December 5th, 2010

Writer's Block: Ready, steady, read

What is the best book you've read this year, and why?

The best book i read this year is the same best book i read every year for the past thirty-five years.  People are certainly tired of hearing me tout the Tao Te Ching.  But i do have two candidates for second best,  Neither is a new book since i do almost all my reading off used book shelves. Awakening the Buddha Within: Eight Steps to Enlightenment,  by Lama Surya Das,  Broadway Books, 1997 is a discussion of the eightfold path by a Tibet (actually Northern India and Nepal) trained American.  The Wisdom Jesus, by Cynthia Bourgrault,  Shambhala, 2008 was written by an Episcopalian priest, an is a gnostic but thoroughly Christian interpretation of Jesus and includes some  guides to spiritual practice, including a fine discussion of "Welcoming."  And i can't omit The Jesus Sutras, by Martin Palmer, describing a thoroughly unorthodox "Taoist" Christianity (or is it Christian Taoism?) in 7th through 10th century China,

Tao Te Ching-Chapter 19: Meditation on Acttive Non-action

Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.

Give up kindness, renounce morality,
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.

Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,
And bandits and thieves will disappear.

These three are outward forms alone; they are not sufficient in themselves.
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one's true nature,
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire.

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Daily Tao - October 2nd, 2009