THE TRUTH OF THIS LIFE

Zen Teach­ings on Lov­ing the World as It Is

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Kather­ine Thanas, Shamb­hala Pub­li­ca­tions (JAN­UARY) Soft­cover $16.95 (160pp), 978-1-61180-468-3

Zen loves a good story, espe­cially one with­out a be­gin­ning or an end. Zen also likes sto­ries that end be­fore they be­gin. Zen likes com­mit­ment, wants you to work very dili­gently, with ab­so­lute fo­cus, but not to try too hard. Zen wants you to be your­self so that you can be free of your­self. Zen wants hap­pi­ness for you. A gifted teacher from the Bay Area’s early Zen scene in the 1970s, Kather­ine Thanas founded the Mon­terey Bay Zen Cen­ter af­ter study­ing un­der Suzuki Roshi at the San Fran­cisco Zen Cen­ter. Uniquely, she was work­ing to­wards her MFA in paint­ing be­fore de­cid­ing to de­vote her life to Zen. This small book col­lects sev­eral of her dharma talks from the monastery, lov­ingly edited and re­fined by two of her stu­dents, Natalie Gold­berg and Bill Anelli. In her pref­ace, Gold­berg writes that it was clear to her that these teach­ings had to meet the pub­lic. Why? “Be­cause they ex­pressed some­thing es­sen­tial. I call it Old Zen, given straight from the hip—not well-be­ing but the ground of be­ing—be­fore Bud­dhism had been decades in this coun­try and ad­justed to suit Amer­i­can so­ci­ety.”

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