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Beloved Buddhist nun Ayya Khema expertly guides the reader through ten meditations on generating loving-kindness and cultivating the fifteen wholesome qualities necessary for igniting compassion and boundless love.
Having escaped Nazi Germany in 1938, Ayya Khema has singularly profound perspective on creating peace, unconditional love, and compassion. She gently teaches that inner peace is not necessarily natural or innate. Instead, peace should be considered a skill that needs intentional practice—every day. Peace is the sum of many parts, namely the fifteen wholesome qualities the Buddha himself noted in the Metta Sutta, including usefulness, mildness, humility, contentment, receptivity, and others. Ayya Khema expertly guides us through each individual condition, using her trademark humor and personal narrative, to help each reader shape their own path to self-transformation.
The second part of the book includes an eye-opening discussion of metta (loving-kindness) as both a morality and concentration practice, as well as ten meditation practices that use visualizations rather than more traditional mantra repetition. These visualizations include your heart as a "Fountain of Love," reaching those close to you and those far away, and a "Flower Garden," where we tend to the blooms in our hearts through love and compassion and share them with others. Edited by her student and retreat leader, Leigh Brasington, this book is a complete course in practical ways to calm and brighten our minds.
About the Author
AYYA KHEMA was born to a Jewish family in Berlin in 1923. Escaping Germany in 1938, she went on to study Buddhism and meditation all over world, including the San Francisco Zen Center. In 1979, she was ordained a Theravadin Buddhist nun, receiving the name Khema, meaning “safety and security” (Ayya means “sister”). Ayya Khema established a forest monastery near Sidney, Australia; a training center for nuns in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Buddha-Haus, a meditation center in the Allgäu, Germany. Among her books are When the Iron Eagle Flies; Being Nobody, Going Nowhere; Who Is My Self?; and an autobiography, I Give You My Life.
LEIGH BRASINGTON, author of Right Concentration, studied the jhanas with the late Ven. Ayya Khema, who authorized him to teach retreats on the jhanas. He was also empowered to teach by Jack Kornfield. He teaches numerous jhana retreats throughout the year, at venues that include Cloud Mountain, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Gaia House, Vallecitos, and Southern Dharma.
“A survivor of war and anti-Semitism, Ayya Khema embodied an all-forgiving compassion. She lived with great courage. In the California desert, on the Nuns’ Island in Sri Lanka, in Germany and New Mexico and other venues, she gave her clear, concise exposition of the Buddha’s teachings—advocating for women’s full participation in the Buddhist world and founding organizations and practice centers to awaken the flame of Dharma in everyone’s heart. In this book, Ayya Khema highlights the muscularity of Buddhist practice, the mindful effort necessary for the cultivation of love—first for ourselves and then reaching out to cradle our beleaguered world. In plain language she guides us to transform our suffering to joy in every aspect of our lives as we walk the path to peace.”—Sandy Boucher, author of Turning the Wheel