cover image Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living

Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living

Allan Lokos, . . Penguin/Tarcher, $13.95 (226pp) ISBN 978-1-58542-781-9

Simple exercises based on the 10 paramis (paramitas), or perfections, described in Buddhist philosophy are scattered throughout the pages of this short book. Lokos, founder of New York’s nonsectarian Community Meditation Center and an interfaith minister, has studied with teachers from various Buddhist traditions; he offers eclectic anecdotes and personal reflections on such virtues as generosity, patience, loving kindness, and truthfulness. The author is proficient at identifying ordinary choices—making a phone call, passing a street person asking for money—that can contribute to spiritual growth. Gentle and compassionate practices range from the specific (“sincerely praise others’ words or deeds”) to the general (“don’t hold grudges”). However, simple truths and profound Buddhist insights such as impermanence and interdependence jostle with clichés and self-help platitudes. Some unfortunately chosen examples (Lokos illustrates “relinquishing” with giving up his weekend home) weaken this earnest, well-meaning book. Readers new to daily practices may find these snippets useful; others may want to dig more deeply into the many excellent books on Buddhist mindfulness training. (Feb.)