Interesting Zen book ..."Fire Monks"

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Interesting Zen book ..."Fire Monks"
7
Thu, 08-25-2011 - 9:17am

Just sharing this link to the book "Fire Monks" that jumped out at me in the new book section at our library. I'm enjoying the book, and love how Zen wisdom is sprinkled in, and and how it is an example of "living Zen." :) I had always wanted to go on retreat to Tassajara during the years I practiced Zen, but never got there. Too busy raising our DD, we both worked full-time, it was a challenge just to get up at 4:30 a.m. M-F, and drive 30 min. to the zendo for early morning zazen meditation before going back home, getting DD up, getting us ready to go for the day, her to school, DH to work and me to work. :P

http://fire-monks.com/fire-monks/

Tassajara: http://www.sfzc.org/tassajara/

I still practice the sitting meditation I learned all those years ago, too. The practice is keeping me "sane" with my current health challenges and issues. I blend some of that Zen wisdom into my Pagan Wiccan path now, too.

Shunryu Suzuki brought Zen to the West, to CA, and his lineage is what I studied, and what the Zen Center follows:

"Wherever you are, you are one with the clouds and one with the sun and the stars you see. You are one with everything. That is more true than I can say, and more true than you can hear."

~~ Shunryu Suzuki


;) Connects with my Pagan path.


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003

Awesome!!

Thank you soo much for sharing that. I have added it to my Nook Book wish list and will definitely read it!

Zen and Taoism share much of the same wisdom, infact some scholars claim that Zen resulted from the blending of Taoism and

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

I love your quote, too! :) I am going to save it. :P


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007

I belong to a readers' forum and one of the members there recommended this book. I'm going to look for it in my library. I have issues with mediation. I definitely have a monkey mind and she prefers leaping from tree to tree to sitting still for zazen. This book looks really good.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003

Hi gypsywolfwoman,

Thanks for the "Fire Monks" recommendation........ my library has it, so I'll definitely check it out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

DH & I went to a Half-Price Books store yesterday, and he was looking for used CDs in his genre of music. I gravitated to the spiritual section, and found the Zen shelves. :P I found this book, which looks like it will be kind of fun to read and saw this quote that made me think of you and your comment re trying to meditate and "monkey mind," as I was just paging through it on the way home while DH was driving:

"Zen is a lot like riding a bike.You don't learn to do it by acquiring knowledge; you learn to do it by doing it.

"Hang on tight and pedal like h*ll!" my dad yelled as he launched me on my first attempt at cycling. It wasn't a great body of knowledge, but it told me all the essentials I needed. When you've learned to ride a bike, you just do it. You don't understand how you do it. In fact if someone asked you to explain the process logically, you'd be unable to explain. And the falling-off is an important part of learning. Getting the sense of balance is a lot to do with what you don't do."

"So Zen is a lot like that It doesn't matter one bit if you get it wrong. However it would matter quite a lot if you never gave it a try."

~~Robert Allen, in Zen Reflections

;) That's what sitting zazen (meditation) is. You just keep going, keep "pedaling" until you "get it." You learn to watch "monkey mind" like a film strip. You don't get hooked into it. Just breathe and let it pass. I tell my mind "OK, we'll deal with that later. But right now, let's just let it go. :)

My "mantra" that I read in the "Fire Monks" book:

"Everything changes.
Everything is connected.
Pay attention."

~Jane Hirshfield, Poet

I say it every time I notice "monkey mind" having sway... It helps bring me back to purpose, to sitting. Can also help if my mind is monkeying when I'm doing my T'ai Chi Chih practice, as well. :P

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you. ;)


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003

Very nice!!

I love that quote and the bike riding analogy. It actually helps put my own meditative journey in perspective. I too have a 'monkey mind', but all of what you said makes so much sense.

It is also very similar to what I am currently reading. It is a book called The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher. The second chapter is about cultivating Te, which is character.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

That looks like an interesting book. I haven't read any of her work, that I can recall... Adding to my book list. Will check our library. :P Love the story about the "try" and "do!" Very Zen, also! ;) I hate to say it, but whenever someone says, "I'll try to do that" I immediately know I can't count on them to do it. Sad, isn't it? I think often it's a desire to be supportive or helpful or amenable or just plain "nice," or "polite," but really, the speaker has no strong *intent* or commitment to actually DO whatever it is, you know? :(

I think "monkey-mind" is the human condition, yes? We all get run ragged with our minds running and skittering in all directions. We forget we are body and spirit, too. We forget we are whole. Unless we train the mind through spiritual pursuits. ;) The trick is to find the spiritual path that is compatible to us, that is the best tool for us. Fortunate there are many choices, as long as we are open to new information. Love this Zen Tea Cup story about being open: http://www.101zenstories.com/index.php?story=1 ;)

In my early Zen days, when first going to the zendo, and taking some classes, the one book that demystified everything for me was Shunryu Suzuki's book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. He founded Zen Center SF, that led to the foundings of Tassajara (in the book Fire Monks) and Green Gulch, both monasteries of the Zen Center in SF, as well as a the zendo in Berkeley, where I meditated and studied for a few years long ago. Just looking at his face in photographs, I wish I had "discovered" Zen when he was still alive, and had a chance to meet him. :P http://www.sfzc.org/zc/display.asp?catid=1,5&pageid=426

Zen took hold and is in my "marrow" even with my strong commitment to the Lady and Lord. As the little "mantra" poem I quoted, "Everything is connected." ;)


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(