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Lions Roar : January 2017
SHARE YOUR WISDOM What Is Your Favorite Novel with Buddhist Themes? What is the most helpful advice you’ve received about meditation? Send your answer, photo, and location to email@example.com Karma has become a popular term for a sort of cosmic justice system based on rewarding “good” deeds and punishing “bad” ones. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell offers a more authentic and refreshing take on the ancient concept by demonstrating that our actions are neither good nor bad, but merely steps toward the cultivation of joy, sorrow, anger, etc. —Steve Hob Dawson, Victoria, British Columbia Abel’s Island by William Steig. It’s basically about doing a one-year retreat. The kids and I love it! —Sumi Loundon Kim, Durham, North Carolina One novel that has buddhanature is Far Tortuga. It was written by the late Peter Matthiessen, a Zen priest, and is as Zen as Zen can be, with its poetic spacing and ponderous short spurts of dialogue in dialect. —Harold McKnight, Gainesville, Florida I love These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The main character lives fully in each moment, with mindfulness and integrity. —Sophie Young, Huntsville, Alabama The themes of Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr. are Dharma 101. In vivid and harrowing detail, the book lays clear the truth of samsaric suffering, the chain of cause and effect, dependent arising, change, and loss. Despite the bleak content, the author wrote with vast compassion. I find it impossible to read Selby’s novel without my heart breaking open and wishing that all beings be liberated from samsara. —Franny McFarlane, Oxenhope, United Kingdom Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Persig illuminates the concepts and ideals of Zen Buddhism while taking the reader on a journey not unlike the one many of us travel on our way to “the way.” Persig helps us deeply understand the simple term “gumption,” which is integral to practice. —Mike Howells, Honolulu, Hawaii I love the series Skull Mantra, Water Touching Stone, Bone Mountain, and Beautiful Ghosts by Eliot Pattison. These mysteries beautifully illustrate the practices and beliefs of the Tibetan Buddhist people. —Victoria Rogers, Bloomington, Indiana A central relationship in A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is between a sixteen-year-old Japanese schoolgirl and her elderly grandmother who is a Buddhist nun. The nun, Jiko, represents Buddhism’s moral compass with lines like, “Life is fleeting. Don’t waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!” —Jess Weitz, Marlboro, Vermont LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2017 28