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Song of Mind: Wisdom from the Zen Classic Xin Ming
Sheng Yen
Boston: Shambhala
Publications, 2004
214 pp.; $16.95 (paper)

Ch’an master Sheng Yeng takes a practical approach to unlocking the meaning of the classic seventh-century Ch’an poem Xing Ming, or “Song of Mind,” for contemporary students. Exploring a short section of the text in each chapter, Master Sheng Yeng uses ancient wisdom to address the problems that meditators encounter in our current spiritual context, and he urges them to integrate their practice with all aspects of their daily life. According to Sheng Yeng, “[These] poems, and commentaries are useful only insofar as they encourage you to practice and incorporate the Dharma into your daily life.” 

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Journeying East: Conversations on Aging and Dying
Victoria Jean Dimidjian
Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2004
158 pp.; $16.00 (paper)

Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Frank Ostaseski, Joan Halifax, and other eminent spiritual teachers offer fresh perspectives on aging and dying in this collection of original interviews by Victoria Dimidjian. With insight, humor, and compassion, the teachers each discuss the challenges they have encountered and the insights gained as they make the transition to later life. “The greatest relief you get from Buddhist practice,” Thich Nhat Hanh explains, “is to go beyond the notion of birth and death.” An annotated bibliography supports the interviews and offers resources for further exploration.

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Buddhist Practice on Western Ground
Harvey B. Aronson, Ph.D.
Boston: Shambhala
Publications, 2004
253 pp.; $14.95 (paper)

As most committed Western Buddhists come to realize, inherent conflicts of culture and philosophy arise when East meets West. For instance, while our culture places a high value on individuality, Buddhism emphasizes interdependence and overcoming ego. And while Western psychologists warn against suppressing anger, Buddhism teaches that anger must be countered. Psychotherapist and meditation teacher Harvey B. Aronson, in this useful book, provides an assessment of these seeming contradictions and offers constructive guidance for practitioners attempting to rise above them.

 

 

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