Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Crooked Cucumber

Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki

by David Chadwick

Broadway Books, New York, New York      © 1999      468 pp.

"Whenever you go, you will find your teacher.

'DON’T OPEN that side!' Shunryu stopped. He thought for a second, then slid the shoji door a few inches back to the center. He knew it was correct to open the right side. The elders were exacting about these things. But the command from inside was unmistakable, so Shunryu slid the left shoji open, stood up with the tray, entered, and served tea and snacks to the old priest and his guest. The next evening he returned to the same place, kneeled, and placed his fingers in the indentation on the frame of the left shoji and slid it open a bit to announce his presence. “Don’t open that side!” came the voice from within. Shunryu was confused, but he obeyed and opened the right side. It went on like this for some days, with Shunryu not knowing which side to open. He thought about it over and over. Such a tiny thing to agonize about, but it was through just this sort of detail that the mentor priests at Eiheiji regularly put pressure on their underlings. Shunryu couldn’t just ask for an explanation; he had to figure it out for himself. Then one morning as he approached the door he stopped for a moment to listen to the conversation. One voice, the guest’s, was coming from the right. Then he realized. Of course! He should open the right shoji unless there was a guest sitting there. How simple and obvious. Confidently he slid open the left side. From then on he knew which shoji to open by looking at the placement of slippers outside, listening to the voices within, and watching for shadows. You may think our teaching is very strict. But our teaching is always near at hand—not easy, but not difficult to observe. At the same time, however, it is very strict and very delicate. Our mind should always be subtle enough to adjust our conduct to our surroundings." (p. 69)


"One day Ed came to Suzuki distraught and told him he was being besieged by people with strong ideas about how he should cook—no salt, more salt; no sugar, more sugar; no dairy, more cheese. Some people were accusing him of poisoning them if he didn’t accommodate their preferences. Suzuki told Ed he was the head cook and he should decide. Pressed for further advice, Suzuki told him, 'When you wash the rice, wash the rice; when you cut the carrots, cut the carrots; when you stir the soup, stir the soup.' ”  (p. 314)

-- quote submitted by Jennifer Knight


To visit the blog and see more reviews and quotes from books in the collection of Center for Sacred Sciences' Library, click here https://centerforsacredscienceslibrary.blogspot.com

Friday, February 17, 2017

Quote from The Artist and the Architect

The Artist and the Architect 

by Demi

Henry Holt and Company, New York, New York      © 1991     32 pp.




Once upon a time in China there 
was a wise and just Emperor 
who greatly appreciated the arts.

He built wonderful
halls and pavilions to house
the treasures of the land.

Two gifted men, one an artist,
the other an architect, served
him well.

But the artist grew jealous of
the architect and began
to pick quarrels with him.


-- submitted by Jennifer Knight


To visit the blog and see more reviews and quotes from books in the collection of Center for Sacred Sciences' Library, click here https://centerforsacredscienceslibrary.blogspot.com


Monday, February 13, 2017

Quote from Landscape as Spirit

Landscape as Spirit: Creating a Contemplative Garden

by Martin Hakubai Mosko and Alxe Noden

Shambhala Publications, Boston, Massachusetts     © 2015      159 pp.



A contemplative garden is a place to discover the magic of who we are and how we join with the world around us. By engaging and delighting the senses, it brings the mind to attention to a fuller awareness not only of the natural world, but also of the sacred that inhabits the space. It is landscape as spirit.

Landscape architecture has often abandoned this dimension of garden-making. . . The motivation for creating the garden is more than a search for something to please the eye. The question is how to use a meditative understanding to organize and transform a space.  (p. 1)


Thank you Kathy H. for this beautiful book!

-- submitted by Jennifer Knight

To visit the blog and see more reviews and quotes from books in the collection of Center for Sacred Sciences' Library, click here https://centerforsacredscienceslibrary.blogspot.com


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Quote from One Grain of Rice

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

by Demi

Scholastic Press, New York, New York     © 1997    40 pp.

Long ago in India, there lived a
raja who believed that he was wise
and fair, as a raja should be.

 The people in his province were
rice farmers. The raja decreed that
everyone must give nearly all of
their rice to him.

'I will store the rice safely,' the
raja promised the people, 'so that
in time of famine, everyone will
have rice to eat, and no one will
go hungry.'



-- submitted by Jennifer Knight


To visit the blog and see more reviews and quotes from books in the collection of Center for Sacred Sciences' Library, click here https://centerforsacredscienceslibrary.blogspot.com


Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter           

by Sue Monk Kidd

Harper Collins, San Francisco, California    © 2002   228 pp.


This amazing author of The Secret Life of Bees takes us in this memoir on her very personal journey of awakening. She tells us that after spending the first 30+ years of her life doing “everything she should have been doing,” she collided with the patriarchy “…within my culture, my church, my faith tradition, my marriage, and also within myself.”

Knowing her quest is one every woman on a spiritual path has to take, she declares, “In these pages I’ve tried to tell you about the deep and immense journey a woman makes as she searches for and finds a feminine spirituality that affirms her life. It’s about the quest for the female soul, the missing Divine Feminine, and the wholeness women have lost within patriarchy. It’s also about the fear, anger, pain, questions, healing, transformation, bliss, power, and freedom that come with such journeys.”

I found Kidd’s fierce and extensive search for her own authenticity and spiritual truth to be very bold and inspiring.

-- reviewed by Sharry Lachman

To visit the blog and see more reviews and quotes from books in the collection of Center for Sacred Sciences' Library, click here https://centerforsacredscienceslibrary.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Quote from Great Tide Rising

Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Climate Change

by Kathleen Dean Moore

Counterpoint Press, Berkeley, California     ©2016    340 pp.

"My neighbor is a practical man. 'Look,' he says to me, 'if you want to call people to action on climate change, talk to them about what moves people to action--self-interest, money, and fear. Don't tell them it's wrong to wreck the world. Tell them it's stupid or expensive or dangerous. Tell them that unless this nation moves faster on solar energy, the Chinese are going to eat our lunch. Tell them that climate change will make the cost of California lettuce go through the roof. Scare the shit out of them if you have to: Tell them that the most likely way that global warming will end is when nuclear winter seizes the world--a long, cold night for the human prospect when nations drop atomic bombs in battles over water and food. But don't talk to people about morality. People don't like to be preached at. Ethics never changed anything, and it's a waste of time when time is short.'

At that point, I really had my back up. I want to tell him what moral discourse is. I want to describe the power of moral affirmation to change history. It's true that morality has had a bad reputation lately. Blame it on TV preachers, if you want, shouting about sin. Blame it on the confusion of ethics with religion. Blame it on the effect of a press that would rather expose the titillating horror shows of private lives than engage in a discourse about what is right and what is good. Blame it on the viral pathology of this non sequitur: that because I have a right to believe whatever I want, whatever I believe is right. Poor ethics, struggling to be truly seen, when it has been so terribly disfigured.

First, let us distinguish between the morality of prohibition, and the morality of affirmation."  (pp. 17-18)

-- submitted by Jennifer Knight

To visit the blog and see more reviews and quotes from books in the collection of Center for Sacred Sciences' Library, click here https://centerforsacredscienceslibrary.blogspot.com