Submitted on Wednesday, 1/18/2023, at 4:03 PM

Tricycle: The Buddhist Review – “Perhaps one of the most pernicious misconceptions about Buddhism is that it requires practitioners to reject and eliminate emotions,” writes Sarah Fleming. Heim, Amherst’s George Lyman Crosby 1896 & Stanley Warfield Crosby Professor in Religion, is challenging this stereotype. “In Words for the Heart: A Treasury of Emotions from Classical India, she presents 177 terms for emotions drawn from three classical Indian languages: Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit.”

“Each term in Heim’s emotional storehouse is conveyed using illustrative passages and anecdotes from a great variety of genres and traditions,” Fleming continues in her review of the book, published by Princeton University Press. “Heim takes what she calls an ecological approach. Just as a tree exists within a vast ecology of other species, emotions are deeply embedded in—and produced by—their specific contexts and environments.”

The terms explored in the book range from the Sanskrit manyu (“simmering wrath”), to the Pali appaccaya (a “petulant, surly sulk”), to the Sanskrit hasa (“smiles and laughter of mirth”). Writes Fleming, “Words for the Heart offers the reader 177 entry points to wonder. By mining its depths, we may be able to draw closer to the everyday marvel of sharpening our awareness of our own emotional landscape and, in the process, expand our capacity to feel.”