This book caught my eye because I’d seen Gregory Kramer’s name on Dharma Seed, a website of buddhist talks by western dharma teachers. I saw the introduction was by Bhikkhu Bodhi, a well respected Buddhist scholar whose translations of Buddhist dharma I had read often. This evidence of depth of practice combined with the intention to apply it to everyday, modern life was a winner for me.
The intention is to apply the Eightfold Path to our frantic lives. Gregory describes the Eightfold Path as an intentional path, that counteracts the usual ways that our lives are formed, but he says that we (lay practitioners) don’t tend to use the path as an always-on engagement.
❝ When we dabble in the teachings, we can experience a fraction of its liberative power, but not enough to fully escape from the body-mind’s relentless habits or offer our highest gifts to a suffering planet. To bring about the profound shifts we aspire to, both within ourselves and in our world, we must bring the teachings into every corner, every facet, every moment of our lives. ❞
This is not a casual read. It’s pretty dense. Readers are taken in depth through the classical teachings, learning how to craft a whole-life path for themselves. The myriad combinations by which the Eightfold Path can be applied to the many situations that arise in life are seen as an opportunity to practice in every moment, and to do so skilfully.
❝ As you develop your version of the whole-life path, pay attention to what uplifts you, to what sustains your interest and brings a sense of the path into everyday experience. ❞