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Lions Roar : May 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2007 92 TO REGISTER 800.603.3117 • 303.245.4800 www.naropa.edu/spirtualcare 5TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE Integrating Spirit &Caregiving Integral and Transpersonal Approaches to Elder Care, Catastrophic Illness and End of Life Care May 18–20, 2007 • Boulder, Colorado Bringing together leading visionaries and teachers of contemplative approaches to spiritual care and bereavement counseling. Keynote speakers: Joan Halifax Roshi, PhD, and Frank Ostaseski case with David Guy’s Jake Fades. Jake is an aging American Zen teacher who is growing frailer and, worse, misplacing his marbles from time to time. As the novel opens, Jake and his long-time as- sistant/student, Hank, are taking one last meditation program on the road. It’s a scenario that allows Guy to touch on subjects like the teacher-student relationship, succession, and community sur- vival—issues that plainly concern the Western Buddhist world. But he also skillfully weaves in ordinary entanglements, changing relationships, and surprises that make the characters in Jake Fades three-dimensional and, more importantly, human. PAVEMENT: Reflections on Mercy, Activism and Doing “Nothing” for Peace By Lin Jensen Wisdom Publications, 2007; 130 pp.; $12.95 (paper) Two years ago, as an expression of protest against the U.S. inva- sion of Iraq, Lin Jensen started meditating daily on a sidewalk in Chico, California, a little card propped beside him that identified his activity as a “peace vigil.” In this short book, Jensen reflects on what he has learned, and especially what he has gained from the colorful characters who engaged with him. (With his gaze lowered, Jensen can only see their shoes. He refers to them as “Uprights”). Jensen is a skilled memoirist who articulates well the internal doubts and fears that readers will reluctantly admit are familiar—at least once we see them on paper. For Jensen, the vigil is both necessary and futile, and with that tension, his observations are sharper. This is not a touchy-feely, do-gooder book, but it will make you seriously consider what you are doing for peace. “After all,” asks Jensen, “if I can’t make my own peace, how can I ask it of others?” BUDDHA IN YOUR REARVIEW MIRROR By Woody Hochswender Stuart Taboori and Chang, 2007; 255 pp.; $16.95 (paper) When I’ve read before about Nichiren, a school of Buddhism that originated in Japan in the thirteenth century, I’ve found it difficult to “get.” But in Buddha in Your Rearview Mirror, Woody Hoch- swender, a former New York Times reporter, goes a long way toward making the practices of this sect—in particular, the daily chanting of the Lotus Sutra—accessible. “Chanting is like priming a pump,” says Hochswender, “with the goal of bringing the Buddha nature welling forth from the depths of life.” Hochswender is a Nichiren enthusiast, and though he never says so, it’s clear that he’s a mem- ber of Soka Gakkai International, the popular organization of lay Nichiren Buddhists that has some very famous adherents, among them Herbie Hancock and Orlando Bloom. If I found fault with Buddha in Your Rearview Mirror, it was that Hochswender, in large part, equates Buddhism with SGI, neglecting the larger context of all Buddhist schools. Nevertheless, this popular introduction to Nichiren is helpful and clarifies several important philosophical points, not the least of which is Nichiren’s nontheistic view: “In the end, it all depends on you,” says Hochswender. “There is no guilt in Buddhism. Instead, there is responsibility.” ♦