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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2009 92 The PArADox of Becoming by thanissaro bhikkhu Metta Forest Monastery, 2008; 186 pp., free (paper) the concept of “becoming” is a central but still subtle topic in the buddhist tradition. Most simply, it describes the process by which the mind creates itself. and by unraveling that tendency, the buddha preached, we are released from suffering. there’s probably no one better than thanissaro bhikkhu, a doctrinal and intellectual heavyweight in american buddhism, to try to explain the process of becoming. the strategy, says thanissaro bhikkhu, pointing to scripture from the pali canon, is to “create a state of becoming in the mind from which one can watch the potentials of kamma as they come into being, but without fueling the desire to do anything with regard to these potentials at all.” in other words, “don’t just do something, sit there!” You’ll have to read the whole book to realize why, coming from thanissaro bhikkhu, that’s not a glib statement. wAke uP: A Life of the Buddha by Jack Kerouac Viking, 2008; 146 pp., $24.95 (cloth) The DhArmA Bums by Jack Kerouac Viking, 2008; 224 pp., $15 (paper) in 1954, years before his breakthrough success with On the road, Jack Kerouac toiled in the obscurity of public libraries, poring over buddhist writings. the creative result was Wake Up, a Ker- ouac-styled biography of the historical buddha. it was published posthumously in serialized form in tricycle between 1993 and 1995. its issue this year, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the Dharma Bums, marks its first publication in book form. if you’re a collector, you can pick up a commemorative edition of the Dharma Bums, Kerouac’s semi-fictional chronicle of his west Coast adventures with poet–naturalist Gary snyder and the rest of the beat gang. the novel provides a loose paper trail of Kerouac’s deep, but ultimately fleeting, interest in buddhism. Dharma Bums never received the positive critical acclaim of On the road and by unhappy circumstance, its publication coincided with a parting of ways for Kerouac and many of his beat contemporaries. The inner TrADiTion of YogA A guide to Yoga Philosophy for the contemporary Practitioner by Michael stone Shambhala Publications, 2008; 256 pp.; $16.95 (paper) while yoga has exploded in popularity in the last decade, many of the tradition’s leading practitioners have been working to cor- rect a persistent misunderstanding about yoga—that it is a prac- tice that works only with the body. add Michael stone—a young yoga teacher, buddhist practitioner, and psychotherapist—to that list. stone’s thoughtful and thorough presentation of yo- gic philosophy and buddhist psychology, as it relates to work- ing with the mind/body, will resonate with novices and veterans from both traditions. ♦