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Lions Roar : January 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 83 BY ANDREA MILLER Books in Brief BRINGING HOME THE DHARMA Awakening Right Where You Are By Jack Kornfield Shambhala Publications 2011; 304 pp., $24.95 (cloth) A LAMP IN THE DARKNESS Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times By Jack Kornfield Sounds True 2011; 248 pp., $19.95 (cloth) Jack Kornfield, who trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma, and India, is a founder of both Insight Meditation Soci- ety and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. His previous books, including A Path With Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, have sold more than a million copies. Now he has two new books out. Bringing Home the Dharma, a synthesis of twenty-five years of Kornfield’s writings, has a wide scope— everything from par- enting to drugs to the nature of enlightenment. “All aspects of your life are your field of practice,” Kornfield says in the intro- duction. “This very life, your work, your family, your community is the only place for awakening.” A Lamp in the Darkness, which includes a CD, will be especially appealing to readers who are dealing with difficult situations. According to Kornfield, we each have “one who knows,” a witnessing consciousness that is calm, clear, and accepting, even in the face of illness, loss, or depres- sion. The meditations and teachings in A Lamp in the Darkness will help readers begin to trust this life force and thereby trans- form their difficulties. ECOMIND Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want By Frances Moore Lappé Nation Books 2011; 304 pp., $26 (cloth) Several years ago, Frances Moore Lappé, author of the ground- breaking Diet for a Small Planet, participated in a conference on the global environmental crisis. But instead of leaving the con- ference pumped up to put into practice new tools for helping the planet, she left feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, and she suspected a lot of other people felt the same way. Such feelings, says Lappé, prevent us from taking action, and we can’t afford inaction. The environmental crisis is grave and we need all hands on deck to survive it. But—and she’s very clear about this—we can survive it. In EcoMind, Lappé argues that the first thing we need to do to effect change is to transform our way of thinking. There are seven “thought-traps” that keep us paralyzed and pow- erless, but there are seven contrasting “thought-leaps” that could enable us to find green solutions. This is an empowering, hope- ful book, full of examples of how a wide range of communities have solved environmental problems. THE WAY OF NATURAL HISTORY Edited by Thomas Lowe Fleischner Trinity University Press 2011; 204 pp., $16.95 (paper) The Way of Natural History is an anthology of nature writing with a contemplative bent. Its editor, Thomas Lowe Fleischner, says it is probably not coincidental that the Buddha reached enlighten- ment while seated under a tree. “Natural history and mindfulness,” he says, “are two surfaces of the same leaf, a seamless merging of attentiveness outward and inward.” Some people find it easier to look inward, others to look outward. But in either case, the practice of mindful attention is the same and the two practices are comple- mentary. Contributors to this handsome volume include Zen poet Jane Hirshfield and Zen master Robert Aitken, an important voice for socially engaged Buddhism who died in 2010. A PROFOUND MIND Cultivating Wisdom in Everyday Life By the Dalai Lama Harmony Books 2011; 160 pp., $23 (cloth) A Profound Mind is based on talks the Dalai Lama gave in New York City in which he delved into the meaning of ancient texts such as the Diamond Cutter Sutra and Seventy Verses on Emptiness. I’m not trying to tell you that the final result is beach reading, but it is also not the inaccessible tome you might think. His teach- ings are clear, concise, and fresh, and they have a practical aspect. His aspiration for this book is to dispel misconceptions about Buddhism by mapping out its true beliefs, and to invite people of other faiths to incorporate into their practice any elements of