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Lions Roar : January 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN jANUAry 2011 84 couple make friends with their neighbors and dive into Tibetan culture—brewing yak butter tea and exploring meditation. But when the Chinese Communists in- vade, Gerald is taken prisoner and the pregnant Emma must fight governmental stonewalling to get her husband released. Jeanne Peterson, the author of Falling to Heaven, is a psychologist who worked for many years with survivors of torture and Communist reeducation. Deep Down ThingS The earth in celebration and Dismay By Lin Jensen Wisdom, 2010; 176 pp., $15.95 (paper) Lin Jensen is a Zen teacher, a frequent contributor to Shambhala Sun, and the author of Together Under One Roof and Bad Dog! In his latest release, Deep Down Things, he offers a series of personal es- says dealing by turns with deep ecology and our deepest nature. In concrete terms, this means he touches on everything from earthworms to cooking vegetables to breaking down the barriers between self and other. Jensen’s writing is heartfelt. When I finish reading one of his essays, I feel as warm and fuzzy as if I’ve just watched a simple feel-good movie. But make no mistake—the lessons Jensen is teaching are profound. eSSenTialS of TiBeTan TraDiTional meDicine By Thinley Gyatso and Chris Hakim North Atlantic Books, 2010; 395 pp., $24.95 (paper) The Four Tantras is considered the funda- mental treatise on Tibetan medicine, yet more than half of the chapters have never been translated into English. Fortunately, Essentials of Tibetan Traditional Medicine now offers a distillation of the text, in English, using non-academic language. The book starts by unpacking the basics of Tibetan medical theory and meth- ods of diagnosis, then addresses the hu- mors, their corresponding illnesses, and the possible treatments. Lastly, the book dives into therapeutics, such as diet and lifestyle, bloodletting, and materia medi- ca—mostly herbs but also ingredients of animal and mineral origin. Each ingredi- ent has its own page, which includes its Tibetan, common, and botanical names; clinical uses; known pharmacological properties; and a drawing. I appreciate that while many of the ingredients are— to my mind—exotic, others are things I have in my own kitchen: cumin and gar- lic, ginger and pomegranate. inDiviSiBle an anthology of contemporary South asian american poetry Edited by Neelanjana Banerjee, Summi Kaipa, and Pireeni Sundaralingam University of Arkansas Press, 2010; 257 pp., $24.95 (paper) DecompoSiTion an anthology of fungi inspired poems Edited by Renée Roehl and Kelly Chadwick Lost Horse Press, 2010; 128 pp., $18 (paper) Indivisible features the works of American poets with roots in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. “Both South Asian and South Asian American fiction are currently enjoying great popularity in the United States,” say the editors, “yet commercial success may come at a price: a closer look reveals that few of these best-sellers stray beyond the borders of magical realism and extended family nar- rative.” In contrast, poetry, a less com- mercial venture, allows “Desi” writers to explore an infinite and surprising range of styles and themes. One of my favorite poems in Indivisible is Minal Hajratwa- la’s “Angerfish,” which borrows from the Dhammapada. Decomposition offers a smorgasbord of mushroom poems by such luminaries as Mary Oliver, Robert Hass, and Gary Sny- der. Why mushrooms? According to the editors, “In a world obsessed with sterility, false appearances, and a religious avoid- ance of death, decomposers can be seen as villainous, though in truth, all life de- pends on them.” The foreward is by poet and Zen practitioner Jane Hirshfield. ♦