Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zen and Japanese Culture - Begun 2009.09.30

What a great find!

Actually, I found this at the same time I found The Art of Living By Epictetus, A New Interpretation. The cover shown here is not of the edition I purchased.
Here is the book's publication details:

A previous owner, from the heartfelt inscription, gave it as a gift to a loved one:

To Lief
from my collection —
with Love, Joan, July 1990

This is a big book, beautifully filled with monochrome prints of Japanese art from the 8th to 18th century.

And it has some beautiful writing!

For example, in Suzuki's description of the Noh play 'Yama-Uba' he describes love:

... Yama-uba, literally 'the old woman of the mountains,' represents the principle of love secretly moving in every one of us. Usually we arre not conscious of it and are abusing it all of the time. Most of us imagine that love is something beautiful to look at, young, delicate, and charming. But in fact she is not, for she works hard, unnoticed by us and yet ungrudgingly; what we notice is the superficial result of her labour, and we think it beautiful — which is natural, for the work of love ought to be beautiful. But love, herself, like a hard-working peasant woman, looks rather worn out; from worrying about others her face is full of wrinkles, her hair is white. She has so many knotty problems presented for her solution. Her life is a series of pains, which, however, she gladly suffers. She travels from one end of the world to another, knowing no rest, no respite, no interruption ... (419-20).
And, to my great surprise and pleasure, he has included a couple of small extracts from Chuang-Tzu in a translation I haven't seen before, as well as many Zen stories. In particular I thoroughly enjoyed the 'Swordsman and the Cat' that a quick Google found transcribed on Menno Rubingh's website (that until now I did not know existed).

I am quite sure I won't be reading this book from cover to cover, but dipping into it, sipping it, allowing what ever synchronistic energies are extant on any particular moment in time guide my hand and eyes. And, oddly enough, I have already stumbled across an equivalency in Suzuki's description of Zen and the ideas of Constructive Living as presented by David K. Reynolds, and hence also The Dog Whisperer! Now that can't help but be an example of projecting into everything the idea that become fixated in the mind.
Zen is not necessarily against words, but it is well aware of the fact that they are always liable to detach themselves from realities and turn into conceptions. And this conceptualization is what Zen is against. ... Zen insists on handling the thing itself and not just empty abstractions. It is for this reason that Zen neglects reading or reciting SÅ«tras or engaging in discourse on abstract subjects. And this is a cause of Zen's appeal to men of action in the broadest sense of the term...(5).
Okay, the link might seem weak, but CL and TDW both advocate living in the moment, attending to what needs doing in the here and now without dw

elling on thoughts/remembrances of what was or fearing what might be.

And I also was pleased to see that Suzuki has included art
work by the famous Japanese swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi,
because I have delighted in his manual on the art of the
sword, called A Book of Five Rings, or, in Japanese script,
as calligraphed by Musashi,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Art of Living By Epictetus, A New Interpretation

by Sharon Lebell.
ISBN 0-06-251346-X.

Stumbled into this this afternoon while on my way to see the closing show of Bard-on-Beach. Traffic was excellent, and so I had a few minutes to spare and spent them visiting an old friend I hadn't visited in a while, Characters Fine Used Books and Coffee Bar in the Marpole area of Vancouver.

Purchased Sept 26, 2009.

My first impression is that this is a nice light read, but worthwhile.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Modern Man in Search of a Soul - Begun 2009.09.19

As part of my hunt for Dog Whisperer equivalencies in philosophers, I more or less randomly picked-up, again,

Modern Man in Search of Soul
Originally published by Harcourt, Brace, Jonavich in 1933. Tr. W. S. Dell and Cary F. Baynes.

Began re-read Sept 19, 2009. although I am jumping into the book willy-nilly and not reading it front to back.

A quick Google search will reveal that this book is well received. And I think deservedly so. Although, now that I've been reading the RFC Hull translations, I find this translation not quite as strong. Nonetheless this is an excellent comprehensive introduction to Jung's ideas, by Jung himself, in very approachable language. In it, much like an excellent diary, he expresses his concerns about the validity of his ideas, how they may or may not stand against rigid scientific 'repeatable' truth because the nature of the individual is uniqueness and what will aid one's movement through life will cripple another's.

I am plastering it with sticky notes of equivalencies with Cesar Millan's approach to the lives of dogs and their pack leaders.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rainbow Rising from a Stream: Finished 2009.09.10

Rainbow Rising from a Stream: The Natural Way to Well Being.

Finished 2009.09.12
Began 2009.08.13


This is an extremely powerful read. It has a powerful and simple message. I have filled it with sticky notes on equivalences I see in Reynold's ideas and Cesar Millan's approach to dogs and people. Oh, and even more importantly, I am putting into practice some of the exercises given. (I will be transcribing extracts here, soon.)