Joan Halifax, PhD, is a Buddhist teacher and an anthropologist. Her books include Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America and Being with Dying. She is the founder of the Upaya Institute in Santa Fe NM, where she now practices, teaches, and works. She is a Founding Teacher in the Zen Peacemaker Order of Roshi Bernie Glassman and the late Sensei Jishu Holmes and is a Soto priest and teacher.
Foreword author for Faces of Compassion.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
108 Metaphors for Mindfulness
This engaging and accessible little book is filled with both humor and profound teaching. It presents 108 metaphors for mindfulness, meditation practice, the nature of the self, change, deep acceptance, and other related concepts that Dr. Kozak has cultivated over twenty-five years of meditating, practicing yoga, and working as a clinical psychologist.
Metaphors are indispensable to understanding mindfulness, and to help deeply internalize it and make it a part of everyday life. These mentally catchy images can motivate us to practice, show us how and where to bring mindfulness to life in our personal experience, and help us employ powerful methods for transformation.
This book was previously published under the title Wild Chicken and Petty Tyrants.
12 Steps on Buddha’s Path
12 Steps on Buddha’s Path is an inspiring firsthand account of what happens when life seems hopeless and the miracle of finding out that it’s anything but.
The author describes her own journey of recovery from alcoholism—an astonishing passage through strange and frightening territory—and marks out the path that allowed her to emerge from that darkness as a wise and compassionate person living a life that is joyous and free. This book is a powerful and enriching synthesis of the 12-Step recovery programs and the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism. It is sure to appeal to anyone touched by addiction, including those looking for new ways to understand and work with the tried-and-true 12-Step system. Tens of millions of Americans suffer from alcoholism and other forms of dependence, and 12 Steps on Buddha’s Path offers hope and help for any one of them.
Though writing anonymously out of deep respect for 12-Step policies, the author is in fact a well-known professional author, deeply involved in the recovery and meditation communities.
A Bird in Flight Leaves No Trace
The message of the Tang-dynasty Zen text in this volume seems simple: to gain enlightenment, stop thinking there is something you need to practice. For the Chinese master Huangbo Xiyun (d. 850), the mind is enlightenment itself if we can only let go of our normal way of thinking.
The celebrated translation of this work by John Blofeld, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, introduced countless readers to Zen over the last sixty years. Huangbo’s work is also a favorite of contemporary Zen (Korean: Seon) Master Subul, who has revolutionized the strict monastic practice of koans and adapted it for lay meditators in Korea and around the world to make swift progress in intense but informal retreats. Devoting themselves to enigmatic questions with their whole bodies, retreatants are frustrated in their search for answers and arrive thereby at a breakthrough experience of their own buddha nature.
A Bird in Flight Leaves No Trace is a bracing call for the practitioner to let go and thinking and unlock the buddha within.
A Buddhist Grief Observed
In the tradition of C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, Guy Newland offers this brave record of falling to pieces and then learning to make sense of his pain and grief within his spiritual tradition. Drawing inspiration from all corners of the Buddhist world—from Zen stories and the Dalai Lama, to Pema Chödrön and ancient Pali texts—this book reverberates with honesty, kindness, and deep humanity. Newland shows us the power of responding fully and authentically to the death of a loved one.
“After the death of his beloved partner from cancer, Guy Newland finds himself asking how effective his long years of Buddhist practice have been in helping him come to terms with overwhelming grief. Weaving together a wide range of Buddhist sources, this finely written book offers a lucid meditation on what it means to practice the Dharma when everything falls apart.”—Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism without Beliefs and After Buddhism
A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency
Never before have so many teachers from all Buddhist traditions—Zen, Vajrayana, Theravada, Vipassana; from the West and the East—come together to offer a unified response to a matter of utmost urgency. This watershed volume is at the same time a clarion call to action and a bright beacon of hope.
