The Bodhi Tree Grows in L.A.: Tales of a Buddhist Monk in America

Bhante Walpola Piyananda, Author . Shambhala $14.95 (180p) ISBN 978-1-59030-568-3

Piyananda, a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk who came to America decades ago, tells simple stories about people with problems he has counseled in the course of his tenure at a Theravada Buddhist temple in Los Angeles. The problems are common: anorexia, gambling, anger, illness. The simplicity of his storytelling belies the depth of his knowledge of Buddhist sutras, which he invariably applies in resolving whatever problem is presented to him. But he is a student of human nature as well as scripture. His school of Buddhist practice spends relatively less time on meditation, leaving time to encounter problems with compassion and to work on cultivating virtuous conduct. The author’s tone is both cheerful and compassionate; he is the kind of clergy one would hope to find at every church, temple or mosque. Some Buddhist students will wonder where the focus on enlightenment went; others will find refreshing proof of the power of compassion and of the wisdom of the Buddha for daily life and its vicissitudes. (June 10)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
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