The How Life Works Series
Six Contemporary Stories of Buddhist Wisdom
“When the student is ready, the master appears.”
“When the student is ready, the master appears” is the theme of the How Life Works series. A collection of six stories, this series demonstrates how The Six Perfections: Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom, taught by the Buddhist monk Master Shantideva,* are every bit as relevant for us today as when Shantideva presented them in the 8th century.
Set within the rhythm of changing seasons in a small New England town, it is the heart of a snowy winter when we first meet Troy. During a tumultuous period of his young life, Troy has the good fortune to meet just the right teachers at just the right time. The first such teacher is Grace in How Generosity Works, and thus begins his journey. As one season eases into the next, each book introduces us to a new teacher who passes their sage wisdom to Troy. We experience the same lessons he is learning, become familiar with the same meditation practices, navigate the same challenges, and ultimately open our minds to the same potential that comes with a more accurate view of how life works. To highlight the teachings illustrated, verses from Master Shantideva’s teaching are interspersed throughout each book.
The Six Perfections provide the necessary guidance on how a Bodhisattva** must perfect his or her mind on the path to enlightenment. For those of us managing the complexities of today’s world, the Six Perfections provide the perfect guidance to develop a peaceful mind, thereby increasing our potential for joy and meaning in daily life.
The series doesn’t preach, and it is not necessary to be a Buddhist to benefit from the messages contained in it.
* Master Shantideva was a Buddhist monk who lived in India during the eighth century. His teaching, A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhichayavatara) also known as The Six Perfections has inspired and guided sages, philosophers, spiritual masters, students and laypeople for over thirteen centuries.
** A Bodhisattva comes into being as he or she develops the pure altruistic wish to achieve the state of a Buddha for the benefit all sentient beings. It is with this profound motivation that he or she engages in a way of life that assists in the realization of this goal.