With contributions from: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Seventeenth Karmapa, Sakya Trizin, Dudjom Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, Ato Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Robert Aitken, Joanna Macy, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Joseph Goldstein, Taigen Dan Leighton, Susan Murphy, Matthieu Ricard, Hozan Alan Senauke, Lin Jensen, and Thich Nhat Hanh.
A Classical Tibetan Reader
A Classical Tibetan Reader answers a long-standing need for well chosen readings to accompany courses in classical Tibetan language. Professor Bentor has built her Tibetan reader out of time-tested selections from texts that she has worked with while teaching classical Tibetan over the past twenty years. She has assembled here a selection of Tibetan narratives, organized to introduce students of the language to complex material gradually, and to arm them with ample reference materials in the form of glossaries customized to individual readings.
Instructors will find this reader an invaluable tool for preparing lesson plans and providing high-quality reading material to their students. Students, too, will find the selections contained in the reader engaging. Even novice readers of Tibetan will feel welcomed and encouraged, thanks to the author’s astute judgment of student capacity.
A Direct Path to the Buddha Within
Maitreya’s Ratnagotravibhāga, also known as the Uttaratantra, is the main Indian treatise on buddha nature, a concept that is heavily debated in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. In A Direct Path to the Buddha Within, Klaus-Dieter Mathes looks at a pivotal Tibetan commentary on this text by Gö Lotsāwa Zhönu Pal, best known as the author of the Blue Annals. Gö Lotsāwa, whose teachers spanned the spectrum of Tibetan schools, developed a highly nuanced understanding of buddha nature, tying it in with mainstream Mahāyāna thought while avoiding contested aspects of the so-called empty-of-other (zhentong) approach. In addition to translating key portions of Gö Lotsāwa’s commentary, Mathes provides an in-depth historical context, evaluating Gö’s position against those of other Kagyü, Nyingma, and Jonang masters and examining how Gö Lotsāwa’s view affects his understanding of the buddha qualities, the concept of emptiness, and the practice of mahāmudrā.
- Click here to return to the Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism series.
- Read Go Lotsawa’s biography at the Treasury of Lives.
A Fool’s Guide to Actual Happiness
Let’s face it: we all have a motivating drive to become “better.” What we have and who we are never seem to be good enough. This feeling that something is wrong or needs to be fixed causes us to continuously run around, chasing after what we feel will finally fulfill us.
But what if these very conditions that we are constantly trying to escape from could be used as a way to awaken ourselves—to connect with the peace already within us?
A Fool’s Guide to Actual Happiness offers a realistic roadmap for working toward inner peace without needing to be someone you’re not. With humor and refreshing simplicity, Van Buren shows how everything life throws at you, good and bad, can be used as a means to cultivate compassion, wisdom, and loving-kindness. This book allows you to explore who you are—warts and all—and gives you tools to love and accept what you find.
A Gathering of Brilliant Moons
For generations, Buddhist masters in Tibet have composed sheldam, poignant instructions tailored to the needs of their disciples in the form of short works of advice. Often difficult to find in publication, these works cover topics ranging from practicing while ill to sitting in solitary retreat to recognizing the nature of mind. This collection focuses on an influential and inspiring generation of Buddhist teachers: the nineteenth-century ecumenical, or rimé, tradition of eastern Tibet. A Gathering of Brilliant Moons provides lively translations of nineteen pithy and profound works by these great masters, along with essays by their translators which explore the aesthetic qualities of their chosen works, highlight their ecumenical features, and comment on the journey of translation.
Includes works from Jamgon Kongtrul, Dza Patrul Rinpoché, Ju Mipham Rinpoché, Dudjom Lingpa, The Third Dodrupchen, Do Khyentsé, Tokden Sakya Sri, Jikmé Lingpa, Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, Getsé Mahapandita, Shangton Tenpa Gyatso, and Bamda Thupten Gelek Gyatso.
