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The Still Point Dhammapada: Living the Buddha's Essential Teachings [Hardcover]

Geri Larkin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 13 2003

The Dhammapada holds a special place in the hearts of those following the Buddhist path and is read and recited daily in temples and homes across the world. A collection of verses that the Buddha is said to have spoken on more than three hundred occasions, it is believed to be the most representative collection of his teachings.

Over the millennia, the Dhammapada has been translated numerous times, in various languages. But Geri Larkin wanted to find a rendition that rang true to an inner-city sangha. And so, she decided to embark on creating a contemporary rendition to be used at The Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple -- a new temple in the heart of Detroit. Staying true to its purpose, this fresh version of the beloved text points the way to living with both compassion and wisdom, and is the first Dhammapada to use intentionally inclusive language. Rendered simply and beautifully, the Buddha's teachings are complemented with inspiring stories about the surrounding community as well as the challenges of getting a temple and abbey off the ground in such an unlikely setting. The Still Point Dhammapada is a book for anyone -- lifelong practitioners as well as those new to Buddhism -- hungry for a contemporary rendition of the Buddha's teachings.


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Review

“...a gift that will keep on giving…[I] recommend it as an excellent companion for spiritual study and practice.” (-Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within and Awakening the Buddhist Heart and founder of the Dzogchen Meditation Center)

“Larkin has most wonderfully added her own insight and deepening experience to a new rendering...of the Dhammapada.” (-Stephen Levine, author of Who Dies?)

“This rendering ...is clean, contemporary, and, with the addition of her effective teaching stories, as real as it gets.” (Yoga Journal)

“Check out Larkin’s Motor City Zen, and behind it all, you’ll see the wisdom of the Buddha.” (Spirituality and Health magazine)

