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The Living Dharma Centre Virtual Book Club

Our current selection is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

This little book which was published in 1959 has been wonderful to read….and re-read. It clearly shows truly how having “bad things happen is inevitable, but suffering is optional”. Although one could think that reading about Dr. Frankl having been a successful psychiatrist with a loving family and pregnant wife entering the concentration camps of WWII and immediately losing his entire family to the gas chambers would be depressing, it strangely isn’t. Rather than giving up, he finds meaning to his life and goes on to inspire multiple generations and countless people.

A few quotes from the book:

“Another time we were at work in a trench. The dawn was gray around us;; gray was the sky above;; gray the snow in the pale light of dawn;; gray the rags in which my fellow prisoners were clad, and gray their faces. I was again conversing silently with my wife, or perhaps I was struggling to find the reason for my sufferings, my slow dying. In a last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death, I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopeless, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious “Yes” in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose.”

“And there were always choices to make. Everyday, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom;; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate……in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him — mentally and spiritually.”

Our next Virtual Book Club Offerings will be two books to choose from.

Firstly, for those serious students of the teachings, we will be looking at “Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot” by Soyen Shaku, translated by D.T. Suzuki. Unless you are extremely lucky enough to find a copy of this old book, it is available for free as a PDF file.

Secondly, we have a book that has been suggested by one of our original book club members as a beautiful read: “Birds Art Life” by Kyo Maclear. Here is a quote about the book by Barbara Gowdy “Every now and then you read a book that changes the way you see the world. For me, Birds Art Life is one such book. The writing is marvelously pure and honest and light. At the same time, magically, it is erudite, generous and brimming with meaning and event. Birds Art Life is a book I know I will return to again and again for inspiration and solace”. This book is available at Chapters both in-store and on-line for less than $30.

There is no better time for a great read than summertime!! If you are interested in joining our discussions at any time, please email Barb MacCarl at:

The Living Dharma Centre

Image Courtesy of My Friend Staci.