Zen seeds

Zen Seeds: Reflections of a Female Priest

The wisdom found on these pages is deceptively simple yet infinitely useful. Aoyama cuts though to the essence of each topic she discusses. Her immense sense of calm and tranquility is transferable to the reader due to her eloquent writing style and choice of accentuating quotes. If enlightenment could be bottled, this book would be that bottle.

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This collection of short teaching essays on Zen contains many essays that are thought-provoking. There is a gentle warmth in her teachings that comes across consistently.

Having stated that, I found many of the essays to be difficult to absorb. In part, I think this is a reflection of cultural distance. Aoyama writes from a perspective of a life trained from early youth on as a cloistered Zen nun, which positions her outside of ‘normal’ culture – she writes of things like dependencies on money, b This collection of short teaching essays on Zen contains many essays that are thought-provoking. There is a gentle warmth in her teachings that comes across consistently.

Having stated that, I found many of the essays to be difficult to absorb. In part, I think this is a reflection of cultural distance. Aoyama writes from a perspective of a life trained from early youth on as a cloistered Zen nun, which positions her outside of ‘normal’ culture – she writes of things like dependencies on money, but it is not clear whether this has any personal import to her. Her stories are suffused with elements that feel quite foreign in their orientation. Her teachings present her life as a life of preordained (no pun intended) service in the context of devotional ancestral duty. This is difficult to relate to. . more

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This was a nice little thing. A very accessible book; one that you can pick up during the day and just read for a couple of minutes in-between things. It is composed of a singular stream of short thoughts, generally only a couple of small pages of length each. The content pulls on an amalgam of zen tales, buddhist canon, and profound poetry, each of which is suffused into Aoyama’s kindly storytelling. There is certainly a humbleness to Aoyama’s hand. The book is completely free of jargon, which This was a nice little thing. A very accessible book; one that you can pick up during the day and just read for a couple of minutes in-between things. It is composed of a singular stream of short thoughts, generally only a couple of small pages of length each. The content pulls on an amalgam of zen tales, buddhist canon, and profound poetry, each of which is suffused into Aoyama’s kindly storytelling. There is certainly a humbleness to Aoyama’s hand. The book is completely free of jargon, which nonetheless a small part of me slightly craved by the end. As for the ‘reflections of a female priest’, the material was generally disinterested in questions of gender – the subtitle bearing relevance only for a few of the pages spoken on the topic of motherhood, perhaps; my guess is that the subtitle was a book editor/publisher’s decision more than anything. All-in-all an enjoyable, light read. . more

I received a free electronic copy of this work from Netgalley, Shundo Aoyama, and Shambhala Publications, Inc. – Shambhala. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this collection of essays of my own volition, and this is my honest opinion of this work.

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The subtitle of this excellent work is Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness. Shundo Aoyama Roshi wrote this work during her early life as an acolyte in a Zen temple in mid-twentieth-century Japan. I received a free electronic copy of this work from Netgalley, Shundo Aoyama, and Shambhala Publications, Inc. – Shambhala. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this collection of essays of my own volition, and this is my honest opinion of this work.

The subtitle of this excellent work is Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness. Shundo Aoyama Roshi wrote this work during her early life as an acolyte in a Zen temple in mid-twentieth-century Japan. She has a lot to share, and her words are simple and full of mind pictures that make it easier to pause and focus. I enjoyed very much traveling down these paths with her. It is very difficult, in this modern age, to take the time to amble down mental highways, but Shundo can help us do just that. I hope that I will continue to make time to enjoy life in this way.
This is a book I am happy to refer to friends and family. Even if only a little of her method remains with us, it is adding peace and beauty to our daily grind.

original pub date March 15, 1991
Kosei Publishing Co.
re-pub date Aug 6, 2019
Shambhala Publications, Inc. – Shambhala
Reviewed on August 14, 2019, at Goodreads, Netgalley, SmileAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookbub, Kobo, and Google Play. . more

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Zen Seeds: 60 Essential buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness

In this sparkling collection of teachings, Japanese Zen master Shundo Aoyama Roshi offers an entry to the authentic practice of Zen Buddhism. Or, rather, she offers a myriad of entries—for Zen Seeds, as its title suggests, is comprised of brief chapters meant to plant seeds of wisdom and compassion in readers. Ranging from classical Zen sources, such as the teachings of Dogen and the encounter stories of the koans, to anecdotes from Aoyama’s fascinating life and from those of her many students, the book paints a profoundly compelling portrait of the transformative possibilities of Zen. A pioneering female leader in the Soto Zen school, Aoyama Roshi demonstrates the power of practice for anyone seeking to lead a life of greater conviction and spiritual nourishment.

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