Light Years: A Spiritual Memoir

by Barbara Du Bois


Prescott, Arizona: Laughing Vajra Press, 2011

392 pages; ISBN 978-0615511184, Library of Congress (LCCN) 2011912397

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From Light Years:


Under a table in my room I keep a box filled with old books. From time to time I take one up to glance through or to ferret out a detail, but mostly they are at rest there. Many are simple, utilitarian; some, from China, have black covers with red spines, and pleasing, heavy, lined pages. One is covered in bright orange brocade, and two were gifts from the friend, long dead now, who made their papers of herbs and grasses. There are a few slim, elegant volumes, but most are sturdy, serviceable, and worn, like little scuffed grade-school leather shoes. And hovering in the box, in the books, is the slenderest intimation of fragrance: something between must and incense.

      These are the journals I wrote in from about age forty to sixty, my first twenty years on the formal spiritual path in this lifetime. They are the raw material of this book: the stuff of my experience and my probing of it.





From book review by Asandra Lamb:


"The reader is led into an intimate world wherein we are the observer of an individual soul coming into self-awareness. Poetry and prose intermingle. This book does not lecture to us, or presume to know more than we do. Author and Dharma teacher Du Bois openly reveals her vulnerability, fear, and uncertainty. It is a guidebook for the modern seeker of truth allowing us our humanness, imperfections, and ultimately, the celebration of our true nature."

Full review:




Laughing Vajra Press is the imprint I have been using since 1996 for my own small works and occasionally for small works by others. Most of the early publications are out of print and will remain so. Light Years is our first full-length book; more will follow. Thank you for your interest and support. (Laughing Vajra Press: Arizona Trade Name registration #516242). 


See more reader comments on




Her words are like flowers

opening on the page, 

helping me

to see my mind.

-- Retreatant



The book is like a poem.

I am drinking it all in as

quickly as I can, like

a person who is thirsty

and hasn't had anything 

to drink for a long time.

I am running, drenching

myself with it...

-- Sofie Velander,

practitioner, Sweden



Reading your book in bed

this morning, so rich and

gorgeous and over-

whelming, came to the

part where you affirmed

your choice to be here and

serve beings, and your

words were resonating

deep within me: You write,

"'Oh, I want to go back

and do more!'' -- and see

that this is a step toward

becoming a bodhisattva

in truth: seeing one's

power and responsibility

to bring light to all beings.

[And the power of the

choice to return, again

and again.]And beside

me was another book,

on Tarawith a bookmark

torn from an invoice,

showing these words:

"Reasons for your Return."

Message delivered loud

and clear, no?

~Kiel Hemenway,



Teller of hard truths, witty

insights and penetrating

perceptions, you have a

tenacity for rigorous truth

that eludes many—

perhaps due to the

solitary fatigueof doing it

over and over again

to find the ever finer threads

that hold ego intact.

I salute you!

You’ve kicked my ass,

challenged me, lured me

with sweet prose to care

this much about the value

of one lifetime.

~ Mary Dumas, community mediator


Your book is provocative and

profound, endearing and

enduring. Because you show

what serious spiritual work

is really like,your book has

the potential to deepen the

expectation of what “practice”

is. Nearly all of what is

published is teachings—

the exhortations, not the

process, and so the rawness

of what you share is one of

the book's best qualities.

      Descriptions, scenes,

rhythmical sentences and

fragments that capture the

raw experience—

these especially sing.

~ Cherilyn Parsons, writer


The rarity of a teacher

having written journals

chronicling more than twenty

years on the path!

Light Years is the dance

of relative and ultimate

truth—never separate,

simply showing different

faces. You allow us to

observe the process of

spiritual awakeningAs a

master who shares our

afflictions and troubles,

your ability to see the purity

amidst the apparent rubble

in your experience shows us

how to do the same in ours.

This is a guidebook for the

path, coming to us from our

own culture in our own time.

I found it to hold the same

potency as working directly

with a spiritual teacher, and

felt the jewels of your

realizations being planted

in my mindstream.

~ Moon Teitel, retreatant