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The Wonder of Presence
     

The Wonder of Presence

by Toni Packer
 

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In this compelling collection of talks, interviews, and letters, Toni Packer provides a comprehensive overview of the path of meditative inquiry—a nondenominational approach to spiritual growth that emphasizes the direct experience of the present moment. "The immense challenge for each one of us," Packer writes, "is can we live our lives, at least for moments at

Overview

In this compelling collection of talks, interviews, and letters, Toni Packer provides a comprehensive overview of the path of meditative inquiry—a nondenominational approach to spiritual growth that emphasizes the direct experience of the present moment. "The immense challenge for each one of us," Packer writes, "is can we live our lives, at least for moments at a time, in the wonder of presence that is the creative source of everything?" She shows how we can transform fear, anger, guilt, and attachment to our self-image through simple, direct awareness. Having recently lost her husband of fifty years, Packer also speaks with candor and tenderness about the convulsions of a grieving heart and the peace that undivided awareness can bring.

Toni Packer began studying Zen in 1967 with Roshi Philip Kapleau (author of The Three Pillars of Zen ) at the Rochester Zen Center and was eventually named his successor. Seeing the potentially destructive effects of relying too much on tradition, however, she did not accept the position. Packer is strongly influenced by the teachings of Krishnamurti and has turned away from the traditional forms and hierarchies that are prevalent in many Buddhist schools. Her approach is appealing to many Westerners who find institutionalized practices such as chanting, bowing, and burning incense to be alien and unnecessary.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834825710
Publisher:
Shambhala
Publication date:
04/16/2002
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
1,265,969
File size:
506 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter
1: The Wonder of Presence

What
a quiet Sunday it is, overflowing with golden light! Taking a walk this morning
along the driveway, with the sound of crunching white snow, evergreen branches
shedding sprays of glistening crystals when touched by the breeze, the taste of
tiny flakes on lips and cheeks, descending to the freezing creek with its
gurgling waters splashing over icy rocks playfully sparkling in the light of
the sun, crows calling loudly to each other throughout the woods—what heart
would not be gladdened?

Under
a vast blue sky this wondrous presence is here, replacing habitual worrisome
thoughts and feelings. They can't survive the deep silence of open being. It is
not brought about by anything or anyone—it is here without effort, without time.

In
this sunlit hall with green plants cascading down the wall, sitting together,
listening, breathing, and wondering in stillness, we are all alone and yet all
one. When thoughts about my problems, my fears, my needs and desires abate in
silent presence, what could possibly divide us?

If
thoughts are whirling about, let them be like dancing snowflakes in empty
space! This moment of light and warmth and cool air, inhaling and exhaling
softly—are we here? This instant of opening eyes and ears widely, beholding
the wooden floor, the distant blue hills, and silent people all around, what
else is there?

Is
the mind thinking about all this, or can it quiet down in simple wondering
without knowing?

Meet the Author

Toni Packer began studying Zen at the Rochester Zen Center in 1967 with Roshi Philip Kapleau (author of The Three Pillars of Zen). She teaches and leads retreats at Springwater Center in Springwater, New York.

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