Tag Archives: Book

The Purpose of Life

It has been a while since the last time I set my foot in a Wat (Thai Buddhist temple). Even though there is a Wat, Wat Buddharangsee, just around the corner where I live in Sydney, I only visit them once or twice. I often see a monk sweeping footpath and walking around the street. Thai take-away shop in the neighbour always offers them food as a merit making in Thai tradition. It is actually a very decent community.

In the past life back in Bangkok, I hardly went to monastery. I tagged along with my family when I was little, traditionally made merit for my birthday once a year and hunted for a fine astrologer occasionally. Nevertheless, I still tick the Buddhist box in the religion question if anyone asks. Its core philosophy makes sense when I question about life. It is not easy to find the single answer fits all. Buddhism does not necessarily give any solid solution that but surely gets you some perspectives. It is important for individuals to find their own paths to reach their achievements.

Anyway, a new book from Aukana Trust, a Buddhist charity organisation in UK, which uses one of my photographs as the cover, is out now. The Purpose of Life: The Essential Teaching of a Buddhist Master by Jacqui James, co-founder of Aukana Trust, is a compilation of his lectures.

Between these covers you will find a vivid and frank account of spirituality. This book is grounded in Jacqui James’s experience of searching for and realising enlightenment, and subsequently teaching the Buddha’s way.

In straightforward language Jacqui explains what genuine spirituality means, and in the process explodes many myths. There is a searching examination of Buddhism, asking: what is essential in the journey to enlightenment, and what is just tradition and folklore?

The emphasis throughout is on how modern women and men can apply the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. Jacqui shows how this can improve life beyond measure, how it leads onward towards enlightenment, and why this is the purpose of life.

It can be ordered online through Wisdom Books. I cannot wait for the book to be posted; not only to see how the photograph is like on paperback cover but also to re-explore the thoughts of that guy who named himself the awaken one, Buddha.

First Published

I cannot remember how long ago I have not googled myself until last night. Amongst the usual associate and photography sites, one surprising result is from Google Books. Thanks to this new beta version of Google search engine, I have found my first photograph published in a book.

Extinction & Biogeography of Tropical Pacific BirdsExtinction & Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds

Apparently, one of my good old rainbow lorikeet photographs is an illustration in a scientific book, Extinction & Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Bird by David W. Steadman. I gave the permission to use the image in the book two years ago but thought that the author was not going to use it because I had not heard from him since. So I forgot about it.

Although the black & white version in the book blanches the colourful feature of the couple from the original web version and, in fact, they are not captive animals as captioned, I feel honoured that it is a part of an epic research of birds in the region.

Sprinkled across the tropical Pacific, the innumerable islands of Oceania are home to some of the most unique bird communities on the planet, and they sustain species found nowhere else on earth. Many of the birds that live in this region are endangered, however; many more have become extinct as a result of human activity, in both recent and prehistoric times.

Reconstructing the avian world in the same way archeologists re-create ancient human societies, David Steadman—a leading authority on tropical Pacific avian paleontology—has spent the past two decades in the field, digging through layers of soil in search of the bones that serve as clues to the ancient past of island bird communities. His years of indefatigable research and analysis are the foundation for Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds, a monumental study of the landbirds of tropical Pacific islands—especially those from Fiji eastward to Easter Island—and an intricate history of the patterns and processes of island biology over time.

Dr. Steadman came across the image through the Web as well as I discovered the book from the same channel. It is a wonderful world of the Internet.

Image Makers, Image Takers

Image Makers Image Takers

Image Makers Image Takers by Anne-Celine Jaeger is basically a collection of insightful interviews of living legends in photography business. That includes the big names like Martin Parr, David LaChapelle and rising stars such as Alec Soth. And the list goes on.

But what I like the most in this book is the section she involves a number of major curator and photo editors of our time, for instance, Camilla Brown from the Photographers’ Gallery, Kathy Ryan from New York Times and Gerhard Steidl from, of course, Steidl.

Although this second part of the book is smaller than photographers’ dialogues, if gives another spectrum of this huge medium. The great thing is to hear from people who get to see photographs as a profession in depth. I want more of them.