Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Soltice

Today is the Winter Soltice.

We're heading into winter. The amount of reading I get through increases during the winter.

A couple of books I've read recently that I've really enjoyed are - Chinese Texts and Philosophical Contexts: Essays Dedicated to Angus C. Graham, edited by Henry Rosemont Jr  and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

"Chinese Texts" is a scholarly one. The first few chapters were way over my head as they had to do with fine points of translating Classical Chinese, but the rest of the book was very interesting.Some of the essays had to do with things like who compiled the Zhuang Zi, and when was the first reference of the Dao De Jing and the Zhuang Zi together and referred to as a "school" or that the word "elements" in the "Five Elements" is used altogether in a different sense than modern westerners would use that word.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a novel told from the point of view of a dog who has grown old with his family, is not nearing the end of his life and is now looking back on things. The dog's owner is a race car driver and the observations the dog makes about him and the way his lives his life resonates with the applications of Daoism and Zen in our everyday lives. It's a very good read.

I'm currently rereading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. It's simply a classic.


walt said...

Very wintry, frosty, hereabouts -- perfect for the day of Max Yin.

Speaking of beginner's mind, here's a very detailed dissection of the subject by a man who has studied both Zen and the martial arts fairly thoroughly. Many words, but very readable.

Rick Matz said...

Thanks for the link, Walt. Peter Ralston is a famous martial artist and generally considered among the best.

a friend of mine studies with one of Ralston's long time students.