Book Excerpts

What is Love? Love is a Verb – bell hooks

To love well, we need to understand what we mean when we talk about love, and what love means to us all individually on the deepest, subconscious level, in the part of ourselves that began to be constructed in our earliest lives. This is the premise feminist scholar and cultural critic bell hooks establishes at… Continue reading What is Love? Love is a Verb – bell hooks

Book Excerpts, Korean Texts

What is Death? You Are Already Dead

Seung Sahn was the first Korean Zen master to come to live and teach in the West. His style borrowed from a number of different Buddhist traditions, particularly Rinzai. The book, 'Dropping Ashes on the Buddha' is a collection of his teachings that happened both in person as well as through correspondence - a way… Continue reading What is Death? You Are Already Dead

Book Excerpts

Aldous Huxley: Our Goal Is to Discover That We Have Always Been Where We Ought to Be

'At no period in history has cleverness been so highly valued,' wrote Aldous Huxley in 'The Perennial Philosophy' on the subject of the common human yearning to experience the divine. His book, 'TheDoors of Perception' was a manifesto for the exploration of consciousness through psychedelic drugs, but its fundamental idea - that in order for… Continue reading Aldous Huxley: Our Goal Is to Discover That We Have Always Been Where We Ought to Be

Book Excerpts

Antoine de Saint Exupéry and Night Flying

Antoine de Saint Exupéry's love of flying and the perspective it gave him on the world was something he wrote about extensively. He famously liked to read and write in the cockpit while flying and despite the number of times his plane came down, he persisted with the activity, flying both in war and peace… Continue reading Antoine de Saint Exupéry and Night Flying

Book Excerpts

Elegance and Spiritual Repose in the Darkness of a Japanese Latrine

Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's 1933 essay In Praise of Shadows is a tribute to a tenebrous, subtle Japanese aesthetic that the novelist upheld in opposition to the bright and shiny principles of design that he saw as the hallmark of the west. His dissertation is launched in the humble toilet, hailing the bathrooms of the temples and… Continue reading Elegance and Spiritual Repose in the Darkness of a Japanese Latrine

Book Excerpts, Tibetan Texts

Spiritual Care Is The Essential Right of Every Human Being

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is one of the most widely read books about Buddhism, having sold more than three million copies since its publication in 1992. Since then, the reputation of the book's author Sogyal Rinpoche, has fallen into ill repute through various allegations of sexual and physical abuse. However, the wisdom… Continue reading Spiritual Care Is The Essential Right of Every Human Being

Book Excerpts

Suffering, Crying, Happy Buddha

The kind of happiness Buddhism proposes to us is not of the sunny, skipping-through-a-field-of-daisies variety, but rather a readiness and a sense of composure in facing whatever feeling might come up, be it pleasant or unpleasant. In this chapter from his book, Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness - which is based on a series… Continue reading Suffering, Crying, Happy Buddha

Book Excerpts

There Is No ‘I’ In Self

As it says at the beginning of this text, the teaching of no-self is a tough one to come to terms with. It's one of the most anti-intuitive notions Zen students eventually come across, and it takes some investigation and experimentation to begin to pick apart. Zen priest and prolific Zen author Brad Warner walks… Continue reading There Is No ‘I’ In Self

Book Excerpts, Zen Stories

Searching for a Master – Zen Master Raven and the Brown Bear

Zen teacher and author Robert Aitken released 'Zen Master Raven' a couple of years ago as a collection of Zen stories and koans told through the heart-warming interactions of a group of animals that include Mallard and Mole, Jackrabbit Roshi, Brown Bear Roshi and Zen Master Raven himself, a curious and earnest seeker of the… Continue reading Searching for a Master – Zen Master Raven and the Brown Bear

Book Excerpts

“Don’t Tell Me Who I Am Yet. It Is Still Being Spelled Out”

'For all its obligations and demands, its idealism and elaborations, monastic life is a way of entering into the cosmic dance,' Trappist monk Paul Quenon writes in his memoir, In Praise of the Useless Life. The monk's life being counterintuitively 'useless' in this way - something his mentor Thomas Merton taught him - is Quenon's… Continue reading “Don’t Tell Me Who I Am Yet. It Is Still Being Spelled Out”