cover image Wait: A Love Letter to Those in Despair

Wait: A Love Letter to Those in Despair

Cuong Lu. Shambhala, $16.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-61180-880-3

Cuong (The Buddha in Jail), a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and former prison chaplain, urges readers to not give in to anger in this eloquent work. Suffering, he asserts, cannot be avoided, and he begs those in despair to “please choose to live” and recognize that self-harm or suicide are acts of violence against everyone because individuality is an illusion. Cuong convincingly locates the roots of suffering in the failure to appreciate constant flux, particularly when people attempt to judge new moments against similar previous events. He also enjoins readers to not feed anger by patiently listening when a loved one lashes out. He closes with a consideration of false versions of happiness (money, sex, power, food, and being asleep) and the suggestion that happiness is “a by-product of living honestly” rather than something to be sought on its own. Though most of Cuong’s encouragements attempt to only reframe thinking, he does provide two meditation and breathing exercises. Cuong’s clear explanations offer hard-won hope for anyone struggling to see the bright side. [em](Feb.) [/em]