Wisdom’s Blossoms: Tales of the Saints of India by Doug Glenner and Sarat Komaragiri

Listening to one of Tara Brach’s podcasts, I heard her saysomething to the effect of, “for teachers, good stories are like gold”. She went on to say how she and her colleauges read and study trying to dig up the best stories for their classes. There is even a bit of lighthearted competition, to see who can find the best story first.

I also find my self diving into media both sacred and secular, attempting to glean something valuable, something I can sit with and savor, and something that I can share with my students.

I was thrilled to find “Wisdom’s Blossoms” in the used bookstore the other day. A lovely collection of short biorgraphies, it gives us a glimpse into the lives of many great saints, and yogis. We are treated to delightful portraits of pivotial movents that shaped our spiritual ancestors.

The authors took inspiration for this book from the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita itself is amazingly fantastic guide to yoga lifestyle and practice. A yoga teacher will probably want a couple of different translations, just to be able to look at it from different perspectives. Anyway, in Chapter 16, Krishna tells Arjuna that the devout and successful practitioner possesses certain qualities, such as “ Fearlessness, purity of heart, perserverance in aquiring knowledge and in practicing yoga, charity…Non-injury, truthfulness, freedom from wrath…radiance of character, forgiveness, patience…” (God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, Paramahamsa Yogananda).

Krishna lists 26 qualities, and there are 26 corresponding stories in ‘Blossoms’. Milarepa’s life exlemplifies perserverence, and The Buddha teaches nonviolence. Jnaneshwar, a great saint who, coincidentally, penned an inspired translation of the Bhagavad Gita, offers a lesson in modesty. The Great Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, embodies fearlessness. In a very beautiful way, the authors include both men and women, and masters from many traditions. The book is structured so that we can enjoy a single story at a time, or devour the whole book at once. Its a really nice addition to my library, and it might be to yours, as well. Enjoy!

Pick up your copy today by clicking here!

New Year, New Aquisitions

New Aquisitions

A few new books made their way into The Library recently, under some fairly auspicious circumstances.  The first two books, The Play of God: Visions of the Life of Krishna and There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing and His T’ai Chi Chuan,  I found one fine morning strolling the streets of Brooklyn.  After a delightful breakfast with a dear old friend, we wandered past three big boxes of books on the street.  There were a few other book hounds rifling through, and I just couldn’t help but take a moment.  How delightful that these two books jumped out!

I have only had the chance to briefly go through them, but it appears that ‘The Play’ takes a comprehensive view of Krishna’s entire life, sharing his exploits from His Childhood stealing butter, to his part in the fierce battle of the Mahabharata.

‘No Secrets’ is one of those totally cool spiritual memoirs written about a teacher by one of their students.  These books are fun; the students love to raise the teacher up to superhuman status, with great wisdom and mystical powers.  The Professor in this story does not disappoint.  Very enjoyable, so far.

 

The Third book, Chod in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, I found at a bookstore 50% off. Not as magical as finding it in a box on the street, but still very fortunate. I enjoy delving into the depths of Chod, in both practical and theoretical ways, and this text seems to fit the bill. Its author, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, seems to be qualified. He is pictured above, playing the traditional Chod Drum.

You can find these books here:

The Play of God: Visions of the Life of Krishna
There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing and His T’ai Chi Chuan
Chod in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche

New Aquisitions

I really enjoy books. I’ve always accumulated them quite easily, read them voraciously, and collected them doggedly. My library reached a new level several years ago when Bhagavan Das asked me to look after a few boxes of his books. There was some good stuff in there, stuff I may not have come across otherwise, and other things that I was familiar with, but just hadn’t got around to accumulating just yet. It was a quantum leap, quite satisfying. I decided to name my library, “The Bhagavan Das Library for Advanced Tantric Studies”. I thought it was official and important enough, and got back to the business of reading and collecting.
The BDLATS had another good day, about a year ago, when our dear friend Paul JJ Alix asked us to care for a portion of his collection for a spell. The excitement was lessened only slightly by the arrival of 11 boxes send C.O.D. I realized that this was the way to go. I stopped borrowing books, insisting that now, I only housed collections.
Well, we had a good day today, at the library. Nothing as fantastic as the collections we obtained from Baba or Paul, but still a solid haul. A Craigs List find. Fifteen books for $40. Mostly Chogyam Trungpa. One book by Musician John Cage. I didn’t bother haggling, and I almost always haggle. For the sport of it.
It was an easy transaction, the gentleman dropped them off at the yoga school, and said he was happy they were going to a good home. I gave him his money, and thanked him.

Here is the inventory:
Dharma Art (Dharma Ocean Series)
The Lion’s Roar: An Introduction to Tantra (Dharma Ocean Series)
The Heart of the Buddha (Dharma Ocean Series, 1)
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Library)
Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle (Dharma Ocean Series)
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet
Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism
Kundalini: Yoga For The West
Healing with Form, Energy, and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen
The Masks of God, Vol. 2: Oriental Mythology
The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology
Silence: Lectures and Writings
Trancending Madness
The Bliss of Inner Fire: Heart Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa