Summer readings that inspire

“Compassion for ourselves gives rise to the power to transform resentment into forgiveness, hatred into friendliness, and fear into respect for all beings.”
Jack Kornfield

Although the summer is coming to a close, there is still time to sit down in a comfortable chair or by the Bay to enjoy, as well as be inspired by, two books that might be the very bridge to take you into a happy autumn.
This summer I was fortunate to have spent three days with one of the world’s finest spiritual/eco writers and activists, Satish Kumar. I had followed Satish’s work in Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, and when I had the opportunity to be part of a small gathering that included Satish it enabled me to further understand the depth of his thoughts regarding our planet.

Born in India 78 years ago he left his family when he was 9 to spend 9 years living in a monastery. Inspired by Gandhi’s vision of peace and non-violence he walked penniless for 8,000 miles to deliver the message for a nuclear-free Earth.

Satish’s deep interest in Buddhism is reflected in his vast writings and discussions. soil_soul_societySoil, Soul, Society: a new trinity for our time” is his latest book to help turn a world away from violence. By expanding the notion of non-violence between people (Society) to embrace the Earth community (Soil) as well as the individual’s spiritual life (Soul), Satish is able to do something quite remarkable: all of life is brought into a sacred covenant to pursue happiness. Speciesism, or the assumption of human superiority and dominance over other species, the author reminds us, has brought us to the crises we now find ourselves facing. Reminding us that we are part of a benevolent universe that gives freely to support life, Satish relates how he gently confronted modern western society’s vision of globalization when he was invited to speak to the students of the London School of Economics. Often western society believes that business is the salvation for this planet, but by doing so it forgets the very foundation for business to take place: ecology. We learn that ecology is not taught at the LSE, and so Satish asked that the school be renamed the London School of Ecology and Economics to reflect a healthy curriculum.

buddhist-offeringsOne of the finest photography/quotation books on Tibet, India, Bhutan and Nepal is called “Buddhist Offerings 365 Days” by Danielle and Olivier Follmi. The authors are renowned for their incredible portraits of Himalayan life. Humans are intrinsically part of their landscape, and this magnificent collage of all forms of life is balanced with insightful quotes from people including the 14th Dalai Lama, Jack Kornfield and Arnaud Desjardins among others. The book is a true celebration of happiness. Desjardins is quoted:”The law commands us to do what we would do naturally if we only had love. The Way consists of finding that love, which then becomes the law.”

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