Nov 2014 Bhante Gunaratana has written a new book Meditation on Perception, based on the Girimananda Sutta. His other books, including Mindfulness in Plain English and Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness are among the books I recommend most when people ask for meditation or Buddhist book recs. Bhante G has been ordained since he was 12 and has lived in the US since the late 60s (I knew him when I was a child and he was head monk of the Washington DC Buddhist Vihara). He also runs a meditation monastery Bhavana Society in WV that holds retreats as well as training monastics. Bhante G has been supportive of female monastics, and though in his 80s, embraces new technology and modern life. Thanks for all your teaching and service!
Jan 2014 Inspiration for learning in the new year: over the holidays I saw a relative who has been deaf all his life who just got a cochlear implant, which means he can hear sounds for the first time in 50 years. Amazing. However, this means a lot of work in learning to distinguish and identify which sounds signify what (running water, crossing signal, bird sounds, etc). I am wishing him well in his project, and hope this inspires you in developing your own continued perception of the way things are through your meditation practice and life, as it does for me. Happy New Year!