Straight from the Heart brings together an inspiring collection of Buddhist teachings, songs of realization, meditation instructions, and enlightened poetry all chosen for their power to speak directly to the student. Drawn from Indian Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism as well as from all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, some will impress with their beautiful poetry and powerful imagery; others with their profound power of instruction. Still others share personal advice for life that seems to come directly from the mouth of the author, and some serve as immediate and profound practice instructions. Several are just delightfully unconventional, even outrageous, letting in fresh air on petrified views or musty traditions. Most of them are simply unknown precious gems, which deserve a wider audience. Each of the works is preceded by a brief introduction and a short biography of its author. Many of these are legendary accounts of supernatural feats edifying examples for students on the same spiritual path, meant to expand their limited outlook with “mind-blowing” stories. Miraculous deeds, magnificent songs, and pithy instructions distinguish this collection assembled by the Buddhist scholar and translator Karl Brunnhölzl, whose years of work among dharma texts and his skill as a translator yield a rich mine of teachings all chosen for their ability to speak directly to the heart.
"Essential teachings. . . . The deepest insights are presented here straight from the heart. I consider this a great contribution to the study of Buddhism."—Ringu Tulku
"Straight from the Heart is a priceless garland of Mahayana and Vajrayana literary gems that were previously difficult to locate. . . . Beautifully translated. . . . All communicate the singular power and beauty of the Dharma and undoubtedly will awaken or deepen faith in the reader as well as instruct and delight. . . . Brunnhölzl’s thoroughness in presenting these rare and inspiring materials can be gauged from the fact that the book contains well over one thousand footnotes furnishing further details both for the general reader and scholars. Straight from the Heart has an almost magical quality; it makes one feel as though one were sitting in the presence of all those wonderful masters."—Georg Feuerstein, PhD
"In the preface to Straight from the Heart: Buddhist Pith Instructions the translator Karl Brunnhölzl aptly compares his new anthology to a box of fine chocolates. There is a tremendous variety within the collection, and as with chocolates these unique and rich poems, songs, and pithy treatises are best appreciated one or two at a time. . . . For readers who enjoy a book that may be repeatedly dipped into for inspiration, Straight from the Heart is a very deep well indeed. Brunnhölzl strives for a balance of precision and clarity in his translations that make these esoteric instructions more accessible, and his commentaries contextualize the verses just enough without burying them in too much explanation."—Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly
"Straight from the Heart: Buddhist Pith Instructions is an exciting new collection of poetry, songs, meditation, instructions, and philosophical works by Indian and Tibetan Buddhist masters, much of which has previously been unavailable in Western languages. The eminently capable translator Karl Brunnhölzl has made his selections from the writings of such famous teachers as Nagarjuna Asanga and the Karmapas of Tibet as well as from those of lesser known teachers. Each selection is prefaced by an introduction and a biographical sketch of its author and is copiously annotated. The result is a compendium of profound and witty writings that will delight, inform, and inspire all who are interested in the Buddhist spiritual path."—Elizabeth Callahan, editor and translator of The Treasury of Knowledge, Book Six, Part Three: Frameworks of Buddhist Philosophy
"Well presented. . . . Brunnhölzl is an eminently capable translator and has made his selections from famous teachers like Nagarjuna Asanga and the Karmapas of Tibet. . . . Profound and witty writings that speak straight to the heart."—The Middle Way