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Lions Roar : January 2015
BY ANDREA MILLER Books in Brief ZEN CANCER WISDOM Tips for Making Each Day Better By Suzanne Friedman Wisdom Publications 2014; 320 pp., $16.95 (paper) Long ago in ancient China, Layman Wang asked, “What would you do if a dragon suddenly arrived here?” “I wouldn’t pay attention to anything else,” his attendant replied. Cancer, according to Zen teacher Suzanne Friedman, is like a dragon—when you’ve been diagnosed with it, you become wholly focused on and consumed by your health. But it’s important to remember, she continues, that you’re more than a diagnosis, more than a patient. When, at age forty-two, Friedman was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, she decided that she wouldn’t lose her joie de vivre. She began exploring what helped and hindered her physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and Zen Cancer Wisdom is a com- pilation of the practices that she developed. They range from writing poems to walking meditation, from eating a square of chocolate to breathing in your pain in order to soften it. THE POETRY DEAL By Diane di Prima City Lights Foundation Books 2014; 120 pp., $11.95 (paper) Diane di Prima, a longtime Buddhist, is widely recognized as the most signifi- cant female Beat poet. Born in Brooklyn in 1934, she began writing when she was seven years old. Then at age fourteen she dedicated herself wholly to poetry when she had a realization: instead of feeling hero-worship for poets such as Shelley and Keats, she could view them as peers. She could do what they did, or at least she could try. “Poetry can bring rain & make the crops grow,” claims di Prima. “It smooths the path for the traveler and brings sleep to the feverish child. ... Poetry holds paradox without striving to solve anything. Sometimes it speaks the unspeakable.” The Poetry Deal is di Prima’s first full-length book of new poems in decades. It includes poignant pieces about loss and aging, as well as impassioned political verse and odes to such diverse figures as the Tibetan teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the Caribbean-American writer and activist Audre Lorde. A NEW, PORTABLE COLLECTION about HOW LIFE WORKS from KARuNA PuBLICATIONS Part instruction and part short story, these books illustrate how one can use the transformative power of Master Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life to create a happier and more peaceful life for oneself and for others. Each book’s story fows in harmony with the inspiring and instructional verses from specifc chapters contained in Master Shantideva’s foundational Buddhist work. How Generosity Works is from the chapters on Giving, while How the Root of Kindness Wo r k s is drawn from the chapters on Conscientiousness and Guarding Alertness, and fnally How Patience Works sources verses from the chapter on Patience. Each story is accessible, easy to relate to, and provides clear guidance on how to work with everyday challenges and issues by using the power of mindfulness and meditation. Karuna Publications www.karunapublications.org/howlifeworks Available everywhere books are sold 9780976546986 $16.00 9781937114046 $16.00 9781937114039 $16.00 shambhala sun january 2015 75