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Lions Roar : September 2017
REVIEWS OLDER AND WISER Classical Buddhist Teachings on Aging, Sickness, and Death By Mu Soeng, Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia, Andrew Olendzki Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, 2017; 255 pp., $15.95 (trade paper) Life is tough and then you die, the late comic George Carlin used to say. But the authors of this collec- tion of discourses—a Theravada scholar versed in traditional Bud- dhist teachings, a scholar from the Korean Zen Tradition, and a lay Buddhist minister rooted in the Thai Forest Tradition—would seem to disagree. They argue that through the teachings of the Bud- dha it is possible to not just live wisely but to die joyfully. Older and Wiser is a timely book: with America’s babyboomers entering old age, more people are becoming acquainted with what the Zen Buddhist tradition calls “this great matter of life and death.” It’s timeless too, since people have perenially sought to find happiness, inner tranquility, and wisdom in their later years. WRITING TO AWAKEN A Journey of Truth, Transformation & Self-Discovery By Mark Matousek New Harbinger Publications Inc., 2017; 214 pp., $16.95 (trade paper) We tell ourselves lies to live, says Mark Matousek, a memoirist, teacher, and spiritual seeker. We do so for a variety of reasons: out of necessity, fear, or convenience; to avoid incrimination and cruelty; because we are simply ashamed. As a result, says Matousek, the reality we construct is anything but. Expressive writing—the act of telling the unvar- nished truth about his own deepest wounds, desires, hopes, and dreams —was his path to understanding that the story he believed about himself wasn’t true. He says it also led to a deep and authentic knowledge of himself. Over the years Matousek has taught thousands of students how to use the same techniques to discover their true story and to transform and liberate their lives. In Writing to Awaken, he lays out the process in easy-to- follow sections. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2017 76