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Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth

Obeyesekere is the kind of thinker I love: sweeping, sociological, anthropological and philosophical. However, unlike myself, he's a real scholar and doesn't ignore the details. In Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth he looks at just what makes karma special from rebirth thought in cultures around the world. The unifying theme he finds is [...]


This book is a companion to Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions. Instead of looking at the classical period (before the common era), it looks at more modern developments in interpreting karma. That means it starts with Buddhism 2000 years ago, catches up to Hinduism in the 1850s and covers the reception of karma in [...]


Another of the books I looked at to get my facts straight when writing about karma was: Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions, edited by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty. It's a collection of academic articles on the topic, collected in 1980 in hopes of deepening the understanding of karma in cross-religious perspective. That means [...]

Karma: Dimensions of Asian Spirituality , Johannes Bronkhorst

In researching my (upcoming) book about Karma, I brushed up my knowledge on the topic. One of the books I turned to was Karma: Dimensions of Asian Spirituality by Johannes Bronkhorst. My teachers at Leiden University whisper his name with awe. Professor Bronkhorst is a living legend in the study of India and Buddhism. From the [...]


The Dalai Lama is well known as the (officially former) leader of the Tibetan people in exile and as a spiritual teacher. In this book he has done something unprecedented: he wrote a book for non-Buddhists, with no aim to convert them. As a Tibetan, his approach to ethics - the topic of Beyond Religion: [...]

Trying not to Try – Wu Wei and De

How do we fall asleep? Trying to sleep only worsens insomnia. Trying to achieve something worsens the result in many areas of life. In Chinese philosophy this paradox is described through the twin principles of 'wu wei' and 'de'. Wu Wei is roughly what we would call 'flow'. The experience of being in the moment, [...]

Alphatudes – the alphabet of gratitude

I am always a bit suspicious of books about gratitude. The very concept sounds to me like a way of telling people to not feel their pain and ignore their troubles. This book is not like that. It tells us to lovingly embrace our emotions, to deal with our fears and sorrow. Yet it is [...]


Man The Measure Of All Things

This deep, engaging and insightful interpretation of Blavatsky's 'The Secret Doctrine' by Sri Madhava Ashish and Sri Krishna Prem is one of those books I've heard about for years, but never had the opportunity to read. Having read Blavatsky's magnum opus myself, I was not inclined to read this commentary. However, the second hand bookshop of the [...]


Real science is always hard to summarize. This book by Ioan Couliano is a book like that. I read the whole thing, but to be honest the most fascinating parts were the introduction and the conclusion. The rest helped flesh it out, but it did get a bit boring.Still, Out of this World: Otherworldly Journeys [...]

Buddhist Texts Through the Ages, Edward Conze

There are a lot of Books about Buddhism out there. Most of them focus on Buddhism for modern people: what's relevant today. That's fine, in fact that's great. But it's not what the Buddha taught. It's not what Buddhists believed in and practiced over the past 2000 years. This book is.In Buddhist Texts Through The Ages Edward [...]