k a r u n a   b o o k s

books and essays
online and in print
Dennis Rivers, Editor

a library of e-books
and essays on the life of
    compassion and creativity 

Click to read World Wheel book

Book released in free PDF format

Vijali Hamilton is a visionary artist, sculptor, poet, musician, author, and teacher. Over one thousand of her artworks are in museums, public places, and private collections. She gives seminars and retreats on meditation and the creative process, internationally and at her retreat center home in the Canyonlands of Utah. Early in her life, Vijali spent ten years as a monastic member of the Vedanta Society convent in Santa Barbara. Later she received her Masters in Fine Arts from Goddard College. She is a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.

In 1986, she founded her first World Wheel Project, a seven-year spiritual and artistic pilgrimage during which she circled the globe creating monumental stone sculptures and community-based performances in twelve countries. In 1999, she began the Second World Wheel Project. This project again circles the planet, now creating Wisdom Centers in twelve countries to preserve as well as develop knowledge for the healing and survival of our planet. These Centers create a crucible for the cross-cultural emergence of wisdom needed for our future. The Second World Wheel Project is dedicated to the children of our world.

Gene Knudsen Hoffman, a Quaker peace activist and writer, has traveled the world nurturing the possibilities of peace and reconciliation wherever she has found people in conflict.  She is one of the principal proponents of compassionate listening as a method of conflict transformation, as outlined in her Sourcebook on Compassionate Listening.     more...

Michael Miley is a writer never content to stay on the beaten path. He has written extensively about UFO and paranormal experiences.  His essays are classic reports of his mystical and altered-state experiences, in the radical tradition of William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience.  What is radical in this approach is the idea that we can learn about ultimate reality from our own and each other's deepest experiences, an avenue of grace not controlled by any scripture or hierarchy.   more

David Richo  Trained as a Catholic priest and then as a Jungian psychotherapist, Dr. Richo has become a mentor to thousands of people around the world whose spiritual lives no longer fit within the boundaries of traditional religious institutions.  His many books include How to Be an Adult in Relationships, Catholic Means Universal, and Shadow Dance.  His free, 84-page, e-book, Human Becoming, includes excerpts from several of his other books.       more...

Dennis Rivers is a communication skills trainer, ecology activist, writer and online publisher who lives in Northern California.  He has, at various times in his adult life, been a graduate student in religious studies, sociology, counseling, theology and communication studies.  His books include The Seven Challenges Workbook, The Geometry of Dialogue, Prayer Evolving, and Turning Toward Life, all of which are available free of charge as e-books on his page here at Karuna Books.   more...

Sarada -- Reflections on the spiritual quest, General Semantics & Buddhism

B O O K:   [One woman's spiritual quest in the 20th century]
A Long Letter to a Friend: From one who left to one who remains in the convent

Sarada (Ruth Ingeborg Folling Tate, 1922 -2009) tells the story of her life and her spiritual adventures and misadventures the form of a long letter.  Her yearning to see into the heart of things led her into the Vedanta Society at age 17 and onward to a lifetime of encounters with teachers, writers and psychotherapists such as Swami Prabhavananda, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, Alan Watts, Fritz Perls, Chogyam Trungpa and others.  This journey included seventeen years in a Vedanta Society convent, a monastic pilgrimage to India, and several years in the entourage of one of the more bizarre spiritual teachers of recent times, the charismatic sociopath, George Daniel Patrick "Shon" Dubie, (who was killed in 2006 by one of his estranged followers).  
    Toward the end of her long life, she was drawn to the gentle teachings of the Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, and renewed her interest in the consciousness insights of General Semantics (an analysis of how language works to confuse us, and what lies beyond language).

Free in PDF format.   Printed copies: $12.00 (from Lulu, our online printer).


E S S A Y:   [Perspectives on peace in the Middle-East]
Thinking Beyond the Bush “Road Map”: Would a “Holy Land Protectorate” Work?

