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A Whole Life's Work

A Whole Life's Work

Living Passionately, Growing Spiritually

"Work is not just a job. It is the sum of all our purposeful activities. Seen in this light, work is our whole life."
-- from A Whole Life's Work

What is work in the truest sense of the word? For Buddhist priest and acclaimed author Lewis Richmond, work is more than just having a job, or a means to a profitable end. It is the key to cultivating inner life and contributing to the developing consciousness of all humanity.
In this companion to his national bestseller, Work as a Spiritual Practice, Richmond applies his Buddhist understanding to address what is perhaps one of the primary struggles of contemporary Western life: how to achieve a healthy balance between professional ambition and personal happiness. Here he adapts Buddhist categories of spiritual virtue in defining eight important modes of work the Earner, the Hobbyist, the Creator, the Monk, the Helper, the Parent, the Learner, and the Elder along with their corresponding eight modes of inner work: Precepts, Vitality, Patience, Calm, Equanimity, Giving, Humility, and Wisdom. How to internalize these modes of work, and lead a more meaningful and spiritual life, is what this groundbreaking guidebook is all about.
Whether we are professionals, artists, hobbyists, parents, students, or spiritual leaders, A Whole Life¹s Work can teach us how to reconcile our outer livelihood with our inner lives...and reap the benefits of hard work well done.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743451314 | 
  • February 2005
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: What Is Work?

The word work has an impressive range of meanings. In ordinary speech, it means making a living, "going to work." In science, it means "the transfer of energy from one physical system to another." Work can sometimes mean something difficult: "This is work!" It can also mean to sew, knit, or weave, as in to "work" a knot. It can mean the opposite of play: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!"

It can also mean success: "This works!" Or the way out, as when we "work" our way out of a jam. We "work off extra pounds," get all "worked up," and so on. The variations multiply. The more we study... see more

About the Author

Lewis Richmond
Photo Credit:

Lewis Richmond

Lewis Richmond is an ordained disciple of Buddhist master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and a lineage holder in that tradition. He is the author of the acclaimed books Healing Lazarus and Work as a Spiritual Practice. In addition to leading the Vimala Sangha, a Buddhist group based in Mill Valley, California, he is a software entrepreneur and musician/composer. His website is www.lewisrichmond.com.

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