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Lions Roar : May 2019
THE ART OF SIMPLE LIVING 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy By Shunmyo Masuno Penguin Books 2019; 224 pp., $20 (cloth) Shunmyo Masuno is the head priest of a 450-year-old Soto Zen temple in Japan, a professor of environmental design at one of Japan’s leading art schools, and a Zen gardener with clients across the globe. In The Art of Simple Living, he offers pithy tips on how to increase our feelings of well-being by making some seemingly small changes in how we approach life. To start with, he says, “Making time for not thinking about anything. That is the first step toward creating a simple life.” Later, he goes on to suggest “Make someone happy,” and “Do not divide into good and bad.” Many of Masuno’s teachings focus on connecting with nature, such as “Seek out the sunset,” and “Have a conversation with a garden.” Others emphasize zazen in myriad forms, such as “Try a standing practice,” in which he suggests, among other things, meditating on the subway as you commute to work. ♦ REVIEWS THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT Zen Teachings of Edward Espe Brown Edited by Danny S. Parker Sounds True 2019; 225 pp., $17.95 (paper) Edward Espe Brown, author of the classic Tassajara Bread Book, offers his kitchen-sink wisdom on how we can be more creative, comfortable cooks, and then bring that same spirit into the whole of our lives. Though he’s a Zen priest, Brown never talks from on high. Instead he shows us his full humanity, which helps us see and accept our own, and he’s never prescriptive. Sometimes, for example, someone will ask him at a cooking demonstration exactly how much salt he put in the sauce. “I put salt in until I liked it—to my own taste,” he tells them. “Do you want to trust your own taste, your own tongue, or do you want to think that you are going to get it right by doing what I did?” Brown’s passion is encouraging experimentation, but he also shares a few lovely recipes, such as one I like for warm, soft chocolate cake. Find the best Buddhist books at store.lionsroar.com—and support our non-profit mission. LION’S ROAR | MAY 2019 80