Zen Books

2015 March 21

Six years. That’s like 80 in bloggers years!

Thank you for joining in, reading and sharing 108ZB. Special thanks go to all of you who have contacted me, shared your personal stories and with whom I have had the joy of walking this path.

I don’t blog as often now. It’s not a matter of having things to blog about but having the time to think through the convolutions in my brain and get them on-screen in some articulate way. Since this blog started, I’ve had the joy of practicing in some amazing sanghas, taken jukai with Roshi Joan Halifax, finished studies in Buddhist Chaplaincy at Upaya Zen Center and taught Buddhist ethics and mindfulness at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. The book Frank and I co-authored, Mindfulness Starts Here, is doing amazingly well (Thank you!) and the article we published in Mindfulness, Traditional and Contemporary Mindfulness: Finding the middle path in a tangle of concerns, received some powerfully-articulated commentaries which you can access here. In that list, I particularly point you to Ajahn Amaro’s lucid deepening of the issues we raised and Jared Lindhal’s exploration of the “rightness” of Right Mindfulness for contemporary uses. There are others coming out shortly too – part of an anthology of Canadian Women Buddhist writers edited by our very own Full Contact blogger Tanya McGinnity and published by Sumeru Press and a chapter in Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness (Springer) edited by Shonin, Van Gordon & Singh.

As for those Zen books, they continue to delight me. The latest being The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, which feeds my ongoing inquiries into living a connected yet even-balanced life in this dewdrop world. As for practice, well it’s complicated. I continue to practice in the Zen tradition of Upaya ZC and host a small and feisty sangha but mostly I’m setting down the weighty baggage of being labelled anything specific under this umbrella of the mahasangha. So you may start seeing more than just Zen Books though Zen will always be the source of my practice and writings.

this dewdrop world

2009 December 09

After a few months of playing with various formats, I’m getting a sense of what is evolving.  At the structural level, I’ve fallen into a rhythm of a Monday post that touches some facet of practice.  The rest of the week unfolds in an exploration of that practice.  At the emotional level, the posts hopefully are meditative.  It helps me in my own practice to read or hear words that nourish and excite my love for the Dharma.  Sometimes, I’ve written about personal joys and struggles.  Sometimes, I’ve written little and let the teacher’s words stand unsullied by my limited understanding.  The challenge is in feeling free to let whatever surfaces manifest itself even if it’s outside the structure.  I’m mindful not to be so structured that this becomes an artificial exploration.  A long time ago I was inspired by an article by psychologist Paul Meehl that called for the social sciences to take more courageous theoretical risks and not hide behind statistical tests of significance.  I can see how easy it would be to hold close to the teachers’ (now dead) words and avoid the truly risky explorations of what Rumi calls “this being human“.  I would hate to miss the call to engage in my own experience of what it means to be living here, now.

Regardless of my own aspirations, I hope the posts are nourishing for your practice.  May there be a word, a sense, a picture that opens up the path a little bit so we can walk it with ease.

2009 September 17

Books.  The house is filled with books.  Not all are books on Zen.  Not even most are books about Zen.  Of the ones that are about Zen, not all have been read.  Yet all the books about Zen in the house have been teachers at one time or another. And they all teach only one thing: tasting what has been cooked.

Zen books are like recipe books but even better.  There’s no measuring, weighing, chopping, or timing.  There is just cooking and tasting.

I would like to share the tastiness from some of these cookbooks.  Hopefully we can savor the flavors of different chefs and enjoy cooking together.

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