The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing
Monastic reading list
Here’s a sample of what I read during my stay at Wat Pah Nanachat. I’ve omitted most of the Buddhist books simply because I don’t have much to say about them.
- What the Buddha taught, by Venerable Rahula. I particularly liked the chapters on anatta (not-self, the understanding that there is no permanent, unchanging self or soul) and Buddhism in the world.
- Creative Mythology, by Joseph Campbell. Ah, the beauty of the West. This was hugely interesting and inspiring, and gave me many new titles to read. I particularly enjoyed reading about alchemical transformations sitting outside my kuṭī (hut) one evening during a thunder storm, with the only light being a restored oil lamp with glass cover and the lightning that periodically lit up every leaf on every tree I could see.
- Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. I read most of this many years ago, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read it again while I was actually living in a wooden hut in the woods.
- Mindfulness in plain English, by Bhante H. Guṇaratana Mahathera (Bhante: polite form of address, used also as a title for monks). Venerable Guṇaratana visited Wat Pah Nanachat while I was there and led a day long mettā (loving-kindness is the usual translation, but he said it was more properly loving-friendliness) retreat. He is a lovely man, an excellent and funny speaker, and the book is well worth reading.
- Toward a psychology of awakening, by John Welwood. Interesting stuff, particularly after reading Campbell. I would have liked more in the section on intimate relationships (whether lovers or master and pupil) — I thought of the way the ﻏﹷﺰﹶﻝ (ghazal, a lyric form of a lover talking amorously to his beloved) is used in qawwali to represent pupil and master or man and God. I found a brief article on the ghazal and the qawwali which covers this.
- Blessed simplicity : the monk as universal archetype, by Raimundo Panikkar. Wonderful look at the nature of traditional monasticism (characterised as blessed simplicity) and what might be emerging as a new monasticism (harmonious integration). I’d love to find any followup to this.
[Entry edited on 1 May 2003 to add rendering of ghazal in Arabic script. I don’t know how to write Arabic, so used the Unicode characters used on a sample ghazal. I don’t know if the fact that that page is in Urdu and not Arabic means that its form of the word is written differently. From the little I’ve read, the vowel markers were not historically used in Arabic. I would prefer to use the standard Unicode Arabic characters, rather than the presentation forms that I’ve copied, since that leaves the determination of different forms to the rendering engine, but there may be spacing requirements I’m unaware of that need to be specified by the author. Probably I shouldn’t even include the copied character references until I fully understand the complexities of writing Arabic, but I can’t resist.]
Posted by jamie on
April 24, 2003 09:43+12:00