Reviews

The Wilds of Poetry

· Reviews · , , ,

Media Review
THE WILDS OF POETRY:
Adventures in Mind and Landscape

by David Hinton
Shambhala Publications
Review by Peter Pitzele

A single word runs like a fissure through the short essays that introduce us to the poets collected by David Hinton in The Wilds of Poetry: Adventures in Mind and Landscape: “contact”. These poets, Hinton demonstrates, share a set of common philosophical assumptions that derive from the Taoist-Ch’an tradition, his field of expertise. That tradition entered the slipstream of American culture after the Second World War and affected the diverse fields of dance, theater, music, ceramics, the visual arts, philosophy, and poetry. Hinton traces the threads of influence and affinities among his selected poets, all of whom were wrestling with the American language to demonstrate into what he refers to again and again as “contact.” That is, the direct experience of the world unmediated by thought and interpretation.

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Buddhist Economics

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Media Review
BUDDHIST ECONOMICS:
An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science

by Clair Brown Ph.D.
Bloomsbury Press
Review by Lillian Childress

buddhist economicsWhat would a world look like where the rules of economics were governed by Buddhist principles?
Clair Brown has set out to imagine such a world, drawing on her experience as an economics professor at University of California Berkeley and a longtime Tibetan Buddhist practitioner. Her book offers us the promise of laying out a road map to “an enlightened approach to the dismal science”

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A Plea for the Animals

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Media Review
A Plea for the Animals

The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Imperative
to Treat All Beings with Compassion

by Mathieu Ricard
Shambhala Publications

A Plea for the AnimalsAhimsa, the Sanskrit word for non-harming, is an elemental attribute of the Buddha’s teaching. The concept of “harm,” in and of itself, is not mysterious. It manifests when we needlessly inflict damage, pain, or suffering on any patchwork in the fabric of reality. Later Buddhism codified the notion of saving all sentient beings as an outgrowth of this non-harming. All beings with sentience or consciousness—or to put it in more biological terms, with a spinal column—are able to demonstrate their desire to live their own destinies, their own lives. And this is where Matthieu Ricard, former scientist now an ordained Tibetan monastic, begins his exploration of our relationship with the animal world: if we, not as Buddhists but as a species (a species of animal, in fact), place value on the moral sanctity of life, how do we continue to justify the imprisonment, torture, and murder of billions of fellow sentient beings each and every day?

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Social and Communal Harmony

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Media Review
The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony

Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Wisdom Publications

As we are often reminded, we do not get to pick the conditions of the time and place we were born into. I ask myself how can I use the conditions rather than let them use me? As the Buddha states in the Five Remembrances, “I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, actions are the womb, actions are my relations, actions are my protection.

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How to Take a Stand Without Taking Sides

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Earth Initiative, Reviews · ,

An Annotated List of Digital Resources for Informed Community Action, Resistance, and Renewal

I have never been one to get involved in politics. As a journalist I definitively steer clear of anything that could be construed as activism or partisanship. In Buddhism, taking action in the face of injustice can pose a similar question: how to do this in keeping with one’s bodhisattva vows of non-harming, yet without being partisan?

“When we engage with worldly politics, we try not to take sides,” Phap Dung, a Thich Nhat Hanh disciple, said in a recent interview. “It’s easy to choose a side, but as Buddhist practitioners we try to have more inclusiveness.”

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Good Karma

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Media Review
How to Create the Causes of Happiness and Avoid the Causes of Suffering

By Thubton Chodron
Shambhala Publications, 2016fall16-good-karma

Despite the “how-to” title, this is not a conventional “build it yourself” manual for constructing a problem-free life starting with the usual messy ingredients like divorce, illness, or bankruptcy. Rather it is a penetrating meditation on an epic poem, The Wheel of Weapons Striking at Vital Points of the Enemy by the 9th century Indian scholar Dharmarakshita. It is hereafter titled (in the Tibetan style) The Wheel of Sharp Weapons.

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What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other

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Media Review
What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice

By Wen Stephenson
Beacon Press, 2015

what we re fighting for now is each otherWen Stephenson shines a bright light on the emerging climate-justice movement in his new book What We’re Fighting for Now is Each Other. He weaves together the stories and voices of people who, having grasped the reality of climate change and its implications, are coming together in action. He integrates his passionate personal journey with quotes drawn from his conversations with more than a hundred people involved in the struggle for climate justice.

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The Intelligent Heart

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Media Review
The Intelligent Heart: A Guide to the Compassionate Life

By Dzigar Kongtrul, Rinpoche
Shambhala Publications 2016

the intelligent heartThe transformative practice of tonglen, described as “the exchange of self and other,” is the subject of this book. The author, a contemporary teacher in the west with deep roots in Tibetian monastic training, takes us in a very systematic fashion through a series of lojong (mind transformation) teachings designed to help us diminish our own sense of self importance and shift towards extending bodhicitta compassion to others.

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Image Courtesy of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change

How to Let Go of the World

· Earth Initiative, Reviews · ,

Media Review: How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change

Directed by Josh Fox
Premiering on HBO, June 2016

In the beginning there was dancing. But before we get to that, we need to go back even further: In the beginning there was the Marcellus, a geologic formation of black shale that dates back to the mid-Devonian age and undergirds a wide swath of mid-Atlantic Appalachian terrain. Shale traps deposits of natural gas deep underground and it was this resource that in 2008 brought energy speculators to the rural homestead of Josh Fox. Eight years later, one can only wonder if the investors now regret having knocked on that particular door.

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