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July 19, 2012

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For those who might want to read what James Ford Roshi has to say about “What is Zen? A Brief Outline” can be found here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2012/07/what-is-zen-a-brief-outline.html .

MStrinado: Sad to say, this kind of stuff is the bane of novice Buddhists. They don't realize that there is a goldmine in the Pali canon alone when you add in the commentaries (atthakatha). It's a completely different picture of Buddhism than is being presented by the pop Buddhists.

Here's another one coming up from the Batchelor school of zen...LOL!!!

"If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life
James Ishmael Ford. Wisdom, $16.95 trade paper (196p)"

ISBN 978-1-61429-039-1
Musing on topics related to awakening, koans, and ethical principles, Ford (Zen Master Who?), a Zen Buddhist priest and Universalist Unitarian minister, uses personal anecdotes, traditional Buddhist stories, and biblical references to illustrate his ideas. The discussion of what he calls “liberal Buddhism,” as opposed to traditional Buddhism, is informative; the former applies reason and humanism to this ancient tradition rather than accepts teachings as a given. For example, he critically examines the concepts of karma and rebirth and argues for a “deep agnosticism.” Ford finds his own justifications for ethics in “natural law,” and explicates his version of a moral code in detail. His advice can be down-to-earth and practical, such as his hints for finding a good Zen teacher. Unfortunately, the writing is marked by frequent clichés (“The awakened person is one with the flow of cause and effect”) and uninspired generalities (“There is something of a tragic cast to our lives”). In a crowded field of works by Buddhist meditation masters and writers of the Zen essay, Ford’s work is of moderate interest for his perspective on one of the emerging styles of American Buddhism. (Sept.)

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