Category: religion

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Waking Up The Thing We Do Every Day.  Not the Other Kind Though I think of zazen as the foundation of my life, and often think and read about it, I sometimes don’t want to do it when I wake up first thing in the morning.  I feel slightly afraid.  In that waking moment it’s as if I’ve ... 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
  • Why Can’t We Live in Paradise? Reflections on the Words of a Homeless Man At the homeless shelter where I volunteer, I was interviewing a man who was being admitted, and was following the prompts of a questionnaire. “Do you have any disabilities?” I said. “No.  No disabilities.” “Let me read the list,” I said.  The last one was Drug Abuse. “Yes,” he said.  “Drug abuse.  ... Read more
  • The Dharma of F.M. Alexander The Alexander Technique: A Skill for Life by Pedro de Alcantara.  The Crowood Press.  128 pp. I have never thought of the teachings of Buddhism and Taoism as the esoteric observations of a few ancient teachers.  I think of them as the truth about life.  The first canto of the Tao Te Ching, for instance, comes ... Read more