Monday, January 12, 2009


I'm off to a slow start with the 100 books in 2009 project. I finished Thich Nhat Hanh's "The World We have" and I'm about halfway through Raffaele's "Among the Cannibals."

Thich Nhat Hanh's book was an okay read. It's mostly a call for conservation and earth compassion from a Buddhist point of view. Nothing wrong with it and I certainly got some decent ideas about how to apply Buddhist principles to living in a consumer society. Some of the high points included: remembering that many of the things we enjoy, including meat, coffee and chocolate come from places where the workers who provide them can't actually afford to buy them. You can't practice engaged Buddhism, compassionate Buddhism in action if you're not actually practicing your religions. Funny thing. He says doing good works isn't really a substitute. It sort of all comes back to meditation and being in the moment. I also got a decent Buddha diet tip: just eat what's in your bowl. Fat Buddhist monks are rare.

Anyway, the book gave me some things to think about and challenged me to make some changes.

Next up, a very disturbing book about one writer's journey to meet a variety of people who practice one form of cannibalism or another. Raffaele's visit with the tribes of New Guinea really messed with me. I wasn't so much bothered by the idea of stone age savages (and they are savages) eating human flesh, but the often-repeated notion of civilization in cycles. It was pretty frightening to look at where humanity once was and where, eventually, we will likely return.

But more on that, after I finish.

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