In frightening times, we wish the world could be otherwise. With a touch of imagination, it can be. Imagination helps us see what’s hidden, and it shape-shifts reality’s roiling twisting waves. In this inspiring reframe of a classic Buddhist teaching, Zen teacher Norman Fischer writes that the paramitas, or “six perfections” - generosity, ethical conduct, patience, joyful effort, meditation, and understanding - can help us reconfigure the world we live in.
The question-and-answer format makes this introduction to Zen especially easy to understand - and also to use as a reference, as you can easily look up just the question you had in mind. The esteemed Zen teacher Norman Fischer and his old friend and teaching colleague Susan Moon (both of them in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind) give this collaborative effort a playful tone: Susan asks a question on our behalf, Norman answers it, and then Sue challenges him.
Lojong is the Tibetan Buddhist practice that involves working with short phrases (called "slogans") as a way of generating bodhichitta, the heart and mind of enlightened compassion. Though the practice is more than a millennium old, it has become popular in the West in only the last 20 years or so - and it has become very popular indeed because it's a practice that one can fit very well into an ordinary life, and because it works.
In This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared, author Alan Lew has marked out a journey of seven distinct stages, one that draws on these rituals to awaken our soul and wholly transform us. Weaving together Torah readings, Buddhist parables, Jewish fables, and stories from his own life, Lew lays bare the meanings of this ancient Jewish passage. He reveals the path from terror to acceptance, confusion to clarity, doubt to belief, and from complacency to awe.