Noted non-fiction author Nora D’Ecclesis addresses the mystical yet pragmatic practices of Zen Buddhism from a wide array of historical perspectives in her newest book, Zen Rohatsu.
The author’s opening chapter describes her personal experience of Rohatsu, a ritual of meditative zazen named for the timing of the ceremony which in modern times has evolved to fall on December 8th each year. “Rohatsu begins with the sound of an ancient gong” and is meant to duplicate the steps of the enlightenment of the Buddha. It includes classic seated meditation and much walking in circular paths indoors and out, all accomplished in total silence, giving each participant scope to experience mindfulness.
Zen is one aspect of Buddhism that has gradually developed over the centuries since the birth, life and passing of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. Siddhartha was the son of a Nepalese, Hindu king, heir to all the luxuries that station implies. But after he achieved manhood, he began to wish to see what lay beyond the walls of his father’s castle. Once he did so he saw things he had never before confronted – sickness, old age, and death. This led him on a path of asceticism and eventually to being revered as a spiritual teacher of the Eightfold Path, which D’Ecclesis presents along with other concepts for her readers. The art of Zen developed through the fabled teachings of Boddidharma, the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism, and through the conversion of Ashoka, a famed King of India. Jesuits and other mystic thinkers brought Zen to the Western world, along with the arts of the Japanese tea ceremony, the poetry known as haiku, and the modern concept of mindfulness.
D’Ecclesis concludes her enlivening look at Zen with detailed advice for meditation encompassing postures, breathing techniques and mala beads, offered for readers who want to inculcate this ritual into their lives as she has done. She was fortunate to have direct exposure to Zen in her college years, and has written best-selling, award-winning books embracing similar subject matter, including Multicultural Mindfulness: Nourishing the Soul and Haiku: Natures Meditation. This current work is diligently researched, combining historical reference with tender, personal touches to provide outreach to those new to the subject matter.
Quill says: In Zen Rohatsu, D’Ecclesis has created a straightforward guide to the concepts of Zen with the potential to attract fresh attention to this time-honored, proven means of mental and spiritual self-examination.
These are stressful times. There is always life drama, politics and deadlines, we are bombarded by mass media, slick marketing and peer pressure twenty-four hours a day. What is real? Who are we? Who am I? How do we function under the stress of our times? Nora’s book Multicultural Mindfulness makes us understand that what we need is within us – if only we chose to look. This book is a beacon in a dark night, a guide to the eye of the storm where calm and answers prevail. This is not a ‘how to’ book – but it is full of answers.
Guided imagery moves us through basic concepts and bridges any perceived gap of geography, culture and beliefs. We become one with nature, the universe, and our place on this beautiful planet. The wisdom that has survived the test of time, distance, and people, we are just tapping into what exists in each of us, without expectation, we can breath a sigh of relief and steep in the calm and serenity of our existence.
Multicultural Mindfulness has but one message – “What you are seeking is within you, it is within each of us, this is how it is done. Timeless wisdom as seen through the lense of life, through the eyes of many people, many cultures and many ages. We learn through short vignettes that peace is within reach and can be accessed at all times and in all places whenever we choose”.
This is a book to enjoy…
This is a book to savor…
A meditative guide that transforms us through simple message – look inside for the key to your peace and contentment.
This book occupies a place on my bedside table right next to my bible and my daily book of meditations. This is a book that opens the doors to endless possibilities as only a good book can do. Common to us all, the peace within can be tapped on command. Nora shows us how it can be done through the eyes of the do-ers.
My #1 summer book reading recommendation: Spiritual Portals A Historical Perspective
This treasure trove of insights explains in a well researched manner the various means of Spiritual growth. I especially love Nora’s explanation on the fallacy of multitasking. In the rat race, we feel compelled by society that being busy means we are progressing forward. As evidenced by neuroscience research, the antidote to distractions and loss of focus is single-tasking.
The efficiency of single-tasking is both a time and energy saver. Everyone can benefit from the wisdom and daily applications that this book provides. We are either spiritually growing, remaining stagnant, or slowly dying. This book will rejuvenate you and enrich your understanding of the various spiritual paths whether it be Yoga, prayer, meditation, or the Japanese tea ceremony. Spiritual Portals is now available on Amazon. Please share this valuable information with others who can benefit. -Dr. George Bonner