Banyen Books & Sound
Banyen Books & Sound is the largest New Age metaphysical
bookstore in Western Canada and the center of the metaphysical
and alternative spirituality community in the Vancouver
area. It was founded as Banyen Books in 1970 by Kolin Lymworth,
who as a young man in 1969 had visited and been inspired
by Shambhala Books, still a mainstay of the spiritual
community in Berkeley, California. He had also visited India
and read the landmark book Be Here Now (1971) written by
Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), one of the foundational volumes of
what would become known as the New Age Movement. The
name of the store came from the banyan tree under which the
Hindu deity Krishna is said to have spoken the Bhagavad Gita,
and from the Banyan Ashram that had been established by
Gary Snyder and Nanao Sakaki as an eco-spiritual community
in Japan. Lymworth chose the alternate spelling of ‘‘banyen’’
after taking the advice of a numerologist friend.
As the New Age Movement emerged in the 1970s, Lymworth
became aligned with its vision for the need for a transformation
of the people and societies of Earth. The original bookstore
was enlarged in 1987 with an audio wing, Banyen Sound,
that specializes in audio cassettes and CDs of meditative, healing,
and transformative music and nonmusic tapes of lectures
and books on New Age subjects. As the twenty-first century begins
it has been transformed. It had emerged in the 1990s as
a full-service store carrying a broad range of books and audio
visuals that encourage the values of ‘‘non-violence, truthfulness,
love for all, meditation and spiritual awakening, earthcare
and earth wisdom, and healing, holistic and visionary perspectives
in arts, sciences, humanities, literature, medicine, philosophy,
ecology, and dishwashing.’’ Its stock includes books ranging
from the most popular to the scholarly on the broad range
of issues, topics, and perspectives alive in the post-New Age
world. It also carries a number of related items used by people
on their quest for psychic development or spiritual enlightenment,
including meditation cushions, musical instruments,
altar items (such as incense and candles), stationary, games,
card sets, and medicine objects.
In the mid-1990s the Banyen also began publishing the
semiannual Branches of Light. It appears each spring and autumn
and is built around reviews of selected books and CDs featured
in the store along with interviews of featured authors and
artists and listings of upcoming events sponsored by the store.
As the store has grown and expanded, it has developed an associated
program of concerts, lectures, and workshops. Most recently
it has developed an extensive Internet site at http
Banyen Books & Sound is located at 2671 W. Broadway,
Vancouver, BC Canada V6K 2G2.
Banyen Books & Sound. February
28, 2000.
Branches of Light. Vancouver, British Columbia, n.d.

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