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Lions Roar : September 2014
reinterpreted, ignored, and hailed. The colorful characters on these pages include Vivekananda and Krishnamacharya, two giants in modern yoga, as well as liter- ary figures such as T.S. Eliot. There is also Alberuni, a Muslim scientist and scholar who translated a commentary on the Yoga Sutra a thousand years ago, and the outrageous Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, who fused the principles of the Yoga Sutra with Western ideas of the occult. THE HEART OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION The Buddha’s Way of Mindfulness By Nyanaponika Thera Weiser Books 2014; 288 pp., $18.95 (paper) The late Nyanaponika Thera was a German-born Theravada monk who cofounded the Buddhist Publication Society. He was the teacher of Bhikkhu Bodhi and other contemporary Western Buddhist leaders, and his book The Heart of Buddhist Meditation, first published in 1954, was instrumental in introduc- ing Vipassana and mindfulness to the West. As Sylvia Boorstein remarks in the foreword of this reprint: “Apart from the meticulous yet accessible writing style with which the venerable Nyanaponika builds every point, I feel a warmth and friendliness in his tone that makes me feel as if he is talking to me.” The Heart of Buddhist Meditation includes the highly influential Maha-Satipatthana-Sutta and the Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness, as well as an anthology of other texts on right mindfulness, which have been translated from Pali and San- skrit with notes. particularly interested in the material that relates to his Zen practice. In one televi- sion interview from 1997, Cohen shows journalist Stina lundberg Dabrowski a slice of his life at Mount Baldy Zen Cen- ter in California. He offers her a nip of whiskey, shows her the correct posture for meditation, and explains why he sees his monastic residence as a “kind of hospital up here in the mountains.” He’d always felt a chronic dissatisfaction, even anguish, and nothing really helped. Finally, he was driven to the cure of Zen. “You learn how to sit,” he says, “you learn how to walk, you learn how to eat, you learn how to be quiet... And you have the opportunity for self-reform.” Besides, he adds, without this discipline “I’d be lying in bed watch- ing television, scratching myself.” THE YOGA SUTRA OF PATANJALI A Biography By David Gordon White Princeton university Press 2014; 288 pp., $24.95 (cloth) With roughly seventeen million people regularly attending yoga classes in the United States, yoga studios are crank- ing out teachers. The required reading in almost all of the teacher training pro- grams is the same ancient text: the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. This is curious, because the lion’s share of today’s yoga classes are almost exclusively focused on postures, stretching, and breathing, yet the Yoga Sutra’s 195 abstruse aphorisms say next to nothing about these practices. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography is a lively account of this sutra’s unlikely history and how it has variously been interpreted, H P D: Teachings on the Eight Worldly Dharmas By Lama Zopa Rinpoche Edited by Gordon McDougall $10 “Buddhism is a house full of treasures— practices for gaining the happiness of future lives, the bliss of liberation and the supreme happiness of enlightenment— but knowing the difference between Dharma and non-Dharma is the key that opens the door to all those treasures.” —Lama Zopa Rinpoche Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive po box 636, lincoln, ma 01773