I get by with a little help from my kalyāṇa-mitta . . .

If you have ever wondered how the Tisarana free distribution books are produced, here is a description by Lisa explaining the process. It also illustrates how the life of Tisarana Monastery is made possible by an extended family of volunteers . . .

In October of 2013, Philip and I began our “special volunteering project” for Tisarana Buddhist Monastery. At that time, its abbot, Luang Por Viradhammo, was contemplating publishing his second collection of Dhamma reflections based on 10 of his recorded Dhamma talks that had already been transcribed by a friend in the U.S. into a tentative essay format. But the abbot was still in need of two editors to steward these written texts into a publishable form. So Philip and I happily agreed to embark on the great – if not formidable – adventure of creating a new book for the author of these talks.

The creation of this book, which is now entitled The Contemplative’s Craft: Internalizing the Teachings of the Buddha, took place over the course of about 20 months. Needless to say, there were numerous steps involved in the completion of this project. First, my co-editor and I had to determine which of these 10 talks were (to our way of thinking) most worthy of publication. After selecting the strongest ones, we set about editing and fact-checking them: each talk received four or five separate edits from each of us. Philip and I then scoured the “Dhamma Talks” section of the Tisarana website to find the final six talks by LP Viradhammo that would round out this collection of 14 Dhamma sharings. We proceeded to transcribe these newer talks into written form and then subject them to the same “layered” editing process and fact-checking as the earlier talks. A lot of our decision-making was guided by a 59-page editorial manual that was provided to us by Forest Sangha Publications, which will be sponsoring the publication of this book in 2017.

All of our editorial changes and suggestions were carefully reviewed by the Luang Por Viradhammo, who then offered valuable clarifications and additions to the Dhamma content within the talks. Since the creation of any book is by its very nature a collective undertaking, we enlisted the help of three experienced Dhamma teachers from Canada, Britain, and Thailand to assess the suitability of the book’s teachings. The Forest Sangha Publications guidelines also suggested that we have at least three people proofread the final manuscript, so our trio of hawk-eyed readers is already hard at work reviewing the text. My work with Philip is now drawing to a close, and we couldn’t be happier knowing that we contributed in some small way to bring the Dhamma into the world.


Post Script from Tisarana:

In addition to this very valuable work that was offered by many volunteers, this polished book will be sent by Forest Sangha Publications to the Kataññuta Group which will hopefully publish it in 2017. The Kataññuta Group is a collective of lay people in Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia who generously undertake and pay for the production and publication of our free distribution books. In the past various publications have been made possible through the generous donations of other lay people as well.