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Lions Roar : May 2018
MORE THAN HAPPINESS Buddhist and Stoic Wisdom for a Sceptical Age By Antonia Macaro Icon Books 2018; 208 pp., $19.95 (cloth) Antonia Macaro doesn’t identify as either a Buddhist or a Stoic. But despite her reservations about them, she has been shaped by these traditions. Though Buddhism and Stoicism are distinct philosophies, there are historical reasons to suspect cross fertilization, and they have striking parallels. Both, for example, emphasize the importance of seeing things clearly, engaging in ethical action, and shedding material attachments. Both assert that we suffer because of our delusions and grasp- ing and offer a way out of our suffering. Macaro notes that Buddhism and Stoicism have each significantly contributed to modern therapy practices and suggests other ways the tradi- tions could enrich our lives. She’s fully aware that Buddhism isn’t one monolithic thing, and neither is Stoicism. The Bud- dhism she unpacks in More Than Happiness is a composite grounded heavily in early Buddhism. The Stoicism she draws out is generally of the Romans. NIGHT HAWKS: STORIES By Charles Johnson Scribner 2018; 192 pp., $24 (cloth) Charles Johnson deftly weaves the funny with the philosophi- cal. Many of the stories in his new collection, Night Hawks, have a strong Buddhist underpinning and several were originally pub- lished in Lion’s Roar. “Prince of the Ascetics,” for instance, is a retelling of the Buddha’s journey to enlight- enment. What makes it fresh is that it’s told from the point of view of one of the five ascetics who practiced austerities with the Buddha for six years, and his voice is human and relatable. The narrator has dedicated himself to banishing his ego and finding freedom from illusion, yet he’s wrapped up in petty jealousy and striving. What is his first thought after the Buddha achieves enlightenment? “These rich kids have all the luck.” Johnson is also the MacArthur Award- winning author of Taming the Ox: Buddhist Stories and Reflections on Politics, Race, Culture, and Spiritual Practice and the novel Middle Passage. By Andrea Miller LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 79