Sunday, January 01, 2017

Best book of 2016

The runners up are Radical Dharma, Time To Stand Up and The Buddha's Wife.

In an age when legitimate concerns are ghettoized in "identity politics" I relish the the black and women's voice. It is a time for political activism, time to stand up. It is a time to work together in connection. These three books begin to shore up the lack of black and women's voices, and suggest a path of activism, or literally discuss engaged buddhism, needed now more than ever since we have a president elect who seems to steam past anything but his limited selfish concerns. I hope I'm not put on an FBI watch list for saying this, but I think he's already done enough to be impeached. I hope he doesn't send some goons out here to punish my dissension against his views. Many say give him a chance, but he's already shown who he is. His New Year's Tweet contained more warning than love. But I digress.

The winner of the 2016 Going For Refuge Blog Book Award (GFRBBA) is Great Faith, Great Wisdom. Also available is the author reading the sutras the book is about. This book follows up on the excellent The Art of  Reflection, which won the 2011 GFRBBA. Ratnaguna has a great talk on Free Buddhist Audio.

I liked Great Faith, Great Wisdom because it discussed the pure land sutras in a way the modern Buddhist who is an ecumenical Buddhist can appreciate. An ecumenical Buddhist is one who takes the whole of the Buddhist corpus as their inspiration, every school, throughout history. Is there one Buddhism, or many Buddhisms? I'll table that debate for another post.

Past Winners Include: 2012, 2015. Turns out I haven't been as consistent about the GFRBBA as I wanted to be, since 2004. Since I don't always use labels, it's hard to search it up.

Other notable mentions for 2016 include Subhuti's Mind In Harmony. Just go look at a video of Subhuti on YouTube, and you'll see his passion. He really writes from experience, he teaches all over the world, going to places like India and Turkey. But looking into it, I think it came out in 2015.

Eight Step Recovery is also a quite notable addition to the corpus of recovery Buddhism. Kevin Griffith is the standard with One Breath At A Time, but Eight Step Recovery presents a purely Buddhist approach without any other recovery philosophies like AA.

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