Monday, March 19, 2007

What's In A Name?

I'm a sucker for a subtitle. Over the past couple of months I've come across two books with truly wonderful subtitles and, even more exciting, they lived up to and exceeded my expectations!

I heard about the first one from my friend James Ishmael Ford (he of the great blog MonkeyMind and the double threat of being both a Soto Zen Priest and a Unitarian Universalist minister.) The book is by Soko Morinaga Roshi and is called Novice to Master. What really got me, though, is the subtitle: "an ongoing lesson in the extent of my own stupidity." How can you go wrong studying with a Zen master who has plumbed the depth of his own stupidity? And Morinaga Roshi does not disappoint. Reading his book I felt an excitement that I haven't since my first days reading Buddhist literature--I found new insights, and even familiar teachings came alive for me. I highly recommend this book. (If that's enough for you, here's the link to the book at

And then, I can't remember where, I came across a book by Anthony De Mello called Awareness: the perils and opportunities of reality. I'd already loved this Indian Jesuit from his earlier Sadhana: a way to God (Christian Exercises in Eastern Form). But reviews of Awareness claimed it to be a life-changing book and I'm always open to a new perspective on dealing with the problem of . . . well . . . me. And while I'm still reading it, so far Awareness seems as though it will live up to such hype. (Here's its page on Amazon.)

So, if you're willing to face the "perils and opportunities of reality," and consider "the extent of [your own] stupidity," these wise teachers may prove for you, as they have for me, true guides.

In Gassho,


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