While religious books can be overbearing with their lessons, in this case the author put all the overbearing-ness on the parents of Taneesha, and I kiWhile religious books can be overbearing with their lessons, in this case the author put all the overbearing-ness on the parents of Taneesha, and I kind of wonder if the portrayal of the lesson Taneesha ends up learning was a little too subtle. I would have liked to see more about how she understood the Bodhisattva Never Disparaging that she finally connected with....more
I feel like I should like this book more because the author is a local and loved Zen teacher. I think the method of mindful eating is well-presented aI feel like I should like this book more because the author is a local and loved Zen teacher. I think the method of mindful eating is well-presented and a useful tool, but enlightened though she may be, Chozen Bays reveals her lack of need to confront fat karma.
In his foreword to the book, Jon Kabat-Zinn refers to "our disordered relationship to food and eating." I thought, wow, that's just what I've been saying. I think we have a societal eating disorder, and it just seems to be getting worse. Mindfulness practice applied to eating is very useful to get us back in touch with our bodies' true needs. It helps peel back and erase those disordered relationships.
Unfortunately, in my view Chozen Bays still buys into some of those disordered relationships. I found it slightly problematic that rather than enjoy her discovery of the tastiness of Krispy Kreme donuts, she treated it as a cancerous thought of sorts. On first encounter, she, as she viewed it, mindlessly gorged on them, then obsessed over them while she denied herself further indulgences. Her account of making a particular candy difficult to retrieve also seemed to participate in the control found in restrictive eating and diet culture. When she claimed a healthy respect for those of us who are fat because her partner made a joke about her size, and her clothes got a little tighter, it didn't sit well with me. This was participating in the disordered eating culture, not understanding it. She hasn't needed to experience a life in a fat body, and while I know her to be a compassionate Buddhist teacher, I would doubt she truly understands this karma.
Most problematic to me was her casual mention of a Mindful Eating workshop participant. This participant was taking the workshop in order to prepare herself for her necessarily changed eating style after her bariatric surgery. Like many physicians, Chozen Bays accepts the validity of this surgery, and gives no further comment. She, it seems to me, mindlessly accepts the cultural paradigm that fat is bad, so bad that it is ok to endorse a surgery that hinders the body's ability to function normally for the rest of a person's life. This is if it doesn't actually kill you.
While there are some messages in this book I would not want to endorse, especially the controlling aspect, I do like the detailed instruction on how to eat mindfully. For people who've been immersed in the diet culture that forces us to ignore our own signals of our bodies, this method brings you back to that body, mind, emotional, and spiritual awareness.
I used this book in Dharma School to demonstrate Sila Paramita, or ethics. It's a true story