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Lions Roar : July 2014
found herself under the pale late summer sun, staring at a tree, but with all meaning, inference, association, labels, and words erased. The word “tree” was gone, she says, “along with all the notions of tree-ness that had accumulated in the last dozen or so years since I had acquired language.” Yet, she continues, “even with all human attributions—the words, the names of species, the wisps of remembered tree-related poetry, the fables of pho- tosynthesis and capillary action... there was still something left.” now some fifty years later, Ehrenreich explores her “dissocia- tive” episodes through the lenses of science and psychology, phi- losophy and religion. And she does so with an exquisite use of language. RENGETSU Life and Poetry of Lotus Moon Translation and biography by John Stevens Echo Point Books & Media 2014; 182 pp., $14.99 (paper) Rengetsu is widely considered to be one of Japan’s most remark- able female poets. Sadly, her life was marked by tragedy. She was born in 1791, the love child of a courtesan and a samurai, and was given up for adoption. her first marriage was to a womanizer and drunk, while her second marriage—a happy one—ended with her husband’s untimely death. By the time she was forty- two, all of her children, plus her adoptive mother, father, and siblings, were all dead. Rengetsu ordained in the Pure Land Bud- dhist tradition, but in Japan there were virtually no nunneries so she was forced to fend for herself. While she was an accom- plished Go player and martial artist, being a woman without means, it wasn’t possible for her make a living using these skills. She settled on making and selling pottery, which she incised with original poems, and her work proved to be both compelling and distinctly her own. This new volume presents a moving sampling of Rengetsu’s poetry and art. “Listen closely,” she wrote. “At this mountain temple, / The sound of the wind in the pines / And the whistle of a kettle / Are the voice of Buddha.” ZEN AND THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES By Ruben L.F. habito Orbis Books 2013; 237 pp., $25 (paper) Íñigo Lopez de Loyola was the sort of man who swaggered around in tight hose and boots with a dagger at his waist. he got into duels and flirted with court ladies. Then, at age thirty, he was badly wounded during a battle and suddenly understood the pointlessness of his old pursuits and thereby dedicated himself to God. Íñigo Lopez de Loyola became St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is a systematic program of contemplative practice, that is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality, but these exer- cises can also be embraced by people from other spiritual paths. As a former Jesuit priest who is authorized as a Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition, Ruben L.F. habito is uniquely qualified to unpack the Spiritual Exercises from a Zen perspective. ♦ store.cac .org H P D: Teachings on the Eight Worldly Dharmas By Lama Zopa Rinpoche Edited by Gordon McDougall $10 “Buddhism is a house full of treasures— practices for gaining the happiness of future lives, the bliss of liberation and the supreme happiness of enlightenment— but knowing the difference between Dharma and non-Dharma is the key that opens the door to all those treasures.” —Lama Zopa Rinpoche Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive po box 636, lincoln, ma 01773