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Lions Roar : May 2018
REVIEWS THE LOGIC OF FAITH A Buddhist Approach to Finding Certainty Beyond Belief and Doubt By Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel Shambhala Publications 2018; 160 pp., $16.95 (paper) When Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel started teaching on faith, most Bud- dhists weren’t interested. They dis- missed faith, she says, as being blind, fundamentalist, disempowering, and “the mentality my grandmother had.” Yet Namgyel felt strongly that faith—with its dynamic relation- ship with doubt—was a meaty topic, and she finally got people to engage with it by giving her inquiry a fresh, more rebellious name: “the F-word!” In The Logic of Faith, Namgyel explores the many and contra- dictory definitions of faith, as well as the lived experience of it. She argues that there’s a middle way between the extremes of faith and doubt, and that finding it is the way to compassion and liberation. At the core of this book is one of Buddhism’s most important and complex insights: pratityasamutpada, dependent arising, which means that nothing—in the realm of consciousness or matter— stands on its own, independent of other elements. BOW FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER Ordination, Love, and Monastic Zen in Japan By Gesshin Claire Greenwood Wisdom Publications 2018; 264 pp., $17.95 (paper) If I were a betting woman, I’d wager that Gesshin Greenwood will be at the forefront of the next generation of Buddhist teachers in the West. In Bow First, Ask Questions Later, Greenwood gives an unflinchingly honest account of her spiritual trajectory. Perhaps best of all, though she has done a lot of very serious practice, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Greenwood spent six years practic- ing as a nun at temples in Japan and offers readers a fascinat- ing window into that demanding world. In 2015, she received dharma transmission from Seido Suzuki Roshi and in 2017, while still in her twenties, she was granted the title of osho, or teacher, in the Soto Zen school. Greenwood has deeply consid- ered the nature and purpose of practice, the lived experience of the precepts, the significance of lineage, and the place where happiness meets the great matter of life and death. Spirit Rock an insight meditation center spiritrock.org wisdom & insight for over 30 years LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 78