Category: death-and-dying

  • Choosing Life The Light That Shines Through Infinity: Zen and the Energy of Life by Dainin Katagiri.  Shambhala.  229 pp.  $16.95. Jesus’ Son  Stories by Denis Johnson.  Picador.  133 pp. $15.00 It was unnerving for me to read Denis Johnson’s excellent but disturbing book of stories at the same time I was reading the new book of lectures by ... Read more
  • Who You Really Are (You Knew All Along) Coco a film by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina.  With Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach.  ***** I went to this movie as an act of desperation.  Every day I read in the New York Times about the marvelous movies that are arriving for the holiday season and the great reviews they’ve gotten, ... Read more
  • My Elmore Leonard Problem Out of Sight from Four Later Novels by Elmore Leonard.  Library of America.  961 pp. $40.00. I’m coming to the end of my Elmore Leonard period.  I never thought, when I decided to look into his Detroit novels because my son now lives in Detroit and I’ve gotten to know the place a little, that I ... Read more
  • Nights of Terror Seven Days of One Long Moment The question—which I’ve asked on this website before—is: what is the nameless dread that I feel before sesshin begins, the fear that periodically grips me in the pit of my stomach?  What am I afraid of? I seemed to have less of it this year.  I had uneasy moments, but didn’t ... 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
  • The Whiteness of the Whale Moby Dick by Herman Melville.  Library of America.  638 pp. I’ve recently expressed my admiration for the Library of America and its beautiful editions, but I was disappointed by the Melville Chronology in this volume, which seemed positively paltry.  Elmore Leonard gets 27 pages and Herman Melville gets five?  My brother tells me there’s a famous ... Read more
  • They Couldn’t Just Run Off in Her Prius? Victoria and Abdul a film by Stephen Frears.  With Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eddie Izzard.  *** I found this movie captivating.  The story of an unlikely friendship between an aging Queen Victoria (Judy Dench) and an Indian servant named Abdul (Ali Fayal), it shows the lonely old woman—who has let herself go to the ... 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