Notable Books

Notable Books 48

Two books in one go!

Zen mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki, edited by Trudy Dixon with a preface by Huston Smith and an introduction by Richard Baker Paperback. Many used copies.

Notable Books 48 b

Crooked Cucumber, The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki Paperback, Illustrated.  Many used copies.

Notable Books 48 c

We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of Zen Mind Beginner's Mind (ZMBM).   Since 1970 Shunryu Suzuki book has introduced thousands of Americans to the practice and teaching of Zen Buddhism. I am going to review this book along with the biographical account of Suzuki's life (Crooked Cucumber) thus combining it into one long review. Back in the late 70s, this book (ZMBM) was continually discussed at Olcott, the American Headquarters of the TS.  I clearly remember at several meetings in that time frame discussing with some of the theosophical leaders ZMBM. It was a favorite along with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig which I shall mention again at the end of this review. 

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Notable Books 47


For readers of this section on Theosophy Forward the e-Magazine, you know that I normally start out with the review of a new book and then an old one  This time, the review is coming to you because of Synchronicity (a meaningful coincidence). I'm enough of a “Jungian” to take synchronicity very seriously. In this case, two events occurred within several weeks of each other for both books. I will explain each event as I review the two books.

Something New 

To Heal a Wounded Heart:  The Transformative Power of Buddhism and Psychotherapy in Action, Pilar Jennings, PhD, Shambhala, Boulder, 2017, pp. 214, $18.95.

Book 1

Dr. Jennings has two books: both of which merits review. I choose this one because it is the most entertaining which is always a good place to start. I have a pile of books that are candidates for reviews.   Both of Pilar's books have been on  this pile for about 2 years. What I normally look (and wait for) is a "Hook" to pick one book over the others  Frequently, this "Hook" is simply my interest at the moment, or one of my theosophical friends making a suggestion. So far, I had no "Hooks" for either of Pilar's books.  That afternoon, I had gathered up the pile and it was ready to take down stair for another three months. I clearly remember looking the Wounded Heart book thinking, "I really need to pick this one because of its story line.”  Within 30 second, I  checked my Facebook page and Synchronicity struck. There, on the TSA page was a notice that a Webcast from headquarters by Dr. Pilar Jennings would be on October 10th! This certainly was one of the stronger Synchronicity events that I've recently experienced so someone reading this review probably needs this book in a big way! Having these experiences, I realized this was just another Synchronicity event. So, I guess I could say the Universe selected these two books this time! 

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Notable Books 46

Something New

Shadows of the sacred: Seeing Through Spiritual Illusions, Frances Vaughan, Foreword by Ken Wilber, Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, IL, 1995, pp. 313, $14.95.

Notable Books 46 b

I realize this is not really a new book; however, I wanted it to be listed first. This is a Theosophical book that brings together how the transpersonal movement back in the 70s and 80s joined psychology and spirituality and became a force within itself. Also, it is a Theosophical book whose timing for publication was not the greatest because Transpersonal Psychology was being overwhelmed by the Jungian movement. So, it never got the circulation it deserved. In spite of some very big names attached to the promotional of this book, such as Ken Wilber, Larry Dossey, James Fadiman, Stan Grof, and even Ram Dass, it was viewed ‘Transpersonal' and not 'Jungian'. Hence, as good as the book was, I never felt it had not even come close to its 'being read' potential. With many used copies available, it is very worthy of being on your bookshelf. 

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Notable Books 45

Something New

Pauli and Jung: The Meeting of Two Great Minds, David Lindorff, PhD, Quest Books, TPH, Wheaton, IL 2004,  pages 299, $29.95

Notable Books 45 b

I was an undergraduate student when I first learned of Wolfgang Pauli (1900-58). It was in my first quantum mechanics course. By the time I finished my PhD, I knew a lot about the Pauli Exclusion Principle, This is not to be confused with the strange phenomena of the Pauli Effect which provide many amusing stories at various professional meetings (more later on this). He also was the recipient of a Nobel Prize in physics for his prediction of a particle we today call a "neutrino". 

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Notable Books 44

Something New

The Masters Speak: An American Businessman Encounters Ashish and Gurdjieff, Seymour B. Ginsburg, Quest Books, TPH, Wheaton, IL 2010, page 308, $18.95.

Notable Books 44 b

We hear of a book that is sometimes referred to as the "sleeper of the year". If so, this book has to be the "Sleeper of the Decade"!  I knew of Seymour ("Sy") from his published articles in the American Theosophist, and his talks he gave at Olcott (Headquarters of the TSA) in Wheaton, IL. I was so impressed that I drove about 8 years ago over to Olcott late afternoons to attend his series of classes  on Gurdjieff and his relation to the TS which lasted until he retreated to Florida. In my classes with Sy, I was impressed at how he could move between Theosophy and Gurdjieff; illustrating similarities and differences. 

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Notable Books 43

Something New

Swedenborg:  Introduction to His Life and Ideas, Gary Lachman, Tarcher/Penguin, New York, paper back,  page 181, $16.95.

Notable Books 43 2

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