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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 93 BY ANDREA MCQUILLIN BOOKS IN BRIEF THE MAJESTY OF YOUR LOVING A Couple’s Journey through Alzheimer’s By Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle Green Mountain Books, 2008; 314 pp., $16.95 (paper) For six years, Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle was caretaker for her hus- band, Hob, as his symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease progressed. But the two, both practitioners of mindfulness meditation, were determined to grow with the illness and to bring awareness and compassion to bear on their difficult circumstances. The Majesty of Your Loving describes a sometimes frustrating and often pain- ful journey that culminates with Hob’s death. It is also a touching yet unsentimental testament to a couple’s commitment to one another, and to finding the most graceful, loving, and amusing ways to “let go.” By offering insights and suggestions based on her experience, Hoblitzelle, a psychologist, gives guidance and therefore hope to those who will have to tread a similar road. THE ESSENCE OF ZEN: The Teachings of Sekkei Harada Translated and edited by Daigaku Rummé Wisdom Publications, 2008; 176 pp., $15.95 (paper) Zen discourse has an uncanny ability to jolt you out of self- centeredness, leaving you feeling vaguely unhinged—and deeply relieved at the same time. Harada Roshi’s The Essence of Zen, a collection of introductory talks to Westerners, has this kind of effect. As far as Zen masters go, the abbot of Hosshingji, a small Soto Zen monastery and temple in Obama on Japan’s western coast, is by all accounts the genuine article. And as Zen masters are apt to do, Harada Roshi goes straight to the heart of the mat- ter with his plain explication of the principles of Zen, exhorta- tion to practice (rather than just think about) Zen, and critique of “Zen sickness” (the sickness of thinking you’re not sick). It’s a tough love approach to Buddhism that might be our best protec- tion against mutual self-destruction: “Only by awakening to the law of causality,” Harada Roshi says, “is it possible to stop the sufferings and deluding passions of human beings.” TIBETAN BUDDHISM & MODERN PHYSICS Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge By Vic Mansfield Templeton Foundation Press, 2008; 192 pp., $19.95 (paper) What is it that attracts scientists to explore Buddhism? Vic Mans- field, a physicist with a longtime interest in Buddhism, was excited by the parallels he saw between key concepts in Tibetan Buddhism and quantum mechanics. The popular college professor also cared passionately about sharing those correlations with others. Tibetan Buddhism & Modern Physics doesn’t assume knowledge of either system, but takes the reader step by step from basic concepts to more complicated ones, such as the relationship of emptiness/intercon- nectedness to quantum nonlocality. Mansfield died this spring, not long after an emotional ceremony at Colgate University where he gave the Dalai Lama a newly minted copy of this, his last book. AUTHENTICATING TIBET: Answers to China’s 100 Questions Edited by Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille University of California Press, 2008; 402 pp., $24.95 (paper) Authenticating Tibet illustrates the power of scholarship to re- spond to misinformation. It’s a targeted reply to 100 Questions about Tibet, a booklet distributed by Chinese embassies world- wide that defends Chinese policy and activity in Tibet. The 1989 booklet was widely dismissed as propaganda, but scholars Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille decided to use it as a means to challenge official Chinese assertions about Tibet. They assigned fifteen Western subject experts to write clear, concise, and historically accurate answers to the hundred questions. In Authenticating Tibet, you can read each question posed in the original document and the answer given by its Chinese authors, followed by a scholar’s response, complete with references. In this way, the facts—insofar as they are discernable by experts outside the country—are allowed to speak for themselves, and China’s public relations campaign to manage “the Tibet prob- lem” is exposed to scrutiny. SEPT 80-99.indd 93 SEPT 80-99.indd 93 7/3/08 1:34:57 PM 7/3/08 1:34:57 PM