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 or more group meetings with the book’s 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.

2024 Schedule 

How Not to Be a Hot Mess
A Buddhist Survival Guide for Modern Life
By nico and devon hase

It may seem like the world is going to hell in a handbasket right now. Whether it’s big stuff like politics and climate change, or just the daily spin of paying your bills, getting to work on time, and fending off social media trolls, we can all admit, modern life ain’t easy. Here are six really good guiding principles, inspired from the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and mindfulness practice, to keep you anchored and steady amidst the chaos.

“For Devon and Nico Hase, a clear mind and wise choices are what enable us to define ourselves in a frenetic world. Writing with a combination of wit, refreshing honesty, and wisdom, they give us a guide to reclaiming our true selves from the definitions of the world, so that we can enjoy the happiness this brings.”—Sharon Salzberg

“How Not to Be a Hot Mess is an engaging exploration of how to bring dharma practice into the nitty-gritty of our lives. It offers a clear-sighted view of the challenges of these times and the potential for living with integrity and deepening understanding in the midst of them. As its subtitle suggests, it is indeed a survival guide for modern life—a guide written with insight, humor, and great friendliness.”—Joseph Goldstein

Date: Thursday, January 25, 7-8 PM ET

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Healing Our Way Home
Black Buddhist Teachings on Ancestors, Joy, and Liberation
By Kaira Jewel Lingo, Valerie Brown, and Marisela B. Gomez

Join three friends, three Black women, all teachers in the Plum Village tradition founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, in intimate conversation, touching on the pain and beauty of their families of origin, relationships and loneliness, intimacy and sexuality, politics, popular culture, race, self-care and healing. No subject is out of bounds in this free-flowing, wide-ranging offering of mindful wisdom to nourish our sense of belonging and connection with ancestors.

“Generous and restorative, this powerful trinity of Black authors invites us into the living room of their hearts, affirming who we are with earthy straight talk, textured diversity, and wise tenderness. Healing Our Way Home takes us back and moves us forward in joy, unity, and reverence. Read if you want both comfort and truth.”—Ruth King

“As a White-bodied person, I am enlarged by Healing Our Way Home—reading it has brought smiles and tears, understanding and inspiration. These wise teachings guide us to reconnect with our spiritual roots and bring a courageous presence into our contemporary world. The book itself is an activity of love, like an intimate warm conversation at the kitchen table.”—Tara Brach

Date: Wednesday, February 28, 7-8 PM ET

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Time for Awakening
A Memoir
By Constance Casey

A remarkable shift alters the course of a midwestern mother’s life as she heeds an inner call through the wisdom of Buddhist meditation instructions. Woven intricately with insights cultivated during her recovery journey, this empowering and radically honest blend of memoir and guiding narrative charts her spiritual evolution into abiding awakening. With faith and resilience, author Constance Casey learns to shape her own unique meditative expression, finding balance while navigating the complexities of parenting two teenage sons, the intricacies of close relationships, managing financial constraints, and building a home.

Whether on the cushion or amidst daily chores, Constance’s exploration yields profound openings. Through vivid illustration, we are transported into the heart of her practice, feeling the rhythm of her thoughts, serenity of stillness, and revelations born in silence. Beyond a personal tale, “Time for Awakening” is a guiding light for those considering extended retreat practice.

“Constance Casey is a genuine and accomplished spiritual adept who shows us what is possible in opening to freedom. Propelled by remarkable dedication and compelling honesty, this Midwest mother and carpenter takes us on a profound meditative journey into the depths of insight and awakening.” —Jack Kornfield

“Part memoir, part guide to self-knowing, “Time for Awakening” is a spiritual coming-of-age story that serves to inspire and accompany those drawn to the path of liberation. Through curiosity and vulnerability, Constance shares her transformative experiences and embodied wisdom, inviting us into a deeper understanding of the human journey.” —Sharon Salzberg

Date: Thursday, March 7,  7-8 PM ET

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The New Saints
From Broken Hearts to Spiritual Warriors
By Lama Rod Owens

Saints, spiritual warriors, bodhisattvas, tzaddikim―no matter how they are named in a given tradition, they all share a profound wish to free others from suffering. Saints are not unattainable beings of stained glass or carved stone. “Saints are ordinary and human, doing things any person can learn to do,” teaches Lama Rod Owens. “Our era calls for saints who are from this time and place, speak the language of this moment, and integrate both social and spiritual liberation. I believe we all can and must become New Saints.”

With The New Saints, Lama Rod shares a guidebook for becoming an effective agent of justice, peace, and change. Combining personal stories, traditional teachings, and instructions for contemplative and somatic practices, he shares inspiring resources for self-exploration and wise action. Each chapter reinforces the truth of our interdependency―allowing us to be of service to the collective well-being, access the unseen realms of divine guidance and strength, and call on the support of the countless beings who share our struggles and hopes.

“The New Saints will challenge your current understanding and offer fresh inspiration about ways, together, we can bring healing to our beautiful and broken world. This is a bold and powerful offering―one that attunes to our times with great lucidity, wisdom, and heart.”―Tara Brach

“Step-by-step, Lama Rod Owens prods us to be bold and outrageous, to give up on the idea of justice and instead commit to the wild and arduous task of embodied liberation. In this, we find freedom and power. In this, our hearts begin to heal. In this work, we discover that in all our messy, inspired humanity, we are, indeed, the New Saints.” ―Swami Jaya Devi, author of Embodied

Date: Wednesday, March 27,  7-8:15 PM ET

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The Trauma of Caste
A Dalit Feminist Meditation on Survivorship, Healing, and Abolition
By Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Dalit American activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan puts forth a call to awaken and act. She ties Dalit oppression to fights for liberation among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, femme, and Queer communities, examining caste from a feminist, abolitionist, and Dalit Buddhist perspective–and laying bare the grief, trauma, rage, and stolen futures enacted by Brahminical social structures on the caste-oppressed.

Soundararajan’s work includes embodiment exercises, reflections, and meditations to help readers explore their own relationship to caste and marginalization—and to step into their power as healing activists and changemakers. She offers skills for cultivating wellness within dynamics of false separation, sharing how both oppressor and oppressed can heal the wounds of caste and transform collective suffering. Incisive and urgent, The Trauma of Caste is an activating beacon of healing and liberation, written by one of the world’s most needed voices in the fight to end caste apartheid.

“… a powerful reintroduction to Buddhism as a response to the unjust suffering of caste.… The Trauma of Caste is an instant socially engaged Buddhist classic and is crucial reading for all who are committed to Sanghas rooted in liberation in all beings.”—Rhonda V. Magee

Date: Wednesday, May 29, 7- 8:30 PM ET

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Full Simplicity
The Art of Renunciation and Letting Go
By Kim Allen

In the Buddhist tradition, renunciation typically includes leaving the household life. What does this mean for laypeople who devote their lives fully to the Dharma? Kim Allen provides an invaluable guide to renunciation as a path for lay Buddhist practitioners. In early Buddhist teachings, renunciation is associated with ease, harmony, and wisdom. For both monastics and laypeople, it provides a broad and deep underpinning to the entire Buddhist path, such that engagement with it draws forth our most beautiful qualities and supports the letting go that leads to Awakening. The book deftly combines sutta analysis, clear commentary and interpretation, and real-world examples from modern practitioners’ lives.

Date: Tuesday, June 4, 7-8:15 PM ET

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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
  • Bhikkhu Bodhi
  • Pam Weiss
  • Chenxing Han
  • Mark Coleman
  • Kaira Jewel Lingo
  • George Mumford
  • Mark Epstein
  • Rhonda V. Magee
  • Martin Aylward
  • Dan Harris
  • Kate Johnson
  • Guy Armstrong
  • Oren Jay Sofer
  • Richard Shankman
  • Jacoby Ballard
  • Allan Cooper
  • Christina Feldman
  • Rima Vesely-Flad
  • Amita Schmidt
  • Shaila Catherine
  • Valerie Brown
  • yung pueblo
  • John Teasdale
  • Kimberly Brown
  • Rev. Liên Shutt