Shundo Aoyama entered a Japanese monastery when she was five years old. She was trained in meditation, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and calligraphy. At fifteen, she was ordained as a nun in the Soto Zen School. After a university education, she made her mark in the patriarchal world of Japanese Buddhism.

In this spiffy collection of 60 teachings, we can tap into the rich spiritual resources offered by this teacher. Patricia Dai-En Bennage, the translator of the book, presents this blessing:

"May you benefit from the wisdom and kindness offered in these pages, and share it with all whom you meet in your life."

Among the most impressive teachings are those on how we are all related, selfless religious practice, following the flow of the stream, how everyone is in the palm of the Buddha's hand, looking for a good teacher (see excerpt), the gift of a smiling face, and serving others as a bridge.

Read these teachings slowly, intensely, and then see how they perk up your daily life.