Banyen Books & Sound

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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 Lym-worth, 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, Lym-worth 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

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.