cover image The Four Noble Truths: A Guide to Everyday Life

The Four Noble Truths: A Guide to Everyday Life

Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Wisdom, $17.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-61429-394-1

Using a mix of personal stories, familiar fables, simple analogies, and a touch of gentle humor, Zopa (How to Enjoy Death), a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, skillfully explains how Buddhism’s four noble truths (suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path to end suffering) offer hope for genuine happiness. As cofounder of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, Zopa is well positioned to illustrate the Buddhist view that delusion and karma (which literally means action) operate to perpetuate suffering through multiple lifetimes. In a sometimes stern tone, he explains that circumstances in one’s life are the result of actions in this life or previous lives, and that negative karma can lead to rebirth in the nonhuman realms. A well-organized master class based on 45 years of Zopa’s teachings, the book covers a range of key Buddhist ideas such as the five aggregates and interdependent origination. He also explains the basic Mahayana tradition of pursuing enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. Though treatments of some complex topics—such as Vajrayana and the path of tantra—are hard to follow, this useful book clearly explains the Buddhist belief that the mind creates suffering through the mistaken notion of the self’s inherent existence. Buddhists and readers looking to understand the four noble truths better will get much out of Zopa’s book. (July)