The Truth of This Life: Zen Teachings on Loving the World as It Is

The Truth of This Life: Zen Teachings on Loving the World as It Is


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Accessible and elegant teachings from a well-loved and revered woman Zen teacher.

“The truth and joy of this life is that we cannot change things as they are.” The import of those words can be found beautifully expressed in the work of the woman who spoke them, Katherine Thanas (1927–2012)—in her art, in her writing, and especially in her Zen teaching. Fearlessly direct and endlessly curious, Katherine’s understanding of Zen was inseparable from her affinity for the arts. She was an MFA student studying painting with Richard Diebenkorn, the preeminent Californian abstract painter, when she met Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, in the sixties. Soon thereafter she decided to drop painting to dedicate herself to Zen, which she did for the last forty years of her life. In these essential teachings taken from her dharma talks—which make up her only book—her love of art and literature shine through in her elegant prose and her vast references, from poets William Stafford and Naomi Shihab Nye to the Zen teachings of Dogen and Robert Aitken. Ranging on subjects from the practice of zazen to the meaning of life, Katherine urges us to “develop an insatiable appetite for inner awareness, to become proficient with this mind.” This slim volume is an important contribution by a well-loved and revered teacher.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611804683
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 01/23/2018
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 738,552
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Katherine Thanas was a renowned dharma teacher who was the founding teacher for the Monterey Bay Zen Center and abbot of the Santa Cruz Zen Center. Katherine was introduced to Zen by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1967, and she trained with him at Sokoji, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, and Green Gulch Farm. She received lay ordination from Suzuki Roshi, was ordained as a priest by Zentatsu Baker Roshi in 1975, and received shiho (dharma transmission) from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1988. She died in 2012 at the age of 85.

Table of Contents

Foreword Norman Fischer xi

Foreword Wendy Johnson xv

Preface Natalie Goldberg xix

Introduction Bill Anelli xxxi

Inside of Time

A Farmer Came to See … 3

The Joy of Not Choosing 6

Being Inside of Time 11

No Pressure to Improve 14

This Very Mind Is Buddha 17

Noticing Our Story Line 19

What We Cannot Know

This Deepest Self 25

To Meet That Which We Cannot Know 27

What Is the Meaning of a Rose? 30

Cultivating the Silent Mind 34

Catch the Body as It Flies 38

Set Ourselves to Zero 43

How the Universe Thinks

What Is the Flavor of Plain? 49

A Guest Called Fire 52

Depth of Mind (A Two-Day Retreat) 56

The Oneness of Two 60

A Monk Asks 63

How the Universe Thinks 64

Loving the World as It Is

It's All in the Details 69

The True Ch'ien 71

Seeing Impermanence Itself 75

Loving the World as It Is 78

No Treats or Discounts 81

Not Moving Is the Way 84

Just This

True Intimacy 91

One Thing Means One Thing 94

Just This Is It 97

Why We Are at War 101

Practicing Wholeness 104

An Ordinary Grounded Life 108

It Is What It Is 111

Acknowledgments 116

Glossary 118

Bibliography 129

About the Author 133

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