This is a wonderful soul-stretching collection of epigrams and pithy thoughts by Renaissance artist, sculptor, writer, and visionary Frederick Franck. It expresses bits and pieces of what he calls his transreligious perspective that lies outside the realms of both interfaith and ecumenical. It was previously published by St. Martin's Press as A Little Compendium on That Which Matters.

With his usual wit, Franck begins with directions on how to use a "non-discursive" volume and warnings on what to do if it causes drowsiness or other undesirable side-effects. He covers many fascinating issues including egotism, poverty, redemption, the wisdom of the East, inter-religious dialogue, and much more. Be sure to check out Franck's hospitality to all religions and his castigation of the widespread nihilism which has seeped into politics, business, science, the arts, entertainment, and all dimensions of our culture.

Here is a sampler:

• "When the Dow replaces the Tao, all of Life becomes desecrated."

• "Authentic spirituality is intimately related to firsthand, direct experiencing."

• "Poverty may be quite compatible with a religious attitude to existence; destitution, hunger, utter humiliation, negate it. Avoidable suffering is one of the great crimes perpetrated on the majority of the human race, and the frightful karma that weighs on our and future generations."

• "The derelict asleep on the pavement under a jute sack is disquieting, because he is me, after the always possible catastrophe! We were both lovely babies last week, aggressive teenagers yesterday, the corpses of tomorrow morning."

• "Nihilism is at the opposite pole of 'Reverence for Life.' It has reverence for nothing except its own anti-values of power, public relations, lies, short-term profit."