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Lions Roar : September 2015
By Andrea Miller THIS PRESENT MOMENT By Gary Snyder Counterpoint, 88 pp., $22 (cloth) This is Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder’s first collection of new poems in ten years. In “Hai-en Temple South Korea Home of the Total Tripitaka Set of Print- ing Blocks,” he wakes us up with sound—the reverberations of a great drum, a bell, and sutra chant- ing. Then in “Mu Chi’s Persim- mons,” he references the teachings of Dogen while treating us to a vis- ceral feast of “sweet orange goop.” Those are two of the poems in which Snyder addresses Buddhism head-on. In others, he sim- ply conveys the spirit of Buddhism, and sometimes that’s even more satisfying. One of my favorite poems in the collection is “How to Know Birds.” It pithily summarizes the avian particu- lars to consider: time, place, quirks and calls, the fine points of plumage—lines, dots, and bars. These observations “will tell you the details you need to come up with a name/but,” says Snyder, getting to the heart of the matter, “you already know this bird.” SHE APPEARS! Encounters with Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion By Sandy Boucher Goddess Ink, 198 pp., $28.95 (paper) The male bodhisattva of com- passion, Avalokiteshvara, was introduced to China from India in the early centuries of the Common Era. By the eighth century, the Chinese had begun creating female forms of Avalokiteshvara, and by the ninth century Avalok- iteshvara had transformed into the female bodhisattva Kwan Yin, “she who hears the cries of the world.” Today Kwan Yin is a beloved figure worldwide—and not just among Buddhists. Since Sandy Boucher published her book Discovering Kwan Yin fifteen years ago, readers have been send- ing her their heartfelt poetry, art, and personal narratives about Kwan Yin. In She Appears! Boucher presents the most compel- ling examples of these works, as well as her own reflections on Kwan Yin and other related material. Boucher is also the author of Dancing in the Dharma: The Life and Teachings of Ruth Deni- son and Opening the Lotus: A Woman’s Guide to Buddhism. REVIEWS SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2015 70