Book Review: Zen Mind, Beginners Mind

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind: 40th Anniversary Edition
Written by Shunryu Suzuki
Published by Shambhala Publications

“You may think that if there is no purpose or no goal in our practice, we will not know what to do. But there is a way. The way to practice without having any goal is to limit your activity, or to be concentrated on what you are doing in this moment.”

I think this quote epitomizes the message of the this book. Shunryu’s approach to explaining Zen not only to groups of Americans in the 60’s, but even today, was simple and like a pond that is motionless, clear as clear can be.

He came to the US to mind Soko-ji, a temple located in San Francisco. He was a bit put off by the fact the Zen that had been taught was diluted. He was excited though to see and hear all that was going on and believed that teaching Americans could help revolutionize Zen teachings. He went on to found the San Fransisco Zen Center, and left Soko-ji disappointed with the way Zen was being taught by mainly Japanese immigrants. He believed that the students he was gaining, mainly Caucasian hippies, were more serious about the core practices.

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Book Review: Sex, Sin and Zen

Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between
by Brad Warner
Published by New World Library

Sex, Sin and Zen answers the question that everyone has been asking Brad for a long time, how can sex and Buddhism come to some sort of reconciliation? As a guest writer for Suicide Girls many questioned his choice to join their writing team. And I think we should have, because if anyone had the answer, it was Brad.

We know of all the vows we take, and accept in our lives, but as Brad explains, never do any of them say do not have sex. Brad breaks this misconception down, simplifies in the easiest of ways. It’s not the act of sex, but how we act about sex. Like any other attachment, it is our grasping at sex that can cause us, and others, damage. Continue reading →

The Wheel of Life’s high-kicking monks

From Times Online UK

Invite a gang of lean, mean shaven-headed, orange-robed kung-fu masters to do an ad hoc afternoon performance next to the Thames and a crowd quickly forms. “I could do that,” yells a passer-by as a Shaolin monk takes a gravity-defying flying leap off a wall. I suspect the deluded audience member has been partaking of too much lunchtime sherry.

The Shaolin monks strutting their high-kicking stuff are part of the team rehearsing for their next UK tour of Wheel of Life, the acclaimed show that does not just rattle through a series of awe-inspiring moves, it also tells the story of the monks. It is no surprise that they have honed themselves to the pinnacle of fighting perfection. In their 1,500-year history in eastern China they have regularly had to fight warlords, most recently in the 1920s. “They were like the Robin Hoods,” says the co-producer Steve Nolan, “helping emperors against invaders.”

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