Thursday, February 8, 2007

Landscapes of Wonder

Landscapes of Wonder
Wisdom Publications 1998
$14.95 p/b

The essays in Landscapes of Wonder are prose meditation, and what prose it is! Nyanasobhano describes a country walk and it becomes an investigation of impermanence. He reads the paper, and reflects on the mind and its search for distraction. The quality of the essays varies, and some feel like routine expositions of Buddhist teachings. But at its best his writing is filled with a contemplative spaciousness that expands when his metaphors take flight, or when he describes nature, into a sublime evocation of a meditator’s poetic sensibility.

The writer is a former playwright, now ordained as an American bhikkhu, who lives quietly in the US, but this book reveals a literary power rare among writers on Buddhism. Some might think his style old-fashioned, but others will love the cadences of Emerson and Thoreau, and behind them the English Romantics. This is an inspiring book, to read with pleasure and contemplate with care. Vishvapani

review by Vishvapani, first published in Dharma Life 12, Spring 2000

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