Our latest newsOn Wed, 20 April, 2022 - 11:45
Today we’re offering a sneak peek into another of the upcoming volumes in Sangharakshita’s Complete Works, and the next instalment in our Team Picks series, where members of the Windhorse Publications team review a Windhorse book that they’ve enjoyed reading. We also have news about a popular book of Sangharakshita’s that’s now back in print.
Sneak peek: Through Buddhist Eyes
The next three volumes in The Complete Works of Sangharakshita are due for publication in late July / early August. A few weeks ago we took a look at Volume 12, A New Buddhist Movement II, and today it’s the turn of Volume 24, Through Buddhist Eyes.
Through Buddhist Eyes continues Sangharakshita’s five volumes of memoirs. Covering journeys across five continents and two decades, this volume is made up of nineteen travel letters and one talk. They are Sangharakshita’s heartfelt communications to the growing membership of the new Buddhist movement he founded: the Triratna Buddhist Order.
The journey begins with Sangharakshita’s return to India in 1979 after an absence of twelve years. There, the vision of Buddhism he longed to see in the land of the Buddha’s birth was already coming to fruition in the movement initiated by Dr Ambedkar. It was to remain a constant theme throughout his subsequent thought and writing. The growing network of friendships, teams and communities that make up this pioneering Buddhist movement then come alive in a late twentieth-century world of airports and motorways, of Beat poets, vegetarian pizzas, counter-culture and visionary social activism.
But the travel letters also have a deeper significance; these are, above all, spiritual communications. Whether awed by works of artistic brilliance or enveloped in moods of contemplation, Sangharakshita responds with a combination of keen observation and an ever-present imaginative engagement. Sangharakshita delights in culture, in art and particularly in literature in his letters. This volume supplements the accounts of his adventures with over 800 endnotes detailing the lives and achievements of artists, poets, writers, musicians, philosophers and members of the Triratna Buddhist Order that he references, plus twenty maps and illustrations.
Part reflection, part travelogue, part chronicle of a vibrant new spiritual movement, Through Buddhist Eyes opens a window on the inner life and the outer world of Urgyen Sangharakshita, one of the greatest Buddhist teachers of the twentieth century.
As with all Complete Works volumes, Through Buddhist Eyes will be available in hardback, paperback and eBook editions.
Team picks: Helen Lewis on Vajradevi’s Uncontrived Mindfulness
In our Team Picks feature this week, Windhorse team member Helen Lewis writes about Uncontrived Mindfulness by Vajradevi.
The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is one of the most well-known and influential scriptures in the Buddhist tradition. In it, the Buddha lays out an approach to the practice of meditation and mindfulness which he describes as ‘the direct path’ to complete freedom from suffering. Vajradevi has been a dedicated practitioner of this approach for over twenty years, and in Uncontrived Mindfulness she shares her wealth of experience to provide an accessible practice manual for anyone interested in deepening awareness, developing wisdom and reducing suffering.
While some approaches to mindfulness (including the secular mindfulness movement) emphasise awareness alone, Vajradevi also emphasises the importance of the wisdom perspective, what the Buddha called ‘right view’, which is essential if the practice is to become a springboard towards insight and liberation.
Vajradevi explains how Satipaṭṭhāna practice helps us to become less caught up in the ever-changing objects of experience and draws our attention to the nature of awareness itself. We don’t have to wait for the ‘right’ experience to come along. Any experience at all can be an opportunity to apply curiosity and develop wisdom. The practice is not just for the meditation cushion; you can carry it into all aspects of your life, whatever you’re doing. This is one of the reasons why the practice is potentially so powerful.
Vajradevi is a warm and reassuring guide, illustrating teaching points with personal stories from her many years of practice. She provides progressive mindfulness exercises throughout the book, and has also recorded a series of guided meditations, which are available as free audio downloads.
Some teachers’ approaches to Satipaṭṭhāna practice are highly structured. While this might be helpful for some, I prefer Vajradevi’s gentle, more naturalistic approach, and her emphasis on relaxation and allowing. I’ve already read Uncontrived Mindfulness twice, and I’ve recently started on a third reading. I’m sure it will be a book I’ll keep coming back to again and again. Thank you, Vajradevi!
Our latest reprint
We’re pleased to let you know that we’ve just reprinted Wisdom Beyond Words, Sangharakshita’s much-loved commentary on three sutras from the Perfection of Wisdom tradition.