Some books feel like a warm hug; some are sandpaper on a hot day.

 

By Ty Phillips

As an avid reader, both of Buddhist texts and popular science books, things can tend to blur together.

My personal library is tipping over 1000 books, and a third of these are on Buddhist teaching and history. It is a rare case when a book jumps out at me and holds me for almost a solid single reading.

Zen in the Age of Anxiety, by Tim Burkett, happens to be one that did.

I am not ashamed to admit I find a lot of Zen books to be dry, like chewing cardboard. I understand Zen is very much the art of pure simplicity. Sit and just sit. Yet for personal taste, the reading outside of a chosen few texts like Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind are well, dull.

Burkett’s book however, although very simple, is vibrant in the way that cherry blossoms offer breathtaking beauty by just being cherry blossoms. The book is straightforward yet joyous. It is a celebration of the pure awareness of life and living in the present moment with the present action.

His history of teaching, and lifelong practice, offered a beautiful array of stories and relatable prose. Even in his 70’s, the text read fresh and open. There was a sense of joyous liberation to it that felt very much like his teacher’s explanation of keeping a beginner’s mind.

Some books feel like a warm hug; some are sandpaper on a hot day.

Zen in the Age of Anxiety feels like a rapturous smile with an old friend. There was no sense of demanding, listen-to-me austerity. His book will sit on the top shelf among the few favorites I reference often. It was a pleasure to read and is a text I cannot recommend enough.

It set itself apart from other modern favorites in one way that I appreciated: it touched on the art of living, without the need for shock and vulgarity. Sex, cooking, study, laughter, it was all there and it was all without airs and click-bait mentality. A true gem.

 

Some books feel like a warm hug; some are sandpaper on a hot day. ~ Ty H. Phillips Click To Tweet

 

Photo: (source)

Editor: Alicia Wozniak

 

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