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Lions Roar : January 2019
OUR STAFF PICKS ANDREW GLENCROSS Associate Art Director of Lion’s Roar The subtitle of Sallie Tisdale’s book, Advice for Future Corpses and Those Who Love Them (Touchstone), is A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying, and she really is not kidding about it being prac- tical. Tisdale is a nurse who’s cared for many a corpse-to-be, so there are plenty of hard-nosed tips for those of us new to such matters. Did you know that you can fire your doctor, or that becoming dehydrated can make a patient feel bet- ter in their last days, or that in France a dead person can get married? The author is also a Buddhist and a gifted writer, full of opinions, stories, and philosophical insights. Beyond mere practicality, the depth of her emotional experience lends weight to her sudden poetic turns of phrase, and vice versa. Again and again, she reminds us that everything is always falling apart, and then she helps us find the courage not to turn away from it. CINDY LITTLEFAIR Operations and Human Resources I have a Zen monk as a colleague, which is very handy for sniff-testing books claiming to be Zen derivatives. When reading A Monk’s Guide to Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto (Pen- guin Books), for instance, I was able to grill my monk about whether monks do indeed use special signals in monastery bathrooms or if he really does have to shave his head with a razor and wear white underwear. Granted, the answers to these and other questions have little practical application in my life, but they do speak to this book’s authenticity and are rife with meaning. I was attracted to this book because it’s zeitgeist-ish— tidying being the new decorating—and being a lifelong tidier myself I’m always interested in upping my game. (“Clean” I can take or leave.) A Monk’s Guide to Clean House and Mind possesses the means to instruct as well as enlighten. It’s a fun and fast read, and you’ll be rocking a monastery aesthetic in no time if you heed its advice. LILLY GREENBLATT Associate Editor of Lionsroar.com In Sanctuary, Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Man- uel offers a deeply personal reflection on home, homelessness, and belonging. She tells the story of her life’s hunger for home in a physical, metaphorical, and ancestral sense, drawing from her experi- ence of oppression as a Black woman in America. I read Sanctuary from cover to cover on a three-hour flight back to my own childhood home, a trip that often, for me, inspires contemplation of what home truly is. Rev. Manuel’s account of finding her way home and of discovering sanctuary—within and without—was just what I needed in that moment. “We can see and create sanctuary in the ordi- nariness of everyday life,” she writes. “We can see a blade of grass... as sanctuary.” LINDSAY KYTE Associate Editor of Lion’s Roar magazine The wisdom Susan Piver offers in The Four Noble Truths of Love (Lionheart Press) is applicable to all stages of romantic relationships: “I remember after one night of ecstatic lovemaking,” Piver writes, “I came downstairs to find my boyfriend in the kitchen, removing all the dishes I had placed in the dishwasher in order to replace them in the ‘correct’ manner.” By weaving personal anecdotes such as this with Buddhist teachings, Piver gives us a way to laugh at the wild soup of emotion that is romantic love while also giving us a map for navigating the ups and downs of intimacy. Her views allow us to zoom back, get some perspective, and find ways to be kinder to both ourselves and our romantic partners—with the reassurance that, yes, we’re all probably making the same missteps, so let’s breathe and know we’re together in this very human longing for love. Lion’s Roar staff members look back at 2018 and choose their favorite Buddhist book of the year. LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2019 75