha and the Practice of Meditation
By Fabrice Midal
Shambhala Publications 2017; 176 pp., $24.95 (cloth)
French philosopher and meditation teacher Fabrice Midal is well aware that the life of the Buddha, as it’s traditionally told, is heavily mixed with myth. Nonetheless, Midal believes that it has a profound spiritual meaning, one that can guide us in our own lives and practice. Part one of The Pure Joy of Being unpacks Siddhartha Gautama’s life and those of his first disciples. Part two explores the significance of bodhisattvas, “the heroes of enlightenment,” including Kannon, Tara, and Samantabhadra. Part three presents the Buddha not as someone who lived long ago, but rather as a state that can be discovered through meditation. And finally, part four focuses on some of the greatest Buddhist masters in history, showing us how the teachings live on. This book includes meditation practices, questions to ponder, and stunning examples of Buddhist art. The foreword is by Jack Kornfield.