This book arose from a unique conference on Tibetan translation, where the fourteen translators shared their process with each other and received feedback from their peers with a special focus on the literary aspects of the source texts. As a reflection of this genesis, the accompanying essays in this volume by the translators explore the aesthetic qualities of their chosen works, highlight ecumenical features in them, and comment on the journey of translation. This unique book will be welcomed by religious scholars, Buddhist practitioners, and meditators.
A Heart Full of Peace
As seen in O, The Oprah Magazine.
Also featured in Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, and Buddhadharma.
Love, compassion, and peace—these words are at the heart of all spiritual endeavors. Although we intuitively resonate with their meaning and value, for most of us, the challenge is how to embody what we know: how to transform these words into a vibrant, living practice. In these times of conflict and uncertainty, this transformation is far more than an abstract ideal; it is an urgent necessity. Peace in the world begins with us. This wonderfully appealing offering from one the most trusted elders of Buddhism in the West is a warm and engaging exploration of the ways we can cultivate and manifest peace as wise and skillful action in the world.
This charming book is illuminated throughout with lively, joyous, and sometimes even funny citations from a host of contemporary and ancient sources—from the poetry of W.S. Merwin and Galway Kinnell to the haiku of Issa and the great poet-monk Ryokan, from the luminous aspirations of Saint Francis of Assisi to the sage advice of Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama.
A Hundred Thousand White Stones
A Hundred Thousand White Stones is one young Tibetan woman’s fearlessly told story of longing and change. Kunsang Dolma writes with unvarnished candor of the hardships she experienced as a girl in Tibet, violations as a refugee nun in India, and struggles as an immigrant and new mother in America. Yet even in tribulation, she finds levity and never descends to self-pity. We watch in wonder as her unlikely choices and remarkable persistence bring her into ever-widening circles, finding love and a family in the process, and finally bringing her back to her childhood home. A Hundred Thousand White Stones offers an honest assessment of what is gained in pursuing life in the developed world and what is lost.
A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages
First Place Winner of 2017 Shantarakshita Award for Excellence in Translation from the Tsadra Foundation
Tsongkhapa’s A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages (1419) is a comprehensive presentation of the highest yoga class of Buddhist tantra, especially the key practices—the so-called five stages (pancakrama)—of the advanced phase of Guhyasamāja tantra. Beginning with a thorough examination of the Indian sources, Tsongkhapa draws particularly from the writings of Nāgārjuna, Aryadeva, Candrakīrti, and Nāropā to develop a definitive understanding of the Vajrayana completion stage. Whereas in the generation stage, meditators visualize the Buddha in the form of the deity residing in a mandala palace, in the completion stage discussed in the present volume, meditators transcend ordinary consciousness and actualize the state of a buddha themselves. Among other things, Tsongkhapa’s work covers the subtle human physiology of channels and winds along with the process of dying, the bardo, and rebirth. This definitive statement on Guhyasamaja tantra profoundly affected the course of Buddhist practice in Tibet.
A Life Unforeseen
Rinchen Sadutshang was born in 1928 near the Tibet-China border to a well-off trading family, educated in a Jesuit school in the Himalayan foothills of British India, and served in the Dalai Lama’s government both before and after the 1959 Communist takeover of Lhasa. A refugee alongside tens of thousands of his countrymen, he played a crucial role in bringing the plight of the Tibetan people to the world’s attention.
In this memoir, published just months after his passing in July of 2015, the author recounts his long, fascinating career in service to the Tibetan cause. From meeting British viceroy Lord Waverly in India and General Chiang Kai-shek in China in 1946 to being part of the delegation that successfully pled Tibet’s case before the United Nations in the 1960s, he offers a first-hand perspective on a number of memorable historical events.
A Lullaby to Awaken the Heart
The Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra, one of the most famous and often-recited Dzogchen texts, is at once an entreaty by the primordial buddha, Samantabhadra, that all sentient beings recognize the nature of their minds and thus become buddhas, and also a wake-up call by our own buddha nature itself. This monumental text outlines the profound view of Dzogchen in a nutshell and, at the same time, provides clear instructions on how to discover the wisdom of a buddha in the very midst of afflictions.
