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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
buddhadharma| 73 |winter 2006 riculum practice of Japanese Rinzai. Its companion, Zen Koan, which retains the text but lacks the extensive footnotes, has never gone out of print. In addition, Ruth often acted as what we would now call a “coach,” encouraging, sometimes employ- ing, and frequently providing critical introductions for a generation of young Westerners seeking an authentic Zen. Complicated, smart, engaged, and totally committed to bringing Zen to the West, Ruth nonetheless did it her way. In Japan, she was famous for her American- style dinners, a treat for many visiting Japanese and homesick Westerners. Even after her installation as abbot of Ryosen- an temple, Ruth never shaved her head. She was carefully coiffed, wore pearls, and presented herself as a lady of her genera- tion. Her Zen, while in some ways quite conservative, was always in a dialogue with her Western origins and sensibilities. Ruth Fuller Sasaki died of a massive heart attack on October 24, 1967. Half of her ashes were interred at Ryosen- an and half with Sokei-an’s ashes in the Bronx’s Woodlawn cemetery. This book is a detailed outline of an astonishing life. My only substantial criti- cism is that it’s an outline. References to Dwight Goddard, compiler of A Buddhist Bible, and the prolific author L. Adams Beck, and Henry Platov, who is said by some to have received dharma trans- mission from Sokei-an, and Mary Far- kas, the leader of the Institute in Ruth’s absence – not to mention her son-in-law Alan Watts – suggest a world of connec- tions that are not examined in this all-too- brief biography. It seems as though the author intended simply to pull together the facts and present an extensive outline of her subject’s life and work. In this she succeeds admirably. The addition of three of Ruth Fuller Sasa- ki’s pamphlets – Zen: A Religion; Zen: A Method of Religious Awakening; and Rinzai Zen Study for Foreigners in Japan – are alone worth the price of the book. Another Zen pioneer, the poet Gary Snyder, has contributed an engag- ing introduction. Zen Pioneer will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any serious student of Zen who is interested in learning how it has taken shape in the West. I only wish I had read it before my own study of Zen in the West went to press. It would have saved me the embar- rassment of making several errors. zenAnd the Art of Happiness Cutting-edge science and spirituality tell us that what we believe, think , and feel actually deter- mine the makeup of our body at the cellular level. In Zen and the Art of Happiness, you will learn how to think and feel so that what you think and feel creates happiness and vibrancy in your life rather than gloominess or depression. You’ll learn how to adapt to life’s inevitable changes, how to deal with stress in a healthy way , and how to nurture a mindful happiness in your daily life. Most importantly, the gentle wis- dom of Zen and the Art of Happiness will show you how to invite magnificent experiences into your life and create a personal philosophy that will sustain you through anything. Trade paperback, 41/2 x 71/8 , 160 pages. ISBN: 0-943015-53 -7, $10.95. Available at neighborhood and online bookstores. Power Press www.power-press.com A timeless work about the art of happiness, the way of happiness, the inner game of happiness.... When the student is ready The teacher will appear ZEN EYE Are you ready? See three new talks each week, filmed live at Kanzeon Zen Center Hear an archive of talks by outstanding teachers on the great masters, Western Zen, koans, Zen and daily life, more Experience the Big Mind process taught by its creator, Zen Master Genpo Merzel Sample free downloads Join and support a vibrant international Zen community Subscribe for only $10 a month BigMind.org