These are a couple of the books I’ve been reading, that I recommend, and which I’m reviewing or have recently reviewed.
Part travelogue, part spiritual biography, and part artistic chronicle, Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo’s Threads of Awakening: An American Woman’s Journey into Tibet’s Sacred Textile Art is an eloquent work that is both adventure and homecoming; transformation and grounding. Leslie is a textile artist, teacher, and one of the few non-Tibetans to master the art of silk appliqué thangkas. This book, which will be published on 23 August by She Writes Press, tells a tender human story of how the author came to her artistic vocation, replete with emotional richness and raw honesty. A very useful and interesting appendix notes some of the foundational stitches and forms that Leslie has deployed for decades to make Tibetan-style appliqué.
Roger R. Jackson’s Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World focuses on the singular matter of rebirth. Since it is both so central to the Buddhist worldview, yet so commonly misunderstood and misused, Jackson’s new book is almost like a public service. The author takes us on an intellectual journey of rebirth as an idea and a possible reality. The journey is made through both space (places) and time, and our current terminus is a globalized if troubled world of cross-pollinating influences and arguments. Perhaps it is even more so in this age of scepticism and existential uncertainty, rather than the Buddha’s ancient realm of north India millennia ago, that rebirth takes on new credence and urgency.