The Grass Flute Zen Master: Sodo Yokoyama by Arthur Braverman. Counterpoint. 148 pp. $16.95. How much time should we give to spiritual practice? It’s a question I often ask myself. Twenty minutes twice a day, as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi suggested? A forty minute sitting, ten minutes of walking, and a thirty minute sitting, as we … Continue reading How Long, Baby How Long, Has That Evenin’ Train Been Gone?
I Am Not Your Negro a film by Raoul Peck. With James Baldwin, Samuel L. Jackson, Dick Cavett. ****1/2 In a way I wish the title of this film had gone further. The speech in the movie that it most closely reflects it is one by James Baldwin on a television interview: “What white people … Continue reading James Baldwin Has a Question
Atlantis: Three Tales by Samuel R. Delany. Wesleyan/New England. 212 pp. Every now and then I reread something by Samuel R. Delany because all of his work is intelligent, beautifully written, and unfailingly deep. The fact that I’ve read it before doesn’t in the least diminish it. I love spending time in the presence of … Continue reading Distinctly Praise the Years
Paterson A film by Jim Jarmusch. With Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley, Nellie. Every now and then people call something a Zen movie, and the candidate this year is Paterson, a film whose script Jim Jarmusch apparently wrote twenty years ago and in which almost nothing happens. A man (Adam Driver) awakens every … Continue reading This Movie Is About You (Put Away Your Phone)
Beginners a film by Mike Mills. With Ewen McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Mary Page Keller, Cosmo. I have the perfect solution for those who loved 20th Century Women and don’t know what to watch next (after they’ve read the profile of director Mike Mills in the New Yorker): watch Mills’ previous film Beginners, which … Continue reading You Gotta Start Somewhere
Dogen Zen. Translations by Shohaku Okamura. Kyoto Soto Zen Center. 1988. $198 pp. Hara: The Vital Center of Man by Karlfried Graf Durckheim. Inner Traditions. 202 pp. $14.95. I have been known to complain—mostly to myself—that many of the works of a man I consider one of the great religious minds of the twentieth century … Continue reading Doing Nothing for No Good Reason
A Buddhist Reads the Bible: Gospel of Mark from the New Revised Standard Version. Oxford University Press. (This is my eighth and final piece on the Gospel of Mark; the other pieces are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) There are any number of things toward the end of the Gospel that I … Continue reading Dat Fig Tree Had It Comin’
Twentieth Century Women a film by Mike Mills. With Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Lucas Jade Zumann. ****1/2 When I first heard the title of this movie, I thought, what the hell is a twentieth century woman? How is she different from a twenty-first century woman? But now that I’ve seen it, I think … Continue reading Maybe Not This Village