Aug 31, 2010
Lokabandhu, a peace activist, finds Lin Jensen’s new book to be a moving evocation of Buddhism’s ethos of lovingkindness.
Together Under One Roof is Lin Jensen’s third volume, and follows in the footsteps of Bad Dog! and Pavement (already reviewed here). It’s a more slender volume than the others, but still a delightful read and in places very moving.
Like the others, it’s a series of essays in which he takes an ordinary event and reflects upon it, drawing out of it some nugget for reflection, some correspondence with the teachings of Buddha or Zen, some motivation to deepen his practice. In …
Aug 07, 2010
Robert Aitken Roshi, one of the most influential and respected western teachers in the Zen tradition, has passed away. I have to confess that I’m not that familiar with his writings (so many books, so little time) but I’m glad that although the man is no longer with us, he leaves an extensive body of work. Here’s one example of his teaching that I came across.
Recently, an old-timer came to me and complained that he no longer felt enthusiasm for his practice. I questioned him and learned that he was limiting his zazen to his visits to the Zendo. I can understand how his enthusiasm might erode over
Sep 16, 2009
The siren song of the sea calls surfers away from school, jobs, family, and in Jaimal Yogis’s case, even a monastery. But for this surfer, bobbing on waves might be the best place to practice Zen.
If you’re wondering what in blue blazes has surfing got to do with Zen, don’t worry–Yogis clears it up in the book’s introduction. He cites a teaching in Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind as his “all-time favorite Zen-surfing quote:
…I like to think he [Suzuki] had surfers in mind when comparing thought waves to ocean waves. He said, ‘Even though waves arise, the essence of mind is pure… Waves are the practice of water. To speak of waves
Jun 08, 2009
Thich Nhat Hanh can be a brilliant communicator, finding fresh and direct ways of reaching the heart. Can be. Find out why Gloria Chadwick was less than thrilled by his latest book.
When Bodhipaksa asked me to review Thich Nhat Hanh’s new book, Answers from the Heart: Practical Responses to Life’s Burning Questions, I immediately said yes. I’ve read many of his books and found them to be loving and peaceful.
In the spirit of honesty, I must say that I was disappointed with this book. It seems vague; most of the responses to questions asked are answered with an all-encompassing response of basically to be mindful of the emotion …
Mar 12, 2009
Susan Blackmore’s Ten Zen Questions may at first glance seem silly or pointless — “Where is this?” for example — but when approached with a focused mind they can be used to push back our assumptions and let us have a glimpse at what’s really going on.
Susan Blackmore is justifiably something of a superstar in the small but important and expanding world that exists where science and Buddhism overlap.
She’s well-known on the TED circuit for her work on “memes” — ideas and cultural phenomena understood as viral-like entities that “infect” our minds and compete for dominance.
She is a psychologist by training, has 25 years of Zen practice under her belt, …
Feb 15, 2009
So far there’s only been one episode of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, so perhaps it’s a bit early to be talking about overarching themes, leitmotifs, or its deeper meaning, but this is a show I’ve been long anticipating and so my mind was primed right for the start to resonate with any thematic elements to do with identity and selfhood – for that (I confidently announce, based on one episode and a trailer) is what Dollhouse is about.
But first to step back a little. Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, is most famous as the creative force behind (in chronological order) the seven seasons of the hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the …
Dec 23, 2008
There are many paths to Awakening, including the path of Zen Coffee, Gloria Chadwick’s hip new take on Zen mindfulness.
Zen meditation is pure and simple; it’s accomplished by sitting quietly, clearing and stilling your conscious mind by not allowing your thoughts to wander or intrude while letting your mind empty itself. If a conscious thought enters your awareness, you acknowledge it as merely a thought and gently let it go, without attaching any feelings to it, giving it any importance, or thinking about it. You simply allow your mind to be quiet. The objective is to reach a state of nirvana [the attainment of enlightenment and the freeing of yourself …
Jun 17, 2008
Avant-garde musician John Cage; Catholic mystic Thomas Merton; Beat writers Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac; psychotherapists Carl Jung and Erich Fromm; Zen teachers Robert Aitken and Philip Kapleau, philosophers Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger: 20th century giants all, and all have one thing in common — they were deeply influenced by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, a gentle scholar-practitioner from Japan.
This litany of names is merely suggestive of the massive impact that D. T. Suzuki had on western culture — an influence that is documented in a new film, A Zen Life — because so far we haven’t mentioned the 100 or so books that have found their way (by now) into …
Mar 19, 2008
Saccanama has heard Vajrasattva’s bell calling him to realize his own innate purity, and is on a return journey to reconnect with his own stainless nature.
At the beginning of the Purgatorio, the second great canticle of Dante’s Divine Comedy,
Dante and Virgil emerge from the darkness of the Inferno to see “the tender tint of orient sapphire.” It is dawn, and Venus, “the lovely planet kindling love in man,” lights up the eastern sky. To the West lie the four stars of the four cardinal virtues. As they
proceed towards the mountain they are to climb on their pilgrimage, the two men stop:
Feb 22, 2008
Parami reviews a new book highlighting that ethical living does not consist of following rules, but rather involves taking awareness into the moment before action so that we can choose how to respond creatively.
Waking Up to What You Do: A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation With Intelligence and Compassion, by Diane Eshin Rizzetto
“A precept can be thought of as a beacon of light, much like a lighthouse beacon that warns sailors that they are entering dangerous waters and guides them on course. It can show us the way but also warns us to Pay Attention! Look! Listen! Sometimes we will change course, other times, if we must reach …