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Lions Roar : July 2019
ALPHABREATHS The ABCs of Mindful Breathing By Christopher Willard & Daniel Rechtschaffen Sounds True 2019; 32 pp., $17.95 (cloth) This picture book teaches kids twenty-six techniques for mindfully following their breath, with one technique for each letter of the alphabet. We start with A for Alliga- tor Breath: “Open your arms wide like alligator jaws on the in-breath. Snap them shut on the out-breath.” Then we go all the way to Z for Zzzz Breath: “Imagine falling asleep. Close your eyes, take a big breath in, and hold it. Then slowly let out your breath, imagining a long Zzzz.” Last night, I shared Alphabreaths with my kids for the first time. I appreciated the opportunity for fun let- ter learning, plus I was pleased that, as I was reading, they spontaneously gave the instructions a try. When we got to H for Hugging Breath, they gave themselves big hugs, and when we got to R for Redwood Breath, they reached their arms high like branches. The illustrations, which are by Holly Clifton- Brown, are both sweet and lively. THE NINE CLOUD DREAM By Kim Man-jung Penguin Classics 2019; 288 pp., $17 (paper) This book features the tiresome cliché of women as temptresses, but I’m giving it a pass because it’s a juicy, Buddhist read dating back to the seventeenth century. The Nine Cloud Dream is about Hsing-chen, a Buddhist monk who doubts the dharma and violates his vows. Because of this unwise conduct, Hsing-chen is forced to incarnate as Shao-yu, an idealized man who lives a glorious worldly life with intellectual achievements, martial accomplishments, and sensual delights. But the plot thickens. There are disguises and dreams, misperceptions and obscura- tion, and slowly it becomes clear that nothing is clear. Finally, Hsing-chen’s teacher enters the illusory world of Shao-yu and causes him to remember the dream he had of being a monk, and Hsing-chen wakes up on his meditation cushion. Although The Nine Cloud Dream is one of the most beloved works in the Korean canon, it’s little known in the English- speaking world, and this new translation is one of the few that exist. ♦ This book is about getting back in touch with your values, so you can live energetically, authentically, and lovingly. This is an invitation to close the gaps we create between ourselves and others–to wake up to ourselves and the world around us. It’s time to live wholeheartedly. WHOLEHEARTED By Koshin Paley Ellison Available on amazon.com and wherever books are sold. Learn more about Koshin at www.zencare.org Each of us has an enormous capacity for love–a deep well of attention and care that we can offer to ourselves and others. With guidance that is both simple and wholly transformative, Koshin Paley Ellison, Zen teacher and psychotherapist, shows us how to uncover it: pay attention, be of service, and be with others. LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 81