Thomas F. Heck, Emeritus Professor, Ohio State University, was raised in an academic and diplomatic family. After his formal education (B.A., University of Notre Dame; Ph.D., Yale University), he confronted the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector and won an honorable discharge in 1971, at the height of the Vietnam war. He then pursued a career in academia, both as a musicologist and as an academic librarian. He has twice visited the Holy Land, and has long been active in the peace movement. He can be reached at
[at]aya.yale.edu  (replace [at] with @ to activate address).


Spirited Horse II -- Print by Carla Trujillo


Night Studies
Personal explorations of the experience of night

By Maía



L I B E R A T I O N   T H E O L O G Y   R E S O U R C E S

Liberation Theology online library of essays, articles and book links

Free books about Liberation Theology (in PDF format):

 The Spiral of Violence (free PDF copy - 6MB) is a classic statement (1971)
of many of the concerns of liberation theology by
Dom Helder Camara,
Archbishop of Olinda and Recife in the underdeveloped northeast of
Brazil. Dom Helder Camara is often rememberd for having said,  

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint.
When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist."

This PDF copy was produced by Alastair McIntosh.

Getting the Poor Down From the Cross: A Christology of Liberation
Complied by Jose-Maria Vigil on behalf of the International Theological Commission.  More than 40 Co-Authors: Leonardo BOFF (foreword), Tissa BALASURIYA, Marcelo BARROS, Teófilo CABESTRERO, Oscar CAMPANA, Víctor CODINA, José COMBLIN, CONFER de Nicaragua, Lee CORMIE, Eduardo DE LA SERNA, José ESTERMANN, Benedito FERRARO, Eduardo FRADES, Luis Arturo GARCÍA DÁVALOS, Ivone GEBARA, Eduardo HOORNAERT, Diego IRARRÁZAVAL, Jung Mo SUNG, Paul KNITTER, João Batista LIBÂNIO, María y José Ignacio LÓPEZ VIGIL, Carlos MESTERS, Alberto PARRA, Richard RENSHAW, Jean RICHARD, Pablo RICHARD, Luis RIVERA PAGÁN, José SÁNCHEZ SÁNCHEZ, Stefan SILBER, Ezequiel SILVA, Alfonso Mª Ligório SOARES, José SOLS LUCIA, Paulo SUESS, Luiz Carlos SUSIN, Faustino TEIXEIRA, Pedro TRIGO, José María VIGIL,
and Jon SOBRINO (epilogue).  Available in English, Spanish and Italian.

The Violence of Love by Archbishop Oscar Romero  
From the publisher:    From the stirring foreword by Henri Nouwen to the last page of Romero's text, this powerful little volume of eloquent, simple meditations never wastes a word. Yet the real depth of Romero's message lies not in his words themselves, poetic as they are. It lies in the life they give witness to: the hard life of a man who was martyred for his faith. Thus The Violence of Love gives more insight, perhaps, than any biographical account of his life.  [Many thanks to Plough Publishing House for making this book available in free English and Spanish PDF editions.]

Free PDF file        paperback from Amazon


Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution by André Trocmé
From the publisher:    André Trocmé (1901-1971) is famous for his role in saving thousands of Jews from the Nazis, as pastor of the French village of Le Chambon. But his bold deeds did not spring from a void. They were rooted in his understanding of Jesus’ way of nonviolence and the social implications of Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God on earth.  In this book, you’ll encounter a Jesus you may have never met before -- a Jesus who not only calls for spiritual transformation, but for practical changes that answer the most perplexing political, economic, and social problems of our time. [Many thanks to Plough Publishing House for making this book available in a free PDF edition.]

Free PDF file        paperback from Amazon   



gallery of visionary art



1926 painting of Buddha

Guest Artist:   Ofelia Pagani

Guest Artist:   Meganne Forbes

Meganne Forbes watercolor painting -  whales - mother and child


k a r u n a   b o o k s

a library of e-books and essays on the life of compassion and creativity

Karuna Books is an imprint, library and activity of

Human Development Books
1563 Solano Ave. #164  --   Berkeley, CA 94707  --  USA