Animal Sutras

Animal Spirit Stories By Stephen Levine

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About this book:

Animal Sutras
Animal Spirit Stories
by Stephen Levine

The latest from Stephen, an intimate spiritual memoir, told through encounters with animals and nature . . .

Subjects: Spirituality, Memoir, Buddhism

5.5 x 8.75, cloth with dustjacket
176 pages

ISBN 10:
ISBN 13: 978-1-948626-06-4

Book Details

Description

Stephen Levine often spoke of “animal-people” as his greatest teachers. At age seventy, he began collecting animal spirit-stories and transcendent moments in nature from throughout his life—from the green snake who taught him to meditate as a boy to the generous hen whom predators would not harm, and many more. “Animals have a natural mindfulness,” he writes. “They know what they are doing. Humans, who are full of confusion and seldom wholly in touch with their mind/body, need encouragement and technique to live in the present.”

This new, posthumously published, collection of his writings from Monkfish provides much encouragement, and many tips on technique.

Early Praise

"I love this book. It feels like a secret treasure bequeathed by Stephen Levine to be opened after his death—an overflowing vessel of insight, humor and literary genius. For those of us who find the deepest dharma shining from the eyes of our animal companions, this collection is a cause for celebration. Animal Sutras may be the best book Stephen Levine ever wrote." —Mirabai Starr, Caravan of No Despair and Wild Mercy

“Stephen was a profound healer of the heart, writer and meditation teacher. In Animal Sutras, his other gifts shine, as a wise poet-naturalist and Dharma storyteller-philosopher, offered here in a lyrical, quirky, playful, and inviting collection.”—Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart

“A beautiful treasure house of a book: wise, tender, and surprising. Our precious friend has given us a great gift.”—Roshi Joan Halifax

"This is a great book, written with Stephen Levine's characteristic sumptuous brilliance. It is nothing less than a profoundly naked initiation into the tender and grateful relationship we all need to reclaim with the natural world. Read it again and again and allow Stephen Levine to take you by the hand into the true magic of our amazing world."—Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

“With an eye for beauty, a poetic genius, and a heart of wisdom, Stephen shares these precious teachings learned from spirit animals. The moonlit skunk, the mouse of faith, and the bear of compassion transmit boundless love and the transcendent truth of the nature of life. Stephen invites us into gratefulness, an awareness of unity and the wild freedom expressed though a life fully lived. Reading it will open you to a joyful life.”—Frank Ostaseski, author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully

"This small treasure of a book is about the better animals of our nature. Stephen Levine has called upon the Muse of Story to distill into words his many encounters with animals, and how the meeting of these shared consciounesses has illuminated and guided the instincts and attitudes of his heart. In the spirit of Ovid and Aesop, the J?takas and La Fontaine, but informed by living truths transmitted by nature rather than imagined myths and fables, he shares with us how these meetings have repeatedly led him to the Sacred.

"Whether it is forgiveness from a salamander, stillness from a green snake, the acknowledgement of territories by a spider or mindfulness by ravens, over and over these stories lead us, too, to realize the primacy of kindness as the way for all of us to help each other to arrive at wellbeing. Ajahn Chah used to say, 'Everything is teaching us, if we let it.' This slender volume carries that exact same message. The lesson might be sweet, like the results of practicing patience in caring for a sick cat, or it might be bitter, like the witnessing of a weeping bull before an impassioned crowd—either way, how much better our world will be if we allow the animals of our own nature to learn from the life that is all around us."—Ajahn Amaro, Amaravati Buddhist Monastery

“A beautifully wise and whimsical book that brings us back into our hearts and connects us with the everything. Many authors talk about mindfulness, but we are left unaffected. Stephen has a magical way of bringing us into the experience itself. Even from the beyond, he calls us home to ourselves. As I read his poignant stories, I was reminded of what really mattered. I am grateful for this brilliant offering.”—Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping and Grounded Spirituality

“Stephen’s generosity of spirit and depth of compassion shine forth. Read these stories and you will see this world and your place in it in a new, fresh way. What a sweet gift!”—Dale Borglum, Living/Dying Project

"French poet and novelist Anatole France wrote: 'Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.' Spiritual teacher Eckart Tolle says, 'I have lived with several Zen masters—all of them cats.' French writer Milan Kundra says, 'Dogs are our link to Paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.' Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote: 'An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.' These words all ring true to me, as the animals in my own life have been wise teachers, loyal companions, and loving friends. I know what Stephen Levine means when he talks about his 'life becoming truer due to the interchange with plants and animals, mercy and awareness.' Mine, too. I'm happy and grateful that Stephen wrote this wonderful book. I love it!" —BJ Gallagher, coauthor of A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A Fable About Creativity and Courage