In this volume, Karl Brunnhölzl offers translations of three versions of the Aspiration Prayer and accompanies them with translations of the commentaries by Jigmé Lingpa, the Fifteenth Karmapa, and Tsültrim Sangpo. He offers further contextualization with his rich annotation and appendices, which include additional translation from Jigmé Lingpa, Longchenpa, and Patrul Rinpoche. This comprehensive, comprehensible book illuminates this profound text and greatly furthers our understanding of Dzogchen—and of our own nature.
A New Buddhist Path
David R. Loy addresses head-on the most pressing issues of Buddhist philosophy in our time.
What is the meaning of enlightenment—is it an escape from the world, or is it a form of psychological healing?
How can one reconcile modern scientific theory with ancient religious teachings?
What is our role in the universe?
Loy shows us that neither Buddhism nor secular society by itself is sufficient to answer these questions. Instead, he investigates the unexpected intersections of the two. Through this exchange, he uncovers a new Buddhist way, one that is faithful to the important traditions of Buddhism but compatible with modernity. This way, we can see the world as it is truly is, realize our indivisibility from it, and learn that the world’s problems are our problems. This is a new path for a new world.
A Saint in Seattle
In 1960, the Tibetan lama Dezhung Rinpoche (1906-87) arrived in Seattle after being forced into exile from his native land by the Communist Chinese. Already a revered master of the teachings of all Tibetan Buddhist schools, he would eventually become a teacher of some of Western Buddhism’s most notable scholars. This is the inspiring and unlikely biography of a modern buddha.
A Song for the King
Mahamudra is the basic meditation practice for many Tibetan Buddhists, particularly of the Kagyu tradition. It is particularly adaptable for modern people, since it involves no rituals and can be incorporated into all daily activities. Saraha’s “Song for the King” is a short verse text from classical India that is a basis for the tradition and is widely known in Tibetan Buddhist circles. It is often the basis for teachings given in the West, but there is only one outdated translation of it in print, first published in 1969. Michele Martin has produced a stellar new translation, which is accompanied by a commentary from the well-known teacher Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, who is uniquely skilled and concerned with making this method of meditation available to Westerners.
While pithy and accessible, the book easily stands up to academic scrutiny, and includes the original Tibetan as well—making it ideal for the popular, scholarly, and Tibetan audiences all at once.
The Abhidhamma, the third great division of early Buddhist teaching, expounds a revolutionary system of philosophical psychology rooted in the twin Buddhist insights of selflessness and dependent origination. In keeping with the liberative thrust of early Buddhism, this system organizes the entire spectrum of human consciousness around the two poles of Buddhist doctrine—bondage and liberation, Samsara and Nirvana—the starting point and the final goal. It thereby maps out, with remarkable rigour and precision, the inner landscape of the mind to be crossed through the practical work of Buddhist meditation.
In this book of groundbreaking essays, Venerable Nyanaponika Thera, one of our age’s foremost exponents of Theravada Buddhism, attempts to penetrate beneath the formidable face of the Abhidhamma and to make its principles intelligible to the thoughtful reader of today. His point of focus is the Consciousness Chapter of the Dhammasangani, the first treatise of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. Basing his interpretation on the detailed list of mental factors that the Abhidhamma uses as a guide to psychological analysis, he launches into bold explorations in the multiple dimensions of conditionality, the nature of consciousness, the temporality of experience, and the psychological springs of spiritual transformation. Innovative and rich in insights, this book does not merely open up new avenues in the academic study of early Buddhism. By treating the Abhidhamma as a fountainhead of inspiration for philosophical and psychological inquiry, it demonstrates the continuing relevance of Buddhist thought to our most astute contemporary efforts to understand the elusive yet so intimate nature of the mind.