Reviews

Zen on the Trail

· Earth Initiative, Reviews

Book review by Hokyu JL Aronson

Many years ago, still in college, I hitchhiked north from Berkeley to the uppermost reaches of California, my last ride dropping me off at the foot of Mt. Shasta in the southern Cascade Range. I didn’t yet know of the Zen monastery there but I’d come on a quasi-spiritual quest all the same. A friend had recently committed suicide and, in his honor, I wanted to test the fragile membrane of my own existence, going deep into solitude amidst the quiet embrace of a mountain landscape.

Zen on the Trail: Hiking as Pilgrimage by Christopher Ives (Wisdom Publications, 2018)
Read more

Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Reviews

Book Review by Finn Jogen Schubert

This book is unlike any book I have ever read. Like a quilt, each piece contributes a unique perspective and style, coming together to provide warmth and comfort on the dharma path. Whether you are cisgender, trans, questioning, or something else entirely, you will find fresh perspectives on the dharma that will speak directly to your own experience, as well as perspectives that you may have never considered before.

Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices, Edited by Kevin Manders and Elizabeth Marston, North Atlantic Books (2019)
Read more

Painting Enlightenment—Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra

· Creative Expression, Reviews

The Buddhist Art of Iwasaki Tsuneo

By Paula Arai

Reviewed by Chikan Bacon

Read more

ZMM Podcast: Larry Shainberg discusses his new book “Four Men Shaking”

· Conversations, Reviews · , , ,

Author Lawrence Shainberg will be at the Zen Center of NYC on Saturday, October 5th for a reading from his new book, Four Men Shaking. We used this as an excuse to catch up with our old friend “Larry-san” and to talk about the new book and how it came into being.

Read more

Book Review: Not Hearing the Wood Thrush

· Creative Expression, Earth Initiative, Reviews · , ,

Oh my gosh! How did the high privilege ever come to me to review this book? I am lost in it and continually astonished. Margaret Gibson’s newest book of poems, Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, is ripe and full and endlessly transcendent. Not hearing the wood thrush is a fine art that we would all do well to learn

She makes her way and takes us with her through the dozen doors and windows of her poems into the woods, the river, and the star fields. 

Read more

Painting Peace

· Creative Expression, Reviews · , , , , ,

Media Review
Painting Peace

by Kaz Tanahashi
Shambhala Publications
Review by clyde fusei forth, MRO

paiting peace

It is perhaps a widely held assumption about the Zen arts that they occur in a bubble of tranquility and equanimity unsullied by the chaos of the world.

One might picture a solitary painter or poet, or a silent line of archers practicing kyudo (Zen archery), each focused singularly on the completion of a perfect act. That assumption might be correct to a point, but Painting Peace, Art in a Time of Global Crisis by Kazuaki Tanahashi opens up a different view.

Read more

Radical Dharma

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Reviews · , , , , , , , , , ,

Media Review
Radical Dharma

by Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, Lama Rod Owens and Jasmine Syedullah, Ph.D.
North Atlantic Books
Review by Theresa Braine, MRO

Radical DharmaBarbecuing, AirBnB-ing, Waiting, Living…While Black. Police interactions ranging from traumatic to deadly. Not to mention: redlining, gentrification and incarceration-for-profit. The outrages abound. Where does Buddhism land in all this? Enter Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, which starts the conversation with a road map for cutting through the collective conditioning of the white supremacist mind-set that we all, knowingly or unknowingly, live with.

Read more

The Light That Shines Through Infinity

· Reviews · , , ,

Media Review
The Light That Shines Through Infinity:
Zen and the Energy of Life

by Dainin Katagiri
Edited by Andrea Martin
Shambhala Publications
Review by Richard Superti, MRO

In this collection of transcribed talks, Dainin Katagiri, one of the founding teachers of North America Zen, manifests how the universe is suffused with a dynamic energy that fills and sustains our lives.  I use the word ‘manifest’ here because, in my experience, this book is an actual manifestation of its title, shining a new light on my experience of the world.

Read more

The Diary of a Bookseller

· Reviews · ,

Media Review

by Shaun Bythel
Profile Books LTD
Review by Sandy Joshin De Valle, MRO

Shaun Bythell’s “The Diary of a Bookseller” is a gem of a book. Bythell, the owner of Scotland’s largest second-hand bookstore, gives us this day-by-day account of his life as a bookseller. It’s a warm and funny book marked by Bythell’s dark, dead-pan humor. He begins by admitting that he fits the stereotype of the “impatient, intolerant, antisocial proprietor.” But this wasn’t always the case: he began when he bought his shop as eagerly and naively as any thirty-one-year-old embarking on their first business venture. The shop, though—with its haggling customers, arguing staff and the “constant barrage of dull questions”—turned him into a bit of a misanthrope.

Read more

The Wilds of Poetry

· Reviews · , , ,

Media Review
THE WILDS OF POETRY:
Adventures in Mind and Landscape

by David Hinton
Shambhala Publications
Review by Peter Pitzele

A single word runs like a fissure through the short essays that introduce us to the poets collected by David Hinton in The Wilds of Poetry: Adventures in Mind and Landscape: “contact”. These poets, Hinton demonstrates, share a set of common philosophical assumptions that derive from the Taoist-Ch’an tradition, his field of expertise. That tradition entered the slipstream of American culture after the Second World War and affected the diverse fields of dance, theater, music, ceramics, the visual arts, philosophy, and poetry. Hinton traces the threads of influence and affinities among his selected poets, all of whom were wrestling with the American language to demonstrate into what he refers to again and again as “contact.” That is, the direct experience of the world unmediated by thought and interpretation.

Read more