cover image The Most Important Point: Zen Teachings

The Most Important Point: Zen Teachings

Edward Espe Brown. Sounds True, $17.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-68364-160-5

Zen priest and chef Brown (The Tassajara Bread Book) presents relatable insights from his Zen study in this affecting collection. Adapted mostly from sermons given over the past several decades, these 50 brief essays cover such topics as living in the moment, struggling with the body during meditation, and coping with strong emotions. Brown readily admits his own failings in parable-like stories, such as frustration over spilling food or his discomfort with the aches of prolonged seated meditation. He also includes a cornucopia of recipes to accompany the teachings, so that, for instance, an encouragement to let go of idealized memories sits alongside a biscuit recipe Brown has spent years struggling to get right—and has finally found peace with the recipe. Poetry (especially quotes from Rumi) provides further context to his key points. He also includes the occasional riff on contemporary events, including a particularly powerful rumination on struggling with anxiety following 9/11. The diversity of topics and brevity of each piece make this a good resource for daily meditations. Practicing Buddhists as well as general readers looking for suggestions for leading a more mindful life will find plenty of inspiration here. (Apr.)