reviews

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    The Sounds of Silence Paid Member

    Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists Kay Larson The Penguin Press, 2012 478 pp.; $29.95 cloth More »
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    In the Middle of Nowhere Paid Member

    You’re so deep in the Colorado wilderness that for days the only human face you’ve seen is your own, in the reflection of a mountain stream or a tin canteen. You turn a bend, and where are you? In the rubble of an ancient Buddhist shrine? More »
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    Books in Brief Fall 2012 Paid Member

    Almost two decades ago, the Theravada teacher Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (or Bhante G, as he is affectionately known) wrote Mindfulness in Plain English, a Buddhist classic known for its clear, direct, and practical explanations of mindfulness techniques. Following the publication of two subsequent mindfulness books over the years, he’s back again with The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Wisdom Publications, August 2012, $15.95, paper, 192 pp.). “As always,” he says in the preface, “my concern in this book is the actual practice, right here in our lives. And when I write, I strive to write everything in plain English.” Bhante G makes good on his promise. More »
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    Multi-Media Reviews Paid Member

    Altars in the Street: A Neighborhood Fights to Survive Melody Ermachild Chavis Bell Tower: New York, 1997 257 pp., $23.00 (cloth) Sarah Fremerman "Why do you live there?" white acquaintances often ask Melody Ermachild Chavis, a private investigator who has moved with her family to an old Victorian house on Alma Street, in an interracial neighborhood in South Berkeley, California, a street that has become the site of several drug-related murders. "Why don't you leave?" ask her friends. But in their questions Chavis hears a more fundamental one: "Why do I live here? Why am I alive?" For Chavis, the sixteen years chronicled in Altars in the Street have been a test. More »
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    Reviews Paid Member

    The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen Japan Society: New York City Nov. 19—Jan. 10 1999 Traveling the U.S. through March 11, 2000 Audrey Yoshiko Seo and Stephen Addiss Shambhala Publications: Boston, 1998 232 pp.; $65 (cloth) Kay Larson To Zen Buddhists, the most spectacular object in the National Gallery's exhibition of the art of Japan in the Edo period might well be the broad bladelike tower rising improbably high from the crown of a black war helmet. Made in the eighteenth century for a daimyo to don on his obligatory excursions to and from the shogun's castle, this bold lacquered-wood signboard is inscribed with characters for the five cosmic elements: earth, water, fire, wind, and—at the top—mu, or emptiness. More »
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    Books in Brief Paid Member

    BLOSSOMS OF THE DHARMA: Living as a Buddhist Nun Thubten Chadron, Editor North Atlantic Books, 2000; $16.95 A compilation of talks given by nuns at a three-week conferenee—“Life as a Western Buddhist Nun” –in Bodhgaya, India, in 1996. As Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron explains in the preface: "These talks were given in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, generally in the evening at the end of a long, happy day of listening to Vinaya teachings, meditating, and discussing the Dharma." The book is divided into sections on History, Life as a Nun, and Teachings; contributors are nuns from all over the world. Included is the legendary talk (given in the presence of H. H. the Dalai Lama in 1993 in Dharamsala) that inspircd this conference, "The Situation of Western Monastics," by Bhikshuni Tenzin Palmo, which is a moving defense of monasticism. THE BARN AT THE END OF THE WORLD More »