Archive | Reviews


THE WAY OF THE WHITE CLOUDSThe_Way_of_the_White_Clouds_2400px

by Lama Anagarika Govinda | Read by Sean Barrett

Sean Barrett gives an illuminating narration of this essential work on Buddhism, which supports the premise that a guru sees truths unavailable in any book. Barrett is soft spoken and respectful but always compelling as he tells the first-person story of Govinda, who was born Ernst Hoffman (1898-1985) in Germany. As Govinda visits Tibet in the 1930s-1940s, before the Chinese invasion, listeners will benefit from hearing him struggle to understand particularly complex Buddhist concepts, such as what happened when he saw horses who mysteriously disappeared, leaving only their hooves behind. Barrett’s performance and explanation of a mantra are also helpful. Most enjoyable is meeting the wonderfully uncomplicated people and monks whom Govinda encountered, especially their moving reaction to a camp stove that seems to “magically” cook food.

S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine [Published: JUNE 2016]


The Buddha and the SahibsThe Buddha and the Sahibs
The men who discovered India’s lost religion

By Charles Allen  |  Read by Sam Dastor

Narrator Sam Dastor speaks with a low-pitched British enunciation–quite appropriate for many of the historical figures covered here. He might have come across as pedantic but
avoids that trap nicely. He does sound like a professor, but a friendly one with a conversational approach. The subject is the discovery of Sanskrit documents and archaeological ruins that illuminate the pre-Christian flourishing of Buddhism in India, where it eventually died out, for the most part, under the suppression of Brahmanism. Fascinating are the historical figures of various nationalities, including a non-British fellow who was an outright fraud. Here’s a good way to increase your knowledge of the Raj! D.R.W. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine [Published: MARCH 2016]

Philosophy & Religion • 12.25 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2002

Cave in the Snow – Audible Review

Cave in the SnowCave in the Snow

“East End fish-shop to meditation box!” – Review – by Rachel Redford

Born in 1943, Tenzin Palmo is a world-renowned spiritual leader, but she started life as Diane Perry living up above her father’s fish-shop in the East End. Her mother dabbled in spiritualism – Diane was used to witnessing levitation – but otherwise there was nothing unusual about her upbringing. There certainly is about Tenzin Palmo, as Diane Perry became.

She has devoted herself with spectacular single mindedness to seeking Enlightenment and to the tenets of Buddhism. During a long spiritual career in which she has championed the right of women to achieve spiritual Enlightenment, for 12 years she lived in a cave 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas enduring temperatures well below zero, near suffocation during snowfalls and exercising the most stringent form of meditation. For months at a time she completed 12 hours of meditation in every 24 inside a meditation box. The experience is beyond the imagining of most people, but Tenzin Palmo who hungers for meaning and believes her way of life can help all suffering people and bring them to bliss is no ordinary person.

Whether you are Buddhist or not, whether you embrace another religion or no religion at all, you cannot fail to be deeply impressed by this astonishing testament. Do you feel sympathy with Tenzin’s mother who couldn’t help exclaiming the first time she saw her daughter’s shaved head, ‘My poor little shorn lamb!’? Do you believe in the rainbow death when a devout person shrinks so much after death that all that remains are bits of hair and nails as bursts of strange coloured lights emanate from where the body lies? It doesn’t matter whether you believe or not, but your ideas will be stimulated. You will meet a woman with astounding determination who will show you the beauties of Buddhist philosophy which has no God the Father or the equivalent at its centre but what she calls ‘a genderless absolute’.

Her biography is produced by the newly launched Dharma Audiobooks which specialises in Buddhist topics from all traditions. – Review – 5 stars – Julianne Waggoner – “Wonderfully inspirational!”

I just could not stop listening….I feel forever changed by her life and comitment. Thank You Pioneer in our female form. – Review – 5 stars – Jeanette H. – “Listened to this in Nepal and Bhutan…”

Was excellent and probably one of fastest books I have listened to. Couldn’t wait to hear what else was happening.


Some Sayings of the Buddha – Reviewed

Some Sayings of the BuddhaSome Sayings of the Buddha
According to the Pali Canon

by F.L. Woodward [Compiler and Translator] | Read by Neville Jason

Neville Jason’s seamless narration creates an atmosphere of calm contemplation that perfectly complements this translation of the Pali Canon–the literary foundation of Theravadan Buddhism. Jason moves smoothly through the plethora of Buddhist reflections and parables on aspects of life and death that include family, health, sickness, and old age. Jason’s deliberate pacing highlights the duality and paradoxes of numerous passages, and his wistful intonations create a gentle pause for breath and reflection–which are often needed to fully digest the Buddhist concepts translated into a formal English style. Although shorter listening sessions may be best to fully absorb these complex philosophical ideas, Jason’s peaceful reading makes for a tranquil listening experience of any length. M.F. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine [Published: MARCH 2016]

Philosophy & Religion • 11.25 hrs. • Unabridged •


What is the DharmaWHAT IS THE DHARMA?
The Essential Teachings of the Buddha

Urgyen Sangharakshita, Read by Jinananda

Jinananda is like a patient and helpful teacher as he narrates this examination of the practical nature of Buddhism. This title is particularly engaging because it’s written in the first person and speaks directly to the listener. The author clearly explains why he converted to Buddhism and movingly shares his own experiences before and after his conversion. The various schools of Buddhism and their complex lists and ideas are enumerated, making this material especially helpful to those new to the study of Buddhism. The occasional use of Sanskrit (including translations) adds to the listening experience, and the subtle humor is a welcome addition. Listeners will appreciate the parables while absorbing some of Buddhism’s intricate concepts. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
Dharma Audiobooks • Trade Ed.

Unabridged • MARCH 2016

Therigatha – Reviewed – Audiofile Magazine

Poems of Early Buddhist Nuns

Read by Vishvantara and Jinananda

This collection of 73 poetic verses is a significant document in early Buddhism as well as the earliest known collection of women’s literature. The stories and poems stem from the sixth century BCE. The first narrator, Jinananda, sounds steady and instructive. With great intention in his tone, he explains the journey of these nuns. Vishvantara, the next voice, impersonates the nuns’ awakening moments. Her timbre is usually harmonious although her tone conveys assertiveness when necessary. Both narrators create the sense of a time shift with their pace and slight English accents. Overall, the narrations project a calming serenity. T.E.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine [Published: FEBRUARY 2016]

Gautama Buddha – Reviewed – Audiofile

The Life and Teachings of the Awakened One

Vishvapani Blomfield, Read by Jonathan Keeble • Unabridged • MARCH 2016

Blomfield’s ambitious full-length biography of Gautama Buddha–the source and voice of one of the world’s leading religions–is expertly delivered by narrator Jonathan Keeble. The epic tale is unique in that it relays both the main teachings of Buddhism as presented in the Discourses, as well as background information from historians and scholars. Given that the author wished to stray from an overly fictionalized account of the Buddha’s life, Keeble’s masterful pacing and soothing baritone transports listeners to the world of Gautama Buddha while maintaining a scholarly tone. But this isn’t to say the book sounds like a history lesson. On the contrary, this is a tale that listeners can settle into and become fully absorbed in–much like meditation itself. R.A. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

Dharma Audiobooks • Digital Download