Category: death-and-dying

  • 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
  • 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
  • He Showed Up Levi G. 1953-2017 I won’t say that Levi was my best friend in the world—I have many wonderful friends—but he was the friend with whom I most resonated.  When I was in Asheville we met every week for a couple hours, having breakfast and drinking coffee.  As soon as we sat down we fell into the ... Read more
  • Living Deliberately Henry David Thoreau: A Life by Laura Dassow Walls.  University of Chicago Press.  615 pp.  $35.00. This is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read.  Right at the moment I can’t think of a better one.  And it comes at an ideal moment for me. The official occasion is the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth, in 1817.  ... Read more
  • Man’s Search for Meaning While Life Goes On All Around When spiritual pilgrims went to visit the great Indian saint Vimala Thakar and unexpectedly got to see her, they asked her the purpose of life.  “To live,” she said. A Zen Master couldn’t have said it better. When I was in high school I read—with what I remember as an utter lack ... Read more
  • Overwhelmed The Happiness that Takes Some Time to Ripen We had sat down for the reception at my niece’s wedding—tables of eight arranged all around the room—when I realized how my brother had seated us.  It was the three living siblings from my generation—Bill, Rusty, and me, with our wives—along with our sister’s oldest child Tade and ... Read more
  • What’s Your Name, a film by Makato Shinkai, based on his novel.  With Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita. I’ve been reading Kobun Chino’s commentary on the Song of Awakening, and the day before I saw this film read the following passage: “When the body of all the buddhas penetrates my nature there is interpenetration and fusion.  My nature ... Read more
  • Absolute Belief in Zazen Embracing Mind: The Zen Talks of Kobun Chino Otogawa. Edited by Judy Cosgrove and Shinbo Joseph Hall.  Jikoji Zen Center. Kobun Chino Otogawa came to the United States for the first time to train the novice monks at the Tassajara Mountain Monastery, which had just been founded.  After a couple of years he returned to Japan ... Read more
  • Beckett in the Bardo The Unnamable from Three Novels by Samuel Beckett. Grove Press. 407 pp. $15.95. The mystery of Samuel Beckett continues, at least for me.  Some months back, when I had finally tackled his Three Novels—which had been sitting on my shelves for years—I finished the first two, but admitted publicly, in this space, that I gave up ... Read more
  • You Gotta Start Somewhere 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 streams ... Read more