Back to the Books

Some readers may recall I have taken up a bit of a hobby, creating booklets to help me along with my practice of Buddhism.  I first posted about these projects on November 21, 2011, and again on December 12, 2011 when I improved upon the cover design of the first book. Later (posted January 16, 2012) I expanded my collection to include smaller “travel-size” booklets and continued improvements in cover design.

Over the last couple weeks I have slowly worked toward a third-generation of books covering much of the same basic material, but including several additional suttas and cover design changes.  This weekend, I completed three such books.

Three new books completed February 26, 2012

While they each share about 30-35% of the content, the full-size one includes a copy of the Dhammapada (thanks to accesstoinsight.org) while the smaller ones instead include smaller discourses from the Khuddakapatha and Udana.  Another photo, with cover opened, may be seen here.

Home Study Compilation

Starting on the left, the first booklet is the Home Study Compilation. This will live at my desk for those times when I decide I will read while I am there. The first of this set of books, it acted as a proof-of-concept for several changes made in the construction process. It is the first of my booklets that is made to be expandable, and is actually only about 40% filled. I’m hopeful to eventually compile the Dhammapada (used in the full-size version) into a format that will fit in this size. This booklet also served as my quality-control copy — after printing it, I made several (mostly minor) changes to the text used in order to ensure better printing of subsequent copies.

Work Compilation

Next is the Work Study Compilation.  As it’s name might imply, this book will go to work with me today and reside in my locker where it will be available for me to read while on breaks and lunch.  The copy of the Dhammapada included is actually recycled from the second generation full-size I created around Thanksgiving last year (in which I found no errors). The cover design on this book ended up somewhat flawed, but I believe I have learned enough to prevent the same error from occurring in future books.  In case it isn’t obvious, each book is sort of an experiment and I learn a little bit each time I make one. I guess that is how it is with any hobby, right?

Travel Compilation

The final book is my Travel Study Compilation, which will reside in the family van. Generally, this one will find use immediately prior to my clocking in at work, but if I go anywhere else I can feel comfort in knowing that I still have the opportunity to read if I so choose. Like the first book, this one is expandable, but the cover design is improved with a simple cardboard backing (made by recycling parts of a box of crackers) which improves its durability (made more apparent in this photo). I also switched to a simpler binding punch design and skipped the front-cover ribbon.

After filling the smaller books to capacity (a long-term project with no rush on it) I will most likely use ribbon to cover the spine — a finishing touch of sorts.

I have found making these books to be a very interesting and fun diversion from daily chaos, and I feel like the making and use of them is a sort of offering to the teachings which are helping me reshape my life in a more positive way.  I do get some odd looks from time to time when I reply to someone asking me “what are you reading?” but I find humor in it anymore. Making these books also helps me to practice patience, as they do take quite some time to get “just right.” Additionally, doing the books (or any other hobby, I imagine) aid in the practice of unbinding in the fact that sometimes things don’t turn out quite right and I have to be willing to just let it go. It is interesting, at least for me, to see how difficult that can be — but it gets easier the more often one does it.

Anyway, I just felt like sharing my latest creations, and my thoughts about them, a bit.   I hope you are well today and find peace.  With metta, friends.

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