IMS Book Club

Each month, the IMS Book Club brings together authors and readers for a facilitated discussion on the featured dharma-book-of-the-month. Our book club offers participants a deeper experience and engagement with early Buddhist teachings and practice through the lens of the selected book.

Essential Information:

  • The IMS Book Club is entirely free of charge.
  • All Book Club meetings will be held online  through the IMS Online Learning Center.
  • Each monthly Book Club event will feature a new book and one to three group meetings, including at least one session with the author.
  • If the author/teacher does not participate in all the sessions, an insight teacher from IMS will moderate those discussions in place of the author.
  • Beyond these basic guidelines, authors will be able to tailor their book club meetings as they see fit, so the structure of book club gatherings may vary from month to month.
  • Dana:  If you enjoy this free offering and would like to give to IMS, we will include donation links when we email the video recordings of each Book Club meeting to registered members after each session. Note: authors/teachers benefit from the promotion and sale of their books. If other teachers, or assistant teachers, help support a Book Club, IMS will compensate those teachers directly for their time.

Want to Join?

To join the IMS Book Club, simply register hereYou will receive monthly invitations to sign up for the book-of-the-month discussions that interest you. Although there is no charge to join the book club, participants will need to secure their own copies of the books prior to the start of the monthly discussion group.

How Are Books Chosen? 

All titles featured in the IMS Book Club are selected by IMS staff and Guiding Teachers. Selections must align with IMS’s mission and values. Rooted in the early Buddhist teachings of ethics, concentration, and wisdom, chosen titles will support the development of awareness and compassion.

Fall 2022 Schedule 

A Householder’s Vinaya
With Home and Sangha Retreat Guides
By Allan Cooper

“In A Householder’s Vinaya, Allan Cooper describes in detail and depth guidelines for realizing our highest dharma aspirations. Going beyond conventional notions of daily life practice, Allan’s deep wisdom both challenges and inspires us to raise the bar of impeccability as we undertake the liberating teachings of the Buddha. In this unique work, there is a wealth of practical advice for transforming everyday life experiences into a genuine path of awakening. Highly recommended.”—Joseph Goldstein

A Householder’s Vinaya invites and instructs the meditator to use the comings and goings of everyday life as one of the foundations of one’s home practice; to recondition the mind away from the habit of turning away from our meditation while navigating our everyday lives. Instead this book, shows readers how to embrace it all as practice.

Date: Tuesday, September 13, at 7 PM ET

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here.

 

Boundless Heart
The Buddha’s Path of Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity
By Christina Feldman

Compassion, kindness, equanimity, and joy are not only the fruits of the awakened life but also the path to it: attitudes of mind that can be cultivated by anyone willing to set the intention for doing so. In Boundless Heart, Christina Feldman shows how these ennobling qualities—known in Buddhism as the brahma viharas (sublime abodes) or the Four Immeasurables—are far more than simply the “feel-good” states they are sometimes mistaken for. If we pursue them sincerely as spiritual practice, they work together, complementing and enhancing each other, to lead us to the kind of awakening that we are compelled to share with others. Christina Feldman’s simple practices lead readers toward a life infused with kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity—and to a way of being that promotes those qualities to the world at large.

“Thanks to Christina Feldman for this important contribution on practices to develop kindness. Boundless Heart helps locate these ancient and essential practices in modern life. Anyone who wishes to know the sense of freedom kindness can bring will treasure this book.” —Sharon Salzberg

Date: Sunday, September 25, at 11 AM ET

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here.

 

Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition
The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation
By Rima Vesely-Flad

Black Buddhist teachers and practitioners interpret western Buddhism in unique spiritual and communal ways. Rima Vesely-Flad makes the case that given their experiences with racism―both in the larger society and also within largely white-oriented Buddhist organizations―Black cultural frameworks are necessary for illuminating the Buddha’s wisdom.

Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition shows that Buddhist teachings as practiced by Black Americans emphasize different aspects of the religion than do those in white convert Buddhist communities, focusing more on devotional practices to ancestors and community uplift. Drawing on interviews with forty Black Buddhist teachers and practitioners, Rima Vesely-Flad argues that Buddhist teachings, through their focus on healing intergenerational trauma, provide a vitally important foundation for achieving Black liberation.

