Teaching and Study Resources
I am a reader and I have been so since I was very young. What I consider to be a good book is one in which the author inspires me to question and investigate further in the laboratory of my own life experience. It may sound strange to some but I have never approached reading as being primarily a way of accumulating information. Worthwhile reading feels more like meeting with an interesting person – a stimulating mind. Through this meeting we are transformed in a multitude unexpected of ways. Reading can catalyse question. Question, held in the space of contemplation, can transform our experience of the world. It can lead to an increased sense of beauty and understanding. In a sensitive and aware space, a book can be a teacher inspiring new ways of thinking or triggering fresh lines of enquiry.
I often have a number of books on the go at any one time. Usually some dharma text, which I’ll tend to read in the quiet, early hours of the morning. This kind of reading can serve as a puja in that it raises pithy questions which then bubble along during the day. In addition to this I will often have some scientific work which I usually find myself reading in the day when I’m awake and the daylight is all around. Accompanying these is a work of fiction, biography, history or social comment, that I can pick up and put down. I will often read a bit of this before retiring. Having a number of books on the go at any one time, seems to deepen the appreciation of interconnectedness of all disciplines and all phenomena.
I am often asked how I came across the books I read. Some are gifts. Sometimes they are recommended by friends. Many are serendipitous finds. I frequent second hand bookshops! Over the years, a habit I have developed is to read the acknowledgments, footnotes and bibliographies in books that I find particularly stimulating. I reason that if an author I have appreciated has found another author to be worthwhile and interesting, then I might also find that author’s approach interesting.
Much of my life has been spent in retreat settings away from libraries and I long ago decided that books came into the category of nourishment, like food, so I decided to not skimp when it came to buying books that I was interested in. Amazon.com was a great help when it came on line, however, I have recently been buying books from www.betterworldbooks.com They have an extensive selection of second hand books. Their prices are reasonable and they use their profits to further literacy throughout the world. I recommend them.
Here are a few author’s names and titles of books, texts, DVDs and websites that I have found particularly stimulating. Many of them are resources that have moved me in the past. It is certainly not an extensive list but I hope it might inspire some adventures in understanding. I will endeavor to update this list with titles as I bump into them.
Archive of Books, DVDs and Website Resources
These recommendations are listed sometimes by title and sometimes by author. When it says writings or translations by ………. , it is indicating that I have appreciated that writer’s approach and recommend his or her work. I list only some of their titles to get you started.