Staff Picks: Senior Editor Dave O'Neal's Top Ten

Senior editor Dave O'Neal took a look back at the entire Shambhala catalog and came up with this list of his top ten titles.

 

Book coverZen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Shunryu Suzuki

Still the best first book on Zen practice and why you'd want to do it. There are so many other wonderful books on Zen now, but I'd still suggest this to anyone just starting to get a taste for it, mainly because it conveys something of the joy of practice along with all the rest.

 

 

Book coverThoughts in Solitude

Thomas Merton

Contains one of my favorite opening sentences of any book: "There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality. " And it goes on from there. We didn't originate this one-we licensed it to publish this pocket-sized edition-but it was a delight to me, as a Merton-ite, to be able to give it this mini-life.

 

 

Book coverLuminous Emptiness

Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead

Francesca Fremantle

This book rearranged my head. Not so much for the details of what it says occurs when you die (I'll check that out when it happens), but because it provides an education in understanding the lack of distinction between symbolic and real. When you get that, the whole world begins to look different.

 

 

Book coverBring Me the Rhinoceros

And Other Zen Koans That Will Change Your Life

John Tarrant

A corrective to the notion that koan practice is supposed to hurt or something. It's about intimacy with reality! It's about happiness! Thanks, John, for reminding us.

 

 

Book coverBridge of Waves

What Music Is and How Listening to It Changes the World

W. A. Mathieu

It's really nothing but a pattern of vibrations that makes some tiny bones in our heads jiggle. Yet it can make us cry. Mathieu shares what he's observed about the mystery of music from his decades of composing it, performing it, and being astonished by it.

 

 

Book coverZen Confidential

Confessions of a Wayward Monk

Shozan Jack Haubner

The funniest book we've ever published. Anybody wanna dispute that? Bring it on.

 

 

 

Book coverThe Hundred Verses of Advice

Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most

Dilgo Khyentse and Padampa Sangye

Khyentse Rinpoche's teachings are an antidote to the tendency we all have to postpone our practice on behalf of all beings until a more convenient time. This, his commentary on the short verses of advice that Padampa Sangye addressed to laypeople, is a powerful cure for that kind of procrastination.

 

 

Book coverI Give You My Life

The Autobiography of a Western Buddhist Nun

Ayya Khema

Baron Munchausen's got nothing on this inadvertently adventurous woman whose life began as a bourgeois German girl and ended as a bhikshuni. In between there was the Nazis, China, suburban L.A., the Hunza, South America, Pakistan, and the raising of Shetland ponies in Australia. Her story is amazing, her teaching is powerful, and, you have to admit, she's got a certain charm.

 

 

Book coverThe Art of Twentieth-Century Zen

Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Masters

Audrey Yoshiko Seo and Stephen Addiss

It's just so very beautiful. What else can I say? This is unfortunately out of print, but available various places on the web.

 

 

Book coverAn Art of Our Own

The Spiritual in Twentieth-Century Art

Roger Lipsey

Roger Lipsey's survey may have a somewhat dated look at this point, but I still go to his insights about Brancusi, Rothko, et al., to reflect on them. It's also, sadly, out-of-print, but there are copies around for anyone who dares to look for them.

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