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Lions Roar : November 2017
ZEN MASTER RAVEN The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird By Robert Aitken Wisdom Publications, 2017; 248 pp., $19.95 (cloth) In this new edition of the Buddhist classic, Zen Master Raven and his group of fellow travelers—Zen beginners like Mole and Mallard and venerable teachers like Por- cupine and Moose Roshi—have set out to search for the path to enlightenment. Along the way, they discuss serious subjects: death, karma, ego, essential nature, suf- fering, and the importance of Buddhist practice. Robert Aitken Roshi was one of the first and most important American Zen teachers and a founder of the Bud- dhist Peace Fellowship. He died in 2010, but the short dialogues, which are insightful as well as playful, have won the book a devoted audience. Nelson Foster, a dharma heir to Aitken, says this new edition will allow Aitken’s Raven to “stay aloft for gen- erations to come.” THE MONASTERY AND THE MICROSCOPE Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mind, Mindfulness, and the Nature of Reality Edited by Wendy Hasenkamp with Janna R. White Yale University Press, 400 pp., $38.00 (paper) History was made in 2013 when the Dalai Lama met with a group of lead- ing scientists, philosophers, and monks at Drepung Monastery in Tibet. It was one of the first and most important dialogues about modern science and ancient Buddhist wisdom. For six days they discussed such weighty matters as the nature of reality, consciousness, and the human mind. This book is a written record of the contributions from scholars like Richard Davidson, Thupten Jinpa, Matthieu Ricard, Tania Singer, and Arthur Zajonc. The chapters span a range of subjects—physics, consciousness studies, neuroscience, and the practical appli- cations of contemplative practice—and find many linkages between Western science and Tibetan Buddhism. Most impor- tantly, write the book’s editors, the exchanges at Drepung Mon- astery were a starting point by which “we can move toward a more holistic worldview that will help us to meet the collective challenges of our inner and outer worlds.” LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2017 75