Saturday, April 21, 2007

Literary Shambhala

I regularly pick up Shambhala Sun magazine because it provides insightful articles on the history and practice of Buddhism. It's had fine writers like Charles Johnson, bell hooks, and Pico Iyer write the most amazing essays.
This particular issue was quite literary. It has pulitzer prize winning novelist Alice Walker being interviewed on meditation, along with a published talk that she gave at the "first-ever African American Buddhis retreat" and how she "describes the great toll, both personal and societal, of racism in America, and how Buddhism has helped her heal its wounds."
AND it has an interview with Booker Prize winner Yann Martel (The Life of Pi) on his yoga practice, stating that he followed "too many gurus."
I always suspected that Eastern thought can somehow lead to interesting creative behavior.


Don Cummings said...


My fear with Buddhism is the BABY WITH THE BATHWATER thing. Chuck your rage, I imagine a whole lot else goes with it. These days--facing the homophobia in America, I feel like the ANTI-BUDDHIST--it makes me wanna kick ass.

thelastnoel said...

I'm with ya with the rage. But what's interesting is that both Ms. Walker and Mr. Martel are writing critical work about society. Doing this kind of writing shouldn't sacrifice one's own inner peace, I think.

Pete said...

I think you're right, Noel. Somehow we have to be able to stand up against injustice, loudly and clearly, and yet be able to maintain inner peace and positive vibes.

So thanks for this tip, I will check it out.

Do you know of Fenton Johnson? I am reading (simultaneously) his memoir of his lover who died of AIDS, The Geography of the Heart, and his memoir/nonfiction book "Keeping Faith," about his investigation of the monastic life among both Buddhist and Catholic monks. I appreciate his stance on the importance of the spiritual life, as well as his cynicism toward organized religion. Fascinating stuff.