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Allow Joy into Our Hearts: Chan Practice in Uncertain Times
Rebecca Li. Chan Dharma Community, $9.99 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-954564-00-8
Li, a Chan Buddhist teacher, collects 10 dharma talks given virtually during the pandemic that focus on the cultivation of awareness and compassion amid stress and uncertainty. Rather than striving for absolute safety or yearning for happier times, Li suggests, readers should instead cultivate total awareness of experience by making space for negative emotions. She acknowledges the pain caused by the pandemic (particularly loneliness and emotional disconnection) and challenges readers to practice meditation in order to cut through unnecessary suffering. By confronting small moments of pain or difficulty that one habitually tries to avoid, Li argues, practitioners can become more aware of the impact of one’s thoughts and behaviors on themselves and others; only then can one make changes to embody compassion in order to “suffer well.” Li’s patient yet stern tone and many meditation suggestions make this accessible collection a timely reminder to honor all dimensions of experience during stressful moments. While Buddhist practitioners will get the most out of this, those struggling to maintain balance during trying times will benefit from the soothing advice. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 07/09/2021

Release date 03/01/2021

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