Date: Tuesday, October 25, at 7 PM ET

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here

Dipa Ma
The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master
By Amy Schmidt

A rare female Buddhist master, Dipa Ma chose home, work, and family over ascetic seclusion in a temple or monastery, and taught meditation and mindfulness amidst everyday busyness in her simple apartment in the heart of Calcutta. One of the few women of her generation to devote herself so completely to the pursuit of meditation, Dipa Ma attained profound levels of insight in an astonishingly short time, and greatly influenced the practice of meditation and mindful living in the West.

Dipa Ma’s profound wisdom and compassion continue to inspire and guide an ever-growing number of spiritual seekers and practitioners of every persuasion. Weaving together her powerful words and techniques with heartwarming biographical stories and encounters shared by her family, her students in India and the West, and prominent teachers of Buddhism and meditation in America, this is the only full account of Dipa Ma’s extraordinary life and legacy.

“Dipa Ma was the most loving person I ever met.”—Sharon Salzberg

Date: Thursday, November 3, at 7 PM ET

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here

Beyond Distraction
Five Practical Ways to Focus the Mind
By Shaila Catherine

The mind can be a potent tool, used to guide extraordinary achievements, inspire good works, and incline your spiritual path toward peace and awakening. But the mind can also produce thoughts that lead to suffering. For many people, thoughts run rampant and seem to oppress or control their lives. Even the Buddha tells us that before his enlightenment, he sometimes found his mind preoccupied by thoughts connected with sensual desire, ill will, and harm. But he figured out how to respond to thoughts skillfully and developed a step-by-step approach to calm the restless mind.

Here, IMS teacher Shaila Catherine offers an accessible approach to training the mind that is guided by the Buddha’s pragmatic instructions on removing distracting thoughts. Drawing on two scriptures in the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, Shaila shows you how to overcome habitual modes of thinking, develop deeper concentration, and discover the insights into emptiness that are vital for a liberating spiritual path.

Date: Tues., November 15 & Tues., November 22, both at 7 PM ET

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here

 

Hope Leans Forward
Braving Your Way toward Simplicity, Awakening, and Peace

By Valerie Brown

Daily we are asked to stretch in the direction of goodness, kindness, forgiveness, patience, and vulnerability. Yet life’s fragility, fear and anxiety, and our own self-sabotage can derail us from growing and thriving, leaving us stuck, fractured, and constantly second-guessing ourselves. How can we gain greater self-awareness and bravery to break these patterns?

Ordained Buddhist teacher and Quaker Valerie Brown invites us into the heart of compassion, insight, and courage. Hope Leans Forward explores Buddhist teachings on the Seven Factors of Awakening and the wisdom of Quaker faith and practice. It is a guidebook for all of us who are on journeys of self-transformation, self-discovery, and spiritual discernment. Centering small, everyday acts of bravery with diverse stories from marginalized communities, Brown’s unique perspective as a Black Buddhist Dharma teacher in the Plum Village tradition and her extensive leadership experience shepherd us in navigating life’s essential questions to discover true aliveness and meaning. When we focus on cultivating clarity and discernment in our purpose, we begin to understand that we are truly connected to―and that we contribute to―a larger whole.

Date: Thursday, December 1, at 7 PM ET

For more information and to register for the meeting, click here

Previous IMS Book Club Authors Include
  • Sharon Salzberg
  • Gregory Kramer
  • Rodney Smith
  • Joseph Goldstein
  • Sebene Selassie
  • Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Ruth King, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Kamilah Majied, Gyozan Royce Andrew Johnson
  • Judson Brewer
  • Narayan Helen Liebenson
  • Chenxing Han
  • Mark Coleman
  • Kaira Jewel Lingo
  • George Mumford
  • Mark Epstein
  • Rhonda V. Magee
  • Martin Aylward
  • Dan Harris
  • Kate Johnson
  • Guy Armstrong
  • Jacoby Ballard