Book reviews

Ippen’s Pure Land

Pure Land Buddhism is one of the major schools in the East, yet has hardly made a dent here. I remember once hearing it being described as too ‘Christian’ for Westerners, yet almost all of the other schools encompass the notion of a Pure Land in some way or other. Even in Theravada the three Refuges can easily be interpreted in a Pure Land way. The very essence of it is that one is taking refuge…

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama on the Run (1904-1906)

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama fled from the British invasion of Tibet to Mongolia in search of support from Russia. Although the mission failed, his extended sojourn in Mongolia marked the beginning of political modernity in both Mongolia and Tibet. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama on the Run is a facsimile collection comprising 150 hitherto unpublished archival documents from Mongolia about this historical episode…

Discovering the Text of Hui Hai, by John Blofeld

Back in my room, which even at midday was rather dark, I lighted a red votive candle and began idly glancing through the pages of the old gentleman’s gift. It proved to be a reprint of an eighth-century (T’ang dynasty) text composed by the Ch’an Master Hui Hai, together with a selection of his dialogues with his disciples…

Let Go of Fire, by Ajahn Sumedho

The human habit of clinging to desire is ingrained. We in the West think of ourselves as sophisticated and educated, but when we really begin to see what is going on in our minds, it is rather frightening-most of us are horribly ignorant…