"Stephen Levine’s Animal Sutras resonates at the deepest level of heart and soul, invoking memories of our own joyful and painful experiences with the four-legged, winged, finned, and slithering. His vivid prose delights, as he reveals profound insights on the relationship between all sentient beings. This meaningful collection will move you from teary-eyed to grinning like a Cheshire cat as he lovingly describes his wonder-filled menagerie." —Sarah Bowen, author of Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective and Higher Purpose

"The late poet and spiritual teacher Levine (1937–2016) takes inspiration from the 4th Century BCE Buddhist Jataka Tales in these delightful stories of 'transcendent moments' spent with animals. While tending a wildlife sanctuary in southern Arizona until 2016, Levine began blending his Buddhist beliefs into his journaling about his animal friends. The sutras all aim to break up common impressions of animals. For instance, Levine writes that there is a collective fear of spiders but there are 'spiders of wonderment who crawl over our forearm, stop to pray, and disappear a bit more lovingly into the underbrush of the mind.' Also included are his experiences with a 'salamander of forgiveness,' a green snake who teaches him to meditate, and the 'mouse of faith' who by 'hopping from sunspot to sunspot across the weathered planks of the porch, seemed to wholly comprehend the potential for boundless fear or boundless joy.' In this cornucopia of brief tales laced together in wonderful prose, Levine (Healing into Life and Death) presents imaginings of animals’ inner lives that will leave a lasting impression with any reader, and will particularly appeal to Buddhists. (Sept.)" —Publishers Weekly

“This is a precious book whether or not you’re familiar with Stephen and his work. Animal Sutras will reach even more deeply into your heart if you are already familiar with his work. The book gives insights into his personality and life that don’t always show up in his other writings and works. Animal Sutras will find a place in the homes of animal lovers and spiritual seekers alike and his stories will be treasured and shared for years to come.” —New Spirit Journal

About Stephen Levine

Stephen Levine was a poet, a teacher of guided meditation healing techniques, and a bestselling author of many works. His popular books—including A Gradual Awakening, Who Dies, Healing into Life and Death, and A Year to Live—are considered classics in the field of conscious living and dying. He is also the coauthor, with his wife Ondrea, of the acclaimed Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening.

The Levines’ work stretches from the most painful experiences of the human spectrum to the furthest point on the human horizon, from hell to heaven, from pain to ease, from our ongoing sense of loss to the legacy of our unending interconnectedness. Many have experienced their experiential “Conscious Living / Conscious Dying” workshops as profound meditative investigations into being fully alive, cultivating qualities that heal mind and heart, sympathetically fathoming the nature of what it is that dies.

Book Details

Stephen Levine often spoke of “animal-people” as his greatest teachers. At age seventy, he began collecting animal spirit-stories and transcendent moments in nature from throughout his life—from the green snake who taught him to meditate as a boy to the generous hen whom predators would not harm, and many more. “Animals have a natural mindfulness,” he writes. “They know what they are doing. Humans, who are full of confusion and seldom wholly in touch with their mind/body, need encouragement and technique to live in the present.”

This new, posthumously published, collection of his writings from Monkfish provides much encouragement, and many tips on technique.

"I love this book. It feels like a secret treasure bequeathed by Stephen Levine to be opened after his death—an overflowing vessel of insight, humor and literary genius. For those of us who find the deepest dharma shining from the eyes of our animal companions, this collection is a cause for celebration. Animal Sutras may be the best book Stephen Levine ever wrote." —Mirabai Starr, Caravan of No Despair and Wild Mercy

“Stephen was a profound healer of the heart, writer and meditation teacher. In Animal Sutras, his other gifts shine, as a wise poet-naturalist and Dharma storyteller-philosopher, offered here in a lyrical, quirky, playful, and inviting collection.”—Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart

“A beautiful treasure house of a book: wise, tender, and surprising. Our precious friend has given us a great gift.”—Roshi Joan Halifax

"This is a great book, written with Stephen Levine's characteristic sumptuous brilliance. It is nothing less than a profoundly naked initiation into the tender and grateful relationship we all need to reclaim with the natural world. Read it again and again and allow Stephen Levine to take you by the hand into the true magic of our amazing world."—Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

“With an eye for beauty, a poetic genius, and a heart of wisdom, Stephen shares these precious teachings learned from spirit animals. The moonlit skunk, the mouse of faith, and the bear of compassion transmit boundless love and the transcendent truth of the nature of life. Stephen invites us into gratefulness, an awareness of unity and the wild freedom expressed though a life fully lived. Reading it will open you to a joyful life.”—Frank Ostaseski, author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully

"This small treasure of a book is about the better animals of our nature. Stephen Levine has called upon the Muse of Story to distill into words his many encounters with animals, and how the meeting of these shared consciounesses has illuminated and guided the instincts and attitudes of his heart. In the spirit of Ovid and Aesop, the J?takas and La Fontaine, but informed by living truths transmitted by nature rather than imagined myths and fables, he shares with us how these meetings have repeatedly led him to the Sacred.

