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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 94 GANDHI The Man, His People, and the Empire By Rajmohan Gandhi University of California Press, 2008; 759 pp., $34.95 (cloth) Among the many books on the father of modern India, this biogra- phy, penned by his grandson Rajmohan, an historian and research professor at the University of Illinois, offers something unique. Draw- ing on material from the family archives, as well as quotes from his grandfather’s autobiography, columns, and correspondence, the au- thor portrays the changes in thought and attitude that marked Gan- dhi’s development from a shy student to a bold political and spiritual leader. Because Rajmohan Gandhi is thoroughly familiar with both Mahatmsa Gandhi and his epoch (Rajmohan Gandhi’s other books include biographies of two of the Mahatma’s allies in the indepen- dence movement, a study of Indian Muslims, and a broad history of South Asia), this may well turn out to be the definitive work on the beliefs and relationships that formed the core of Mohandas Gandhi. BUDDHISM FOR BUSY PEOPLE Finding Happiness in an Uncertain World By David Michie Snow Lion Publications, 2008; 233 pp., $14.95 (paper) For those who have been searching for a sincere, accessible introduc- tion to Tibetan Buddhism—specifically, the Lam Rim (gradual path) teachings—this is your book. In Buddhism for Busy People, David Michie, an Australian communications consultant and “non-pro- fessional” Buddhist, describes his growing interest in Buddhism and the small steps that resulted in profound changes in his life, Michie employs storytelling and humor without being falsely enthusiastic or superficial. Buddhism is practical and helpful to the busy person, but, unlike other self-help systems, its profound effect on the way you think has deeper implications. “Even if we come to the dharma look- ing only for a few tools to help make ourselves happier,” says Michie, “we stumble on an altogether different understanding of reality.” PLANT SEED, PULL WEED Nurturing the Garden of Your Life By Geri Larkin HarperOne, 2008; 208 pp., $22.95 (cloth) Author and Zen priest Geri Larkin has had success in wooing non- Buddhist readers with her wry humor and shrewd observations about contemporary life (see Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and The Chocolate Cake Sutra). In Plant Seed, Pull Weed, Larkin turns her attention to gardening as a contemplative practice and pathway to spiritual growth—and as a window onto life itself. Life as gardening is hardly an original metaphor (most famously employed by Peter Sellers’ Chauncey Gardner in Being There), but Larkin breathes fresh life into it with anecdotes, insights, and enjoyable prose. Drawing on themes from Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva, such as the cultivation of calmness, courage, gen- erosity, patience, and joy, Larkin encourages us to focus on the “small doings” in life that reap great rewards. Her focus on pres- ent-moment awareness and being “as wise and compassionate as we can be, right where we are” will resonate with all readers. ♦ Norman Fischer presents his reinterpretation of Odysseus’s familiar wanderings as lessons for our own journeys through life. “ We all sail across the wine-dark sea, and Sailing Home gives humane, wise instruction for our voyage. In these pages, Zen master and poet Norman Fischer, beloved for his forthright honesty and kind heart, guides us to understand our own odyssey.” — Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart www.simonsays.com SEPT 80-99.indd 94 SEPT 80-99.indd 94 7/3/08 1:34:58 PM 7/3/08 1:34:58 PM