Born in Berlin in 1923 to Jewish parents, Ayya Khema was educated in Scotland and China and later emigrated to the United States. The author of twenty-five books, she was ordained as a nun in Sri Lanka in 1979 and established several Buddhist centers, including Wat Buddha Dhamma in Australia, Parapuddua Nun’s Island in Sri Lanka, and Buddha Haus in Germany. In 1987 she coordinated the first-ever International Conference of Buddhist Nuns. She passed away in 1997.
“This book offers guidance along the path of Buddhist meditation with direct and practical advice. Ayya Khema’s words are clear and straightforward, conveying depth and insight.”—The Beacon
BE AN ISLAND
The Buddhist Practice of Inner Peace
The print edition of this book is out of stock; please purchase the ebook version or check back later. You can also become a Wisdom Experience member to read many of our books online—click here to join now.
- add to cart eBook $9.99
The print version of this book is currently out of stock. Check back soon.
From the best-selling author of Being Nobody, Going Nowhere, Ayya Khema’s Be an Island guides us along the path of Buddhist meditation with direct and practical advice, giving us contemplative tools to develop a healthy sense of personal being. Be an Island is at once an introduction to the teachings of Buddhism and a rich continuation of Ayya Khema’s personal vision of Buddhist practice.
- 160 pages
- ISBN 9780861719099
Courageous Compassion, the sixth volume of the Library of Wisdom and Compassion, continues the Dalai Lama’s teachings on the path to awakening. The previous volume, In Praise of Great Compassion, focused on opening our hearts with love and compassion for all living beings, and the present volume explains how to embody compassion and wisdom in our daily lives. Here we enter a fascinating exploration of bodhisattvas’ activities across multiple Buddhist traditions—Tibetan, Theravāda, and Chinese Buddhism.
After explaining the ten perfections according to the Pāli and Sanskrit traditions, the Dalai Lama presents the sophisticated schema of the four paths and fruits for śrāvakas and solitary realizers and the five paths for bodhisattvas. Learning about the practices mastered by these exalted practitioners inspires us with knowledge of our minds’ potential. His Holiness also describes buddha bodies, what buddhas perceive, and buddhas’ awakening activities.
Courageous Compassion offers an in-depth look at bodhicitta, arhatship, and buddhahood that you can continuously refer to as you progress on the path to full awakening.
Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions
Armed with his rigorous examination of the canonical records, respected scholar-monk Bhikkhu Anālayo explores—and sharply criticizes—four examples of what he terms “superiority conceit” in Buddhism:
- the androcentric tendency to prevent women from occupying leadership roles, be these as fully ordained monastics or as advanced bodhisattvas
- the Mahayana notion that those who don’t aspire to become bodhisattvas are inferior practitioners
- the Theravada belief that theirs is the most original expression of the Buddha’s teaching
- the Secular Buddhist claim to understand the teachings of the Buddha more accurately than traditionally practicing Buddhists
Ven. Anālayo challenges the scriptural basis for these conceits and points out that adhering to such notions of superiority is not, after all, conducive to practice. “It is by diminishing ego, letting go of arrogance, and abandoning conceit that one becomes a better Buddhist,” he reminds us, “no matter what tradition one may follow.”
Thoroughly researched, Superiority Conceit in Buddhist Traditions provides an accessible approach to these conceits as academic subjects. Readers will find it not only challenges their own intellectual understandings but also improves their personal practice.
The Buddhist Analysis of Matter
The Buddhist Analysis of Matter is an in-depth study of the Buddhist view of the nature and composition of matter as interpreted in Theravāda Buddhism. The study is mainly based on the seven treatises of the canonical Abhidhamma as well as the subsequent commentarial exegesis. However, in order to bring the subject into a wider perspective and to present it with a measure of precision, it takes into consideration the parallel doctrines of the Vaibhāṣika and Sautrāntika schools of Buddhism. These were two of the leading non-Mahāyāna schools with which the Theravādins had much in common. Both subscribed to a realistic view of existence: while the former had a tendency to extreme realism, the latter had a predilection, but not a commitment, to subjectivism.
Acclaimed scholar Y. Karunadasa’s Buddhist Analysis of Matter provides a much-needed micro view of the topic with a detailed examination of the Theravādins’ list of rūpa-dhammas—the ultimate irreducible factors into which material existence is analyzed. It exposes the nature of the basic material elements and explains their interconnection and interdependence on the basis of conditional relations. It concludes with an attempt to understand the nature and relevance of the Buddhist analysis of matter in the context of Buddhism as a religion.
Creating a Life of Integrity
Creating a Life of Integrity is our personal trainer for strengthening our integrity muscles.
When we don’t speak or act from our own sense of integrity, we feel lousy. Find out how you can live with more integrity—and subsequently more joy—as you follow these lively conversations between Joseph Goldstein, a founder of the modern mindfulness movement, and Gail Stark, a businesswoman and his student and friend of twenty-five years.
As Joseph and Gail unpack the components of integrity—generosity, virtue, renunciation, wisdom, courage, patience, truthfulness, resoluteness, loving-kindness, and equanimity—we discover each is a step on a path that transports us to an empowered place of clarity, commitment, and, consequently, more joy. As we strengthen and weave these qualities into our daily lives they become our trusted first response in a world that needs our integrity now.
What, Why, How
Everything you ever wanted to know but never had a chance to ask about meditation and Buddhist spiritual practice, from one of the greatest mindfulness teachers of our time.
How can I fit meditation into my busy life?
How should I understand karma and rebirth?
Is enlightenment even possible for me?
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever meditated or studied Buddhism, you may have found yourself asking these questions—and many more! Here’s the good news: there are answers, and you’ll find them all in this book. Imagine that you could sit down with one of Buddhism’s most accomplished and plainspoken teachers—and imagine that he patiently agreed to answer any question you had about meditation, living mindfully, and key Buddhist concepts—even the myriad brilliant questions you’ve never thought to ask! What, Why, How condenses into one volume a half-century of Bhante G.’s wise answers to common questions about the Buddha’s core teachings on meditation and spiritual practice. With his kind and clear guidance, you’ll gain simple yet powerful insights and practices to end unhealthy patterns and habits so that you can transform your experience of the world—from your own mind to your relationships, your job, and beyond.
Buddhist Suttas for Recitation
Bring the Buddha’s teachings more deeply into your life.
Buddhist Suttas for Recitation provides everything you need to begin and maintain a practice of contemplative recitation and reflection. These practices will deepen your connection to the Buddha, strengthen your faith in the Path, and nurture your intellectual understanding of the Dhamma.
This unique volume includes carefully chosen discourses of the Buddha from the Pali Canon—presented in inspiring and accessible English with accompanying Pali—that convey the essence of the Dhamma. The introductory material explains the relationship between meditation and devotional practice, offers instructions on setting up a home altar, and gives advice on how to use these texts to enhance your spiritual development.
Start Here, Start Now
The paperback version of this book is currently out of stock.
A master of mindfulness, who has taught thousands to meditate, Bhante G. will show you exactly how to start your own practice and make it a part of your daily life. The book includes practical advice on
- what to do with the body and mind in meditation;
- how to work with distraction;
- how to deal with physical discomfort in meditation;
- how to overcome drowsiness, boredom, and inability to concentrate;
how to work with fear and agitation, judgments, and self-criticism;
- how to avoid trying too hard, expecting too much, or getting discouraged;
- 11 common misconceptions and 10 tips for effective practice; and
- how to get the most out of your practice.
You can start meditating today and, with Bhante G.’s guidance, discover more peace, presence, and joy in everyday life.
The Theravada Abhidhamma
The renowned Sri Lankan scholar Y. Karunadasa examines Abhidhamma perspectives on the nature of phenomenal existence. He begins with a discussion of dhamma theory, which describes the bare phenomena that form the world of experience. He then explains the Abhidhamma view that only dhammas are real, and that anything other than these basic phenomena are conceptual constructs. This, he argues, is Abhidhamma’s answer to common-sense realism—the mistaken view that the world as it appears to us is ultimately real.
Among the other topics discussed are
- the theory of double truth (ultimate and conceptual truth),
- the analysis of mind,
- the theory of cognition,
- the analysis of matter,
- the nature of time and space,
- the theory of momentary being, and
- conditional relations.
The volume concludes with an appendix that examines why the Theravada came to be known as Vibhajjavada, “the doctrine of analysis.”
Not limiting himself to abstract analysis, Karunadasa draws out the Abhidhamma’s underlying premises and purposes. The Abhidhamma provides a detailed description of reality in order to identify the sources of suffering and their antidotes—and in doing so, to free oneself.
The Art of Disappearing
Whether mere bumps in the road or genuine crises, we live in a world of unwanted events that no willpower can prevent. In The Art of Disappearing, Ajahn Brahm helps us learn to abandon the headwind of false expectations and follow instead the Buddha’s path of understanding. Releasing our attachment to past and future, to self and other, we can directly experience the natural state of serenity underlying all our thoughts and discover the bliss of the present moment. In that space, we learn what it is to disappear. Ajahn Brahm, an unparalleled guide to the bliss of meditation, makes the journey as fun as it is rewarding.
The Art of Disappearing, comprised of a series of teachings Ajahn Brahm gave to the monks of Bodhinyana Monastery, where he serves as abbot, offers a unique glimpse into the mind of one of contemporary Buddhism’s most engaging figures.
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.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Josh Korda left his high-powered advertising job—and a life of drug and alcohol addiction—to find a more satisfying way to live. In Unsubscribe, he shares his three-step guide to recovery from addiction to consumerism, self-deception, and life as you thought it had to be:
- Reprioritize your goals, away from a materialist vocation toward a fulfilling avocation
- Understand yourself and your emotional needs
- Connect authentically with others, leading to secure relationships and true community.
Revolutionary, compassionate, and filled with wonderfully practical exercises, Josh will help you lead a more authentic, more fulfilling life.
Josh Korda has been featured on:
“For more than a quarter of a century, those in search of an introduction to Buddhist moral thought have turned and returned to this little volume…” Thus notes Charles Hallisey of Harvard University in his introduction. Starting with an examination of classical Greek notions of ethics, Venerable Saddhatissa goes on to explain the development of Buddhist moral codes and their practical application. In this work, Venerable Saddhatissa starts with an examination of Western notions of ethics, beginning with the early Greek philosophers and moving on to show us how the study of morality is crucial to a clear understanding of the Buddhist tradition. Drawing on a vast array of Buddhist scriptures, Venerable Saddhatissa explains the development and position of Buddhist precepts from a traditional perspective, while simultaneously offering clear and practical advice on how best to live the moral life of a lay Buddhist practitioner. Throughout Buddhist Ethics, Venerable Saddhatissa always keeps us in touch with the pragmatic uses of Buddhist moral practices, not only as a way to live in harmony with the world, but as an indispensable aspect of the path to the Buddhist’s highest spiritual goal.
Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English
Countless people worldwide have made Mindfulness in Plain English a beloved and bestselling classic in almost a dozen languages. Now after nearly two decades, Bhante helps meditators of every stripe take their mindfulness practice to the next level—helping them go, in a word, beyond mindfulness. In the same warm, clear, and friendly voice, Bhante introduces the reader to what have been known for centuries as the “jhanas”—deeply calm, joyous, and powerful states of meditation that, when explored with the clearly presented tools in this book, can lead to a life of insight and unshakeable peace.
The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity
Money and investing. Family. Relationships. Work and business. Sex. What could the Buddha tell us about such worldly concerns? More than you might think—and you’ll find it all here. Some of it might well surprise you. All of it will guide you toward a more prosperous, more fulfilling, and truly happier way of life.
The Buddha had an unusually keen insight into what people with everyday concerns need to know, and The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity delivers the actual teachings that he gave to all those many people he encountered who were not monks or nuns-or even, meditators. This is practical advice on the important stuff of life, those things nearly all of us must deal with in order to enjoy a meaningful, lasting happiness:
- Taking care of children and aging parents
- Providing for our families
- Working with employees and business partners
- Finding and maintaining love relationships and marital partnerships
- Making responsible, ethical financial decisions
- Cultivating the best in your personality
These very do-able practices are specifically for those who can’t or (for whatever reason) won’t be devoting their lives to meditation or any kind of religious teaching—but who nonetheless wish to minimize their suffering, maximize their joy, and help create a better world.
Being Nobody, Going Nowhere
In this lucid classic, beloved teacher Ayya Khema introduces the reader to the essence of the Buddhist path. She addresses the how and why of meditation, providing a clear framework for understanding the nature of karma and rebirth and the entirety of the eightfold path. With specific, practical advice Ayya Khema illuminates the practices of compassion and sympathetic joy and offers forthright guidance in working with the hindrances that we all encounter in meditation. Few introductory books are both simple and profound. Being Nobody, Going Nowhere is both.
With his books Landscapes of Wonder and Longing for Certainty, the American monk Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano led readers down literary trails, providing enlightening glimpses of the natural world.
In Available Truth, he guides us further along the path. His unqualified embrace of the Buddha’s worldview—in intelligent and deeply thoughtful prose—distinguishes his work from many other Western Buddhist books. Along with reflections on mindfulness, impermanence, and the end of suffering, Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano is not afraid to delve into the topics of rebirth, karma, nonvirtue, and the roles of reasoned faith, ritual, and monasticism, revealing their continuing relevance for today’s seeker. His patient awareness of the workings of the mind and the natural world will enable readers to deepen both their practice and their lives.
Available Truth will surely stand the test of time as both sound teaching and elegant writing.
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.
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.