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 Public Zen, Personal Zen by Peter Hershock - highly recommended

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Public Zen, Personal Zen by Peter Hershock - highly recommended   Fri May 02, 2014 3:42 pm



Public Zen, Personal Zen: A Buddhist Introduction (Critical Issues in World and International History) by Peter Hershock


Among Buddhist traditions, Zen has been remarkably successful in garnering and sustaining interest outside the Buddhist homelands of Asia, and “zen” is now part of the global cultural lexicon. This deeply informed book explores the history of this enduring Japanese tradition—from its beginnings as a form of Buddhist thought and practice imported from China to its reinvention in medieval Japan as a force for religious, political, and cultural change to its role in Japan’s embrace of modernity.

Going deeper, it also explores Zen through the experiences and teachings of key individuals who shaped Zen as a tradition committed to the embodiment of enlightenment by all. By bringing together Zen’s institutional and personal dimensions, Peter D. Hershock offers readers a nuanced yet accessible introduction to Zen as well as distinctive insights into issues that remain relevant today, including the creative tensions between globalization and localization, the interplay of politics and religion, and the possibilities for integrating social transformation with personal liberation.

Including an introduction to the basic teachings and practices of Buddhism and an account of their spread across Asia, Public Zen, Personal Zen deftly blends historical detail with the felt experiences of Zen practitioners grappling with the meaning of human suffering, personal freedom, and the integration of social and spiritual progress.
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Jcbaran

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Posts : 1614
Join date : 2010-11-13
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PostSubject: Re: Public Zen, Personal Zen by Peter Hershock - highly recommended   Thu May 29, 2014 5:19 pm

finally finished skimming the book.  He makes many good points, but the last section, the author becomes rather romantic about the master and the master-disciple relationship.  Clearly, he is enchanted the ideal / perfected version of the teacher and the disciple relationship.  To me, it was like writing about the perfect marriage or the ideal woman or wife.  the bigger question - is it beneficial to focus on the ideal - perhaps it has its merits - but the shadows of this are self-evident.  Especially, when it's clear that great teachers are extremely rare and even excellent teachers not common either.  And when you fixate on this ideal, you pretend it's real - you ignore the shadows, you want to be hanging out with a "living Buddha" rather than the person in front of you.  Also, when you have this ideal in your head, it actually makes you feel bad - this story - because you are not living up to it, the teacher is not, the story creates more discomfort - and dishonesty.  The middle way must include honesty, transparency, and the clarity to know the difference between your stories and this moment without the fantasy.
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