Saturday, January 15, 2011

Final comments on Endless Path

So I've finished up Rafe Martin's Endless Path: Awakening Within the Buddhist Imagination: Jataka Tales, Zen Practice, and Daily Life

As I've written before, I'm into the Jungian imaginary part of the spiritual life, and I found this a great addition to the stories of Buddhism. I think my favorite Jalaka tale that Martin told was "Gentle Heart", but I also liked "Five Weapons". I liked them all really, though some seem more experience far, the ones where you sacrafice your body (The Tigress and The Monkey King).

Rafe Martin quotes from the Talking Heads and other pop culture, and seems to be extremely well grounded in the Zen literature (as might be expected because that's his tradition). I got a good list of Zen books to read while reading this book, seems I have some more reading to do.

The illustrations are interesting and evocative, and it seems Richard Wehrman is a good friend of Martin's.

I'd say you could maybe read some of these stories to children (maybe not my favorite Gentle Heart, but others). Supposedly Rafe Martin is a storyteller and you can hire him to come tell a story.

The commentaries are interesting and organized around the 10 Paramitas. You can join me on retreat up at Aryaloka (or down if you're in Maine) in Newmarket New Hampshire.

He introduces the Jatakas and in the concluding chapter gives his own personal pithy understanding of the Bodhisattva vows, 4 noble truths, 8 fold path and the 10 paramitas.

So with regret I finished this lovely book, and highly recommend it to you if you're interested in some good story telling, some Dharma discussion from a Zen perspective and some good writing.

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