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Lions Roar : March 2018
HOLY RASCALS Advice for Spiritual Revolutionaries By Rami Shapiro Sounds True 2017; 232 pp., $16.95 (paper) Rabbi Rami Shapiro isn’t against religion, but he believes there is something religious bigwigs don’t want you to know: “Brand- name parochial religions are concerned with their respective truths rather than the Perennial Wisdom at the mystic heart of all religion. Knowing this allows you to learn from and even participate in all religions without becoming trapped by any of them.” Shapiro rejects any belief that incites fear and hatred of the other, and celebrates any belief that opens minds and hearts. He advocates using reli- gious, spiritual language to unmask the absurdities of religion and spirituality and he calls himself and all those engaged in this endeavor “holy rascals.” As he sees it, the most effective tool in the holy rascal’s toolbox is humor, a tool that he puts to work in this book. DIVINE GARDENS Mayumi Oda & The San Francisco Zen Center Interviews and essays compiled by Rachel Walther Parallax Press 2017; 112 pp., $29.95 (cloth) I’ve long admired the colorful, joy-infused art of Mayumi Oda, but after reading Divine Gardens, I now have a greater appreciation for her as an artist, activist, and Bud- dhist. Born in Japan, Mayumi Oda moved to California in the 1970s and began practicing at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, part of the San Francisco Zen Center community, which she calls her “Califor- nia Buddha Field.” Divine Gardens is a beautiful coffee table book showcasing forty-five of Oda’s full-color artworks and twenty-four essays about Oda by Green Gulch practitioners, including such Zen luminaries as Norman Fischer, Edward Espe Brown, and Kazuaki Tanahashi. Oda uses traditional Japanese–Chinese imagery, but her approach is fresh and playful with a strong feminist bent. She’s best known for her depictions of female bodhisattvas, the natu- ral world, and the harvest—think Tara on a whimsical pumpkin throne or Kannon watering cabbages with the elixir of life. By Andrea Miller Village Zendo Daily practice in downtown New York City for over thirty years. villagezendo.org Roshi Enkyo O’Hara Authentic Zen Kind Zen Tough Zen True Zen No Zen LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2018 79