Category: buddhism

  • Why Volunteer   I had finished my Thursday volunteering stint at Urban Ministries and was tidying up when Brittany came back.  “David, would you mind taking one more person?  She says she’s sick.” I said I’d be happy to.  I wasn’t in a hurry. “She’s a new client,” she said. The woman who came back didn’t look like a lot of ... Read more
  • True Love Single White Monk: Tales of Death, Failure, and Bad Sex by Shozan Jack Haubner.  Shambhala.  208 pp. $14.95. I was not a big fan of Shozan Jack Haubner’s first book, Zen Confidential.  I thought it was overwritten, and that he often seemed to be trying too hard.  I did appreciate his honesty, and the way he ... Read more
  • Can’t Face It Anymore When the Life Force Can’t Fight the Death Wish I was talking to a friend I meet every week for lunch and we were catching up before we ordered.  “I had to go to a funeral this weekend,” Tom said.  “I told you my neighbor died, didn’t I?” “I don’t think so,” I said.  “How did he ... Read more
  • The Father and I Are One A Buddhist Reads the Bible (and Finds the Buddha): The Gospel of John  One of the more interesting reactions to my piece on Jesus the Jew was from my brother Bill, a scholar of languages and the Bible who reads in both Greek and Hebrew.  He said that the Synoptic Gospels were about the Galilean Jesus, ... Read more
  • Hasid from Galilee Jesus the Jew: A Historian’s Reading of the Gospels by Geza Vermes.  Fortress Press.  286 pp. ***1/2 “Your God was a jew.  Christ was a jew like me.”  –Leopold Bloom to a group of hecklers, in Ulysses. This book is another suggestion from my friend Laurie, the mysterious woman from New Zealand who wrote a number of ... Read more
  • Can an Authentic Teacher Be Rich? The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  New World Library.  235 pp. It seems strange to write about a book that not only came out many years ago, but that became an international bestseller and made its author a spiritual superstar.  But a few weeks ago, when I felt on shaky ground because of some things ... Read more
  • Servants of Life In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman.  Picador.  497 pp.  $17.00 ****1/2 This is the last book—the last of many—that my friend Levi recommended to me.  He always recommended books as if to say: Go buy this and start reading it tonight (though I never did that).  He went on and on ... Read more
  • Should Buddhism Be Secular? Or Could We, on the Other Hand, See Every Moment of Life as Religious? American Nirvana by Adam Gopnik.  The New Yorker Magazine, August 7 & 14, 2017. I don’t know at what moment I realized that the goofy little practice that I stumbled into at my wife’s insistence in 1991, surrounded by a bunch of misfits ... Read more
  • Notes on a Remark by Elmore Leonard How He Gave Up Booze and Learned to Relax “By then I was in AA and perhaps not taking myself so seriously.  I do think my writing began to improve at this time, mainly because I wasn’t taking the writing so seriously, either.  I learned to relax and not think of it as writing.” One of the ... Read more
  • Only God Is Good A Buddhist Reads the Bible (And Can’t Stop Thinking About It) Ever since I read the story in the Gospel of Mark about the man that Jesus loved—the wealthy man who asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life—I have puzzled over Jesus’ statement, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone.”  ... Read more