In How to Read the Bible Harvey Cox explains the history of the books that were eventually collected into The Bible. Cox also explains the history ofIn How to Read the Bible Harvey Cox explains the history of the books that were eventually collected into The Bible. Cox also explains the history of the interpretation of The Bible. Cox's mission is ambitious, as the message of How to Read the Bible will not sit well with many people.
Personally, How to Read the Bible is a very liberating book. In the media, most biblical discussions fit into one of two templates, one believing that every word of The Bible is the inerrant word of God, and those who believe that the whole book is superstition and bad history. Conflict, after all, helps ratings.
I have never held either of these views, and I am certain that I am not alone. Cox presents an argument that neither side is exactly correct. For example, in the chapter on Genesis, Cox makes the argument that the biblical accounts of creation are not really asking a question of how the world came to be. Instead, the authors of Genesis are having a dialog on how evil can exist in a universe created by a perfectly benevolent Being.
How to Read the Bible is not written to change the minds people. However, for people who are genuinely seeking to reconcile the spiritual message of The Bible with a modern viewpoint, How to Read the Bible is a valuable introduction to the larger world of biblical research....more
The Art of Happiness at Work comes from a series of conversations between the author and the Dalai Lama. I am aware that the Dalai Lama shares creditThe Art of Happiness at Work comes from a series of conversations between the author and the Dalai Lama. I am aware that the Dalai Lama shares credit for the book, but the format of the book makes it clear that the Dalai Lama did not do much writing of the book. However, I don't blame the Howard Cutler or the Dalai Lama for this misrepresentation.
I found that the format of the book worked well for its intent. Cutler includes his own dialog with the Dalai Lama's which gives the book an intimate feel. The Dalai Lama is not a wise, unapproachable sage at the top of a mountain. He is a person with the same feeling and needs as us. That makes is wisdom easier to accept.
The format also serves to show the contrast between the Dalai Lama's point of view and our own. Cutler is acting as a surrogate for the reader. This is most apparent when Cutler is asking the Dalai Lama about productive work. They take some time to decide on what "productive" means. Cutler defines "productive" to mean making things. The Dalai Lama defines it to be helping others.
If you are looking for some deep, mystical path to being happy at work, this is not the book for you. The message of the book can be boiled down to "help other people at work and you will be happy" and "change comes from within." The rest of the book is about answering the "Yeah, but..." that we want to throw into the message. Perhaps the person looking for the mystical path will realize that such a path is not needed.
The only concrete instructions in the book are on meditation. Meditation comes up in the course of the conversations, and is never emphasized as an activity in which the reader should engage....more
This book was not what I was expecting. I was hoping to find a book that was a "how-to" book on Zen Buddhism. Of course, from this book I learned thatThis book was not what I was expecting. I was hoping to find a book that was a "how-to" book on Zen Buddhism. Of course, from this book I learned that there isn't really a "how-to" of Zen anyway. One simply learns to stop looking and experiences Zen.
From this book I did learn informally about the underpinning of Zen and how it relates to our culture. The book comprises several essays about Zen, and would serve as a commentary to those who are already familiar with Zen practice.
I was into the book until the last essay on the use of LSD and Zen. I was not surprised that LSD experimentation was covered, as it was written in the early 1960's. I was hoping that Watts would come out against LSD use as an artificial means to enlightenment. However, he actually suggests that the use of LSD might have some benefits. Just say "No", kids.
I've read parts of Watts's, The Way of Zen. I will have to finish it to get what I was looking for....more