The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Sunday, August 7, 2011

So Much To Read

If you are looking for a complete and thoroughly tantalizing list of Zen related books, The Zen Site's Reading List is something you will enjoy pouring over. It was last updated in the Spring of 2011, so it is current but doesn't forget to include gems from the past.

My favorite heading these days is Women In Zen. There are handy places (maybe too handy) to click on for a BUY NOW option, and this of course leads you down the garden path to other books and women writing from and about the women's Zen perspective.

I'm not one to break things down into gender specific voices or sensibilities, but traditional Eastern Zen has always been strictly patriarchal, and it was a rare male Zen master who encouraged women to follow their own path, in their own way.

As Zen came West, those stern male role models held fast, even in the United States in the 60s & 70s, where women were creating new roles for themselves and one another, and bucking the trends of past restrictive models.

I am eternally grateful to women like Maureen Stuart, Charlotte Joko Beck, Pat Enkyo O'Hara, Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Dai-En Bennage , Pema Chodron, Joan Halifax, Jan Chozen Bays and Jiyu Kennett, just to name a few.
These women, and others like them, have been trailblazers in the American and international Zen Community. Some followed the Buddha Dharma in extreme conditions, and were forged in the fires of demanding, male dominated Japanese Zen traditions. Over years of sometimes grueling training, they were able to gain a foothold, and then another, until they were ordained and released to create their own Sanghas and Zendos, or to take over for others.

Most would tell you it was never, ever easy, and they would tell you every bit of it was not only necessary, but also worth it! Judging from some of the stories I've heard from women who have lived to tell them, I wonder if I could ever have been so focused, thick-skinned and diligent.
I bow to them, and know they have made my path easier, 100 times over!

Check out Zen Site's awesome book list, it will keep you busy!

1 comment:

Hedwig said...

Great list! Thanks for posting the link.