- Paperback: 120 pages
- Publisher: Eastern Washington University Press (June 1 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 091005567X
- ISBN-13: 978-0910055673
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,451,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
KINDNESS: Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom Paperback – Jun 1 2001
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Most of these 32 stories are only a few pages long, and the longer ones seem drawn out. Wry, rather than humorous, many are less-known Jataka tales. The traditions of India, Japan, and Tibet are well represented, while China and other Buddhist-influenced countries are not. Although many of these stories resemble fables, their level of language as well as the parablelike meanings demand skillful readers. Oblique as many tales are, readers must be good interpreters, alert to implications. The vocabulary ("asceticism," "gratification," "enlightenment") in the "Young Reader" introduction signals its level of sophistication. The narrative style is sometimes arch ("sprite," "thee"), sometimes moralizing. The dozen full-page illustrations are fine line drawings, whose realistic style helps ground these spiritual anecdotes. Each story is preceded by a wise "saying," providing attractive and accessible nuggets of Buddhist thought. Sources for sayings and stories appear in a valuable annotated bibliography. This is not a complete introduction to the religion, but to its ethos, much as a collection of parables would be for Christianity. Although there are several similar compilations in print, the growth of Buddhism in the U.S. might provide a demand for this one, too.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-7. Many American children know the parable of the mustard seed told in the New Testament. Few, however, have been exposed to the equally compelling Buddhist story of the mustard seed. In this parable, the Buddha tells a woman who has lost her child to seek out mustard seeds from families that have not been exposed to death. In doing so, the woman learns the universality of grief. Thirty-one such stories have been masterfully adapted and translated by Conover to transmit the soft, lyrical voice of the originals. These include Jataka tales, stories of the Buddha in past incarnations, which are widely read and retold to Buddhist children throughout the world. Populated with sticky-haired dragons, verbose monkeys, and strange-looking monks, and illustrated in pleasant, sepia-tone pictures contributed by Valerie Wahl, Kindness is packed with excellent tales that will surprise and delight readers while introducing them to the diversity of religious traditions. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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If you have Paul Reps' famous "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones," you will recognize many of the stories in "Kindess" from there, but in a lushly expanded form. I am impressed by how Sarah Conover is able to expand a simple Buddhist tale without diluting it, and add detail without dragging it out. Everything seems necessary, even though I'm used to shorter versions of the same tales. This is the sign of good writing to me. Not all of the tales are long, though, so you can use it as a bedtime read regardless of the length of time you have available; there are stories you can read in 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes--whatever your time frame. What's nice, too, about the book is that it grows with the child. A year ago, my son's favorite tales were the simpler ones (though all are complex in the Buddhist way) such as "Great Joy the Ox" about kindness and "The Dung Beetle" which warns of the dangers of hubris. Now his favorite is a more conceptual story, "The Monk's Heavy Load," which treats the idea of being weighed down by resentments and memories.
Besides being delightful to read, the book is gorgeous to look at and hold. Only the cover illustration is multi-colored; those inside are sepia-toned, but this matters not a whit. Valerie Wahl's illustrations are carefully drawn to capture, (at most, one per story) precisely the key moment of each tale. An aphorism precedes each story also reflecting the theme of each tale. The pages are slick, heavy and a Zen pleasure to handle and turn, as long as the book lies flat on a table. The only negative point about the book's design is that its odd shape (a horizontal rather than vertical rectangle) and weight make it awkward for reading in bed. Hardcover children's picture books in this shape are easy to read, but this is a glossy paged book of 160+ pages which makes it both heavy and floppy (at least in the paperback edition I have). We've worked hard to keep ours in good shape, and we've succeeded, but it might be harder for families with lots of children (or less book obsessed parents).
I can't really imagine a person not liking this book, and if I could, I wouldn't want to meet him anyway. These tales drop lessons softly, the way fragrant blossoms fall from trees. They introduce children to Buddhism, which can't be a bad thing at any time, and can only help things these days. If you have no one for whom to buy this book, then do what I did and buy it for yourself and if, like me, you're worried that the child in your life may not like it, you very well might be proven wrong--much to your delight.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Now as a religious education teacher of younger people at the Unitarian Universalist fellowship I use this book extensively when teaching about buddhism, kindness, compassion and many other concepts. Well written and engaging for all ages, but best for elementary school age children. My middle schoolers still love the stories.