"Whether it is forgiveness from a salamander, stillness from a green snake, the acknowledgement of territories by a spider or mindfulness by ravens, over and over these stories lead us, too, to realize the primacy of kindness as the way for all of us to help each other to arrive at wellbeing. Ajahn Chah used to say, 'Everything is teaching us, if we let it.' This slender volume carries that exact same message. The lesson might be sweet, like the results of practicing patience in caring for a sick cat, or it might be bitter, like the witnessing of a weeping bull before an impassioned crowd—either way, how much better our world will be if we allow the animals of our own nature to learn from the life that is all around us."—Ajahn Amaro, Amaravati Buddhist Monastery

“A beautifully wise and whimsical book that brings us back into our hearts and connects us with the everything. Many authors talk about mindfulness, but we are left unaffected. Stephen has a magical way of bringing us into the experience itself. Even from the beyond, he calls us home to ourselves. As I read his poignant stories, I was reminded of what really mattered. I am grateful for this brilliant offering.”—Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping and Grounded Spirituality

“Stephen’s generosity of spirit and depth of compassion shine forth. Read these stories and you will see this world and your place in it in a new, fresh way. What a sweet gift!”—Dale Borglum, Living/Dying Project

"French poet and novelist Anatole France wrote: 'Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.' Spiritual teacher Eckart Tolle says, 'I have lived with several Zen masters—all of them cats.' French writer Milan Kundra says, 'Dogs are our link to Paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.' Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote: 'An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.' These words all ring true to me, as the animals in my own life have been wise teachers, loyal companions, and loving friends. I know what Stephen Levine means when he talks about his 'life becoming truer due to the interchange with plants and animals, mercy and awareness.' Mine, too. I'm happy and grateful that Stephen wrote this wonderful book. I love it!" —BJ Gallagher, coauthor of A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A Fable About Creativity and Courage

"Stephen Levine’s Animal Sutras resonates at the deepest level of heart and soul, invoking memories of our own joyful and painful experiences with the four-legged, winged, finned, and slithering. His vivid prose delights, as he reveals profound insights on the relationship between all sentient beings. This meaningful collection will move you from teary-eyed to grinning like a Cheshire cat as he lovingly describes his wonder-filled menagerie." —Sarah Bowen, author of Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective and Higher Purpose

"The late poet and spiritual teacher Levine (1937–2016) takes inspiration from the 4th Century BCE Buddhist Jataka Tales in these delightful stories of 'transcendent moments' spent with animals. While tending a wildlife sanctuary in southern Arizona until 2016, Levine began blending his Buddhist beliefs into his journaling about his animal friends. The sutras all aim to break up common impressions of animals. For instance, Levine writes that there is a collective fear of spiders but there are 'spiders of wonderment who crawl over our forearm, stop to pray, and disappear a bit more lovingly into the underbrush of the mind.' Also included are his experiences with a 'salamander of forgiveness,' a green snake who teaches him to meditate, and the 'mouse of faith' who by 'hopping from sunspot to sunspot across the weathered planks of the porch, seemed to wholly comprehend the potential for boundless fear or boundless joy.' In this cornucopia of brief tales laced together in wonderful prose, Levine (Healing into Life and Death) presents imaginings of animals’ inner lives that will leave a lasting impression with any reader, and will particularly appeal to Buddhists. (Sept.)" —Publishers Weekly

“This is a precious book whether or not you’re familiar with Stephen and his work. Animal Sutras will reach even more deeply into your heart if you are already familiar with his work. The book gives insights into his personality and life that don’t always show up in his other writings and works. Animal Sutras will find a place in the homes of animal lovers and spiritual seekers alike and his stories will be treasured and shared for years to come.” —New Spirit Journal

About Stephen Levine

Larson Publications photo of author Stephen Levine

Stephen Levine was a poet, a teacher of guided meditation healing techniques, and a bestselling author of many works. His popular books—including A Gradual Awakening, Who Dies, Healing into Life and Death, and A Year to Live—are considered classics in the field of conscious living and dying. He is also the coauthor, with his wife Ondrea, of the acclaimed Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening.

The Levines’ work stretches from the most painful experiences of the human spectrum to the furthest point on the human horizon, from hell to heaven, from pain to ease, from our ongoing sense of loss to the legacy of our unending interconnectedness. Many have experienced their experiential “Conscious Living / Conscious Dying” workshops as profound meditative investigations into being fully alive, cultivating qualities that heal mind and heart, sympathetically fathoming the nature of what it is that dies.

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