About the Author

Geri Larkin is the author of Stumbling Toward Enlightenment, Building a Business the Buddhist Way, Tap Dancing in Zen, and First You Shave Your Head. She is the Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple's Guiding Teacher.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Twice in my life I've decided to give away everything I own, telling myself it's the Zen way-only to stall out at the bookcase. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Making "Buddhism" our own May 3 2004
Format:Hardcover
A book like this is a window into a process. This is not an introduction to meditation practice itself (that territory is amply covered elsewhere) but a look at a young community of practitioners findings its way, and the Way, in 21st century Detroit.
This community worked together on an adapted translation of the <i>Dhammapada</i>, a much-beloved collection of sayings of the Buddha which provide day-to-day, moment-by-moment encouragement that it is possible to let go of greed, anger, and delusion, and live a life that lists to deep awareness and compassion like a current that carries an empty boat.
This is not merely a literary project, however. This version of the <i>Dhammapada</i>, which breathes with fresh language and terms easily acceptable to new students in the United States, comes to us through the personal practice of the members of this community, whom we get to know through the short, anecdotal chapters that follow each <i>canto</i> of the text. Ancient wisdom, and the bumpy business of everyday life, interact in something almost approximating parallel text.
So it is a window into a process, a process by which a new Zen community matures, and by which an American Buddhism is slowly taking form. How wonderful to find this tradition finding its roots in our soil.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Providing a haven for the world... Oct. 16 2003
Format:Hardcover
P'arang (the Buddhist name of author Geri Larkin) does what very few other writers are able to do these days: Write a compelling, sometimes humorous, always fiercely insightful book that's hard to put down.
In fact, I finished The Still Point Dhammapada: Living the Buddha's Essential Teachings in just two evenings -- and I'm sure I'll refer to it repeatedly in days to come.
The purpose of the book is two-fold: (1) It includes a very smooth-flowing, inclusive-language rendering of the Dhammapada, and (2) Interwoven with the Dhammapada is Ms. Larkin's observations about everything from what it's like to provide a haven for the folks in downtown Detroit, to daily struggles to abide by the Buddha's teachings to meetings with everyday (albeit fascinating) people.
P'arang's tone is always self-effacing, earthy and compassionate. Real. Sincere. She comes across as someone you'd like to chat with over a cup of tea.
For the record, I'm a Christian. Yet, I have recently become fascinated by Zen and have read many books on this ancient worldview. Why? Because I appreciate its philosophy of "mindfulness," which means to be fully awake and aware of life and to relish every minute, every thing, and every person along the way.
Zen is a simple worldview, yet it can be as deep and vast as you'd like it to be.
So it's no wonder I enjoyed Ms. Larkin's book so much. Her writing exemplifies what Zen has to offer.
If you're wondering how Zen Buddhists live their lives, you ought to consider reading The Still Point Dhammapada. It's one of the best books I've read on the subject -- although I don't think Ms. Larkin's goal was to write an apologetic for Buddhism. I think she just wanted to share her observations and comments about life as a Zen Buddhist teacher.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Shine One Corner June 20 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike: read this book!! The Still Point Dhammapada is moving and wise - the translations of the Buddha's words are simple (in the best sense) yet, of course, profound. Equally compelling are the stories from the streets around the Still Point abbey and temple. There are lots of stereotypes about Detroit - and Larkin & co. add voice and vision so that readers can really get a feel for the life of the neighborhood and the practice of "guerilla kindness." But don't mistake this for some pollyanna-ish text; the stories are alternately heartbreaking, funny and gritty. Coupled with the verses from the dhammapada, they teach by showing.
This is a lovely book.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen in the City April 16 2003
Format:Hardcover
She's done it again. This book is a wonderful tribute to the teachings of the Buddha and my spiritual home, Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple. The timeless teachings of the Buddha are interwoven beautifully with tales of everyday people living and breathing the dharma in Detroit. I love you and keep shining our corner, P'arang...
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Providing a haven for the world... Oct. 16 2003
By Just Bill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
P'arang (the Buddhist name of author Geri Larkin) does what very few other writers are able to do these days: Write a compelling, sometimes humorous, always fiercely insightful book that's hard to put down.
In fact, I finished The Still Point Dhammapada: Living the Buddha's Essential Teachings in just two evenings -- and I'm sure I'll refer to it repeatedly in days to come.
The purpose of the book is two-fold: (1) It includes a very smooth-flowing, inclusive-language rendering of the Dhammapada, and (2) Interwoven with the Dhammapada is Ms. Larkin's observations about everything from what it's like to provide a haven for the folks in downtown Detroit, to daily struggles to abide by the Buddha's teachings to meetings with everyday (albeit fascinating) people.
P'arang's tone is always self-effacing, earthy and compassionate. Real. Sincere. She comes across as someone you'd like to chat with over a cup of tea.
For the record, I'm a Christian. Yet, I have recently become fascinated by Zen and have read many books on this ancient worldview. Why? Because I appreciate its philosophy of "mindfulness," which means to be fully awake and aware of life and to relish every minute, every thing, and every person along the way.
Zen is a simple worldview, yet it can be as deep and vast as you'd like it to be.
So it's no wonder I enjoyed Ms. Larkin's book so much. Her writing exemplifies what Zen has to offer.
If you're wondering how Zen Buddhists live their lives, you ought to consider reading The Still Point Dhammapada. It's one of the best books I've read on the subject -- although I don't think Ms. Larkin's goal was to write an apologetic for Buddhism. I think she just wanted to share her observations and comments about life as a Zen Buddhist teacher. Take 'em or leave 'em.
I took 'em. And really enjoyed The Still Point Dhammapada. I found it to be a wonderful peek into the world of Zen Buddhism from someone who knows it well. I highly recommend it -- along with The Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple web site.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shine One Corner June 20 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike: read this book!! The Still Point Dhammapada is moving and wise - the translations of the Buddha's words are simple (in the best sense) yet, of course, profound. Equally compelling are the stories from the streets around the Still Point abbey and temple. There are lots of stereotypes about Detroit - and Larkin & co. add voice and vision so that readers can really get a feel for the life of the neighborhood and the practice of "guerilla kindness." But don't mistake this for some pollyanna-ish text; the stories are alternately heartbreaking, funny and gritty. Coupled with the verses from the dhammapada, they teach by showing.
This is a lovely book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making "Buddhism" our own May 3 2004
By Algernon D'Ammassa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A book like this is a window into a process. This is not an introduction to meditation practice itself (that territory is amply covered elsewhere) but a look at a young community of practitioners findings its way, and the Way, in 21st century Detroit.
This community worked together on an adapted translation of the <i>Dhammapada</i>, a much-beloved collection of sayings of the Buddha which provide day-to-day, moment-by-moment encouragement that it is possible to let go of greed, anger, and delusion, and live a life that lists to deep awareness and compassion like a current that carries an empty boat.
This is not merely a literary project, however. This version of the <i>Dhammapada</i>, which breathes with fresh language and terms easily acceptable to new students in the United States, comes to us through the personal practice of the members of this community, whom we get to know through the short, anecdotal chapters that follow each <i>canto</i> of the text. Ancient wisdom, and the bumpy business of everyday life, interact in something almost approximating parallel text.
So it is a window into a process, a process by which a new Zen community matures, and by which an American Buddhism is slowly taking form. How wonderful to find this tradition finding its roots in our soil.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Accessible June 12 2013
By mary peterson bolton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first Geri Larkin book I have read. I now plan to read all of her books one by one. She has made some difficult texts accessible and the story with each one is fresh and often funny. I will add this to the beloved and small stack of books that I use after meditation or at the end of the day, to bring me back to the dharma, and quiet my soul.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen in the City April 16 2003
By I love it - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
She's done it again. This book is a wonderful tribute to the teachings of the Buddha and my spiritual home, Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple. The timeless teachings of the Buddha are interwoven beautifully with tales of everyday people living and breathing the dharma in Detroit. I love you and keep shining our corner, P'arang...
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