Three Gates to Meditation Practice: A Personal Journey Into Sufism, Buddhism, and Judaism

David A. Cooper, Author
David A. Cooper, Author Skylight Paths Publishing $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-893361-22-5
Reviewed on: 09/11/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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Cooper, the Jewish convert who wrote the bestselling book God Is a Verb, reflects upon more than 20 years of his spiritual journey in this engaging but flawed exploration of interfaith meditation practice. One might expect Cooper to exhibit a convert's zeal and exclusivism by highlighting the shortcomings of Sufism and Buddhism, the other two traditions studied here. Instead, he does a beautiful job of explaining how they dovetail together and complement each other in spiritual practice. Seeing himself as a postdenominational Jew, Cooper has been ordained a rabbi, developing and leading a cohesive Jewish meditation practice that draws upon teachings from other traditions. Cooper's book explores his eclectic spiritual journey in a plausible and respectfully ecumenical fashion, but it is overly self-absorbed. For instance, when on a 40-day retreat in a Sufi community, he is interrupted by a man who rages at him for having an affair with the man's wife. An unapologetic CooperDwho had in fact once conducted the affair as accusedDmoans only about his retreat being wrecked. Readers may tire of Cooper's endless wanderings from one retreat or teacher to another, often spending years in places such as Israel to fulfill his spiritual needs. Such freewheeling lack of responsibility concerning jobs or family makes this book a bit hard for the hoi polloi to relate to. (Dec.)
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