cover image Sadness, Love, Openness

Sadness, Love, Openness

Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. Shambhala, $15.95 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-61180-488-1

Tibetan Buddhist abbot Nyima (Present Fresh Wakefulness) introduces the key concepts of Buddhism in this accessible beginner’s guide. In the opening section, on sadness, he explains how the rejection of impermanence causes all suffering before ending with a nice summation of the Buddhist route to ultimate truth through a clear understanding of the interdependence of all things. The next section, on love, offers suggestions on how to work through suffering with meditations to increase compassion and clear descriptions of how broadly one’s love must extend: “become a loving servant, savior, and friend to all beings.” Though the instructions are vague and will require more personal support, there are plenty of provocative ideas to mull over. The final section on openness exhorts those aspiring to enlightenment to not become competitive or fixated on progress and to let go of their firm grip on the way things seem. Indirect connections between paragraphs throughout never make the work feel jumbled; instead, Nyima’s nonlinear approach feels like the organic wisdom of a dear friend. Somewhere between a preliminary guidebook and fine-spun philosophy, this comforting volume succeeds as an easy introduction to Buddhist thinking and practice. (July)