bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,
bobby1933
bobby1933

Bare Essential Reading


Survival kits rarely include books, unless they are books on first aid, survival, edible plants, etc.  Yet we do not live on bread alone, and some of us insist on having something to read even in the most extreme circumstances.  Etty Hillesum had to pack a survival kit when she became an inmate at Westerbork (a collection camp for people being "transported to Auschwitz).  Among her very meager packings were six books The Bible, Rilke's  Book of Hours, an Letters to a Young Poet two small Russian dictionaries, and Dostoyevsky' The Idiot.  Had she a larger bag, i'm sure she would have taken more Rilke, Carl Jung' Symbols of Transformation Saint Augustine's Confessions and even more Rilke.  The Russian dictionaries were there because she was a Slavic scholar. The other books were for her spiritual journey.  She inspires me to read St. Augustine Symbols of Transformation, and much more Rilke.  

What if i had to pack for such a difficult journey?  Would i have the sense to bring books?  Which one's would i bring.

First, Th Tao Te Ching - The classic on the Way and its virtue.on how to live a good life.

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew - or the sermon on the mount, the great parables of the prodigal son and the good Samaritan, and the Works of Mercy.
the most practical guide to living in accordance with the Way.

Th Dhammapada -- llegedly the actual words of the Buddha to his closest disciples.  Another good guide on the Way, and beautifully written.

Since i probably can't download the entire contents of poetrychaikhana.com, a compendium of sacred poetry from all over, i will content myself with Stephen Mitchell' The Enlightened Heart.

And i could go on: maybe Surya Das on Buddhism, Rumi's Mashnavi, The Cloud of Unknowing or Etty Hillesum's diary
Tags: books, cloud of unknowing, personal life, rumi, spiritual direction, tao te ching
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