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Kindling the Teachings

January 6, 2011

I love books. I love the weight of them, the smell of them, all the words in them. I love having them on my bookshelves, cozying up to read one in the evening, sharing a book with a friend. I love books. (I’m a little less crazy about all the trees that are killed for paper to make books, but I have some hope that we’ll soon be using bamboo for paper, or another renewable resource.)

But I also love my Kindle! And, here’s why: I frequently go away to a remote cabin to work on editing the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa. I don’t like lugging all the books I need to have with me, not at all. Sometimes, they fill a whole suitcase. Really. A small suitcase, but a suitcase nonetheless. I drive my car to my retreat house, and then I have to unpack all the books—as well as the food, clothes, computer paraphernalia, etc. The older I get, the more arduous it is. I wonder if e-food will be coming out soon. Could be great!

So I love having most of Chögyam Trungpa’s books on my Kindle. Love it, love it, love it. Last night, I snuggled into my retreat bed with Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism on my Kindle. Maybe snuggling is not the right word when it comes to that book, but it was fairly cozy. I decided to start from the beginning and reread the chapter on “Spiritual Materialism.” Trungpa Rinpoche was saying:

When you receive spiritual instruction from the hands of another, you do not take it uncritically, but you burn it, you hammer it, you beat it, until the bright, dignified color of gold appears. Then you craft it into an ornament, whatever design you like, and you put it on. Therefore dharma is applicable to every age, to every person. It has a living quality.

Yes, I’m thinking. You can even Kindle the dharma and it can still feel fresh and alive!

Then, without getting out of bed, I could switch to The Myth of Freedom to read a short teaching on “Working with Negativity,” or I could open up Smile at Fear to learn all about the education of the Shambhala warrior, who is dedicated to peace rather than aggression.

For that matter, the next time I get on an airplane, I can bring twenty-two volumes of Chögyam Trungpa’s teachings with me, as well most of Pema Chödrön’s books, and books by many other authors—all in this one little device that fits in my purse. (And if I should stray from the path of dharma and want to read a mystery novel on the plane, well, there’s a place for that on my Kindle too. But don’t tell anyone.) I love my Kindle.

So with all this in mind, here’s the latest contest from Shambhala Publications and Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week: Tell us what you like or don’t like about eBooks, and you’ll be entered in the contest to win a Kindle loaded with a selection of eBooks by Chögyam Trungpa.

The Kindle contest is now closed. The randomly selected winner, Number 508, is Eman F. Thanks to everyone who wrote in. There were a lot of interesting and helpful comments about the pros and cons of eBooks.



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