Upon inspecting the cover of this little square book, I swear the Buddha contains a glint of confident mischief in his eye along with a hint of a humorous smile.  This is all quite befitting Words of Wisdom (Koa Books, 2008) because as I flipped through the quotes compiled by Lama Surya Das, I was pleasantly surprised to see mixed up with the usual spiritual advice a number of light-hearted quips and the kind of puns that both make you groan on the outside but smile on the inside.  For example, a little gem from the final third:  “You are far more Buddha-full than you think.”  Now, taken from the vantage point of a non-Buddhist, non-Inspirational person like me, I think “haha, Buddha-full,” and at least get a little conscience relief from a good chuckle.  But when you think about it—and this book has liberal sprinklings of Buddha-centric advice such as “Buddhas have more fun”—it kind of works, and it kind of makes sense…

I am sure there is a certain feeling of zen, reading the passages in the book as they are arranged, wistfully spread amongst tiny decorative leaves floating meaningfully through the pages.  Words of Wisdom is the kind of book you buy as a gift for the person in the office working a little too hard, or the friend who needs new direction in their life, or just for yourself to provide you with the inspiration and advice to make it to the next day.   It’s reminiscent of the kind of e-mail forwards you might receive that don’t involve an essay of photographs or an elaborate joke…while many of them may not hit the mark, sometimes there is that one piece of advice that really sticks to your heart.  The book is quite a few grades above the kind of “Confucius say…” jibber-jabber you might find in the novelty section yet refrains from slamming you with hardcore INSPIRATION—this mini-tome from Lama Surya Das is a zen-fully balanced addition to the genre of “collected sayings.”  Read it and maybe you can aspire to be a “Type B—for Buddha—personality.”

Words of Wisdom
Lama Surya Das
Koa Books, 2008
146 pages

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Words of Wisdom provided by Koa Books for review purposes. Koa Books or any related affiliates had no input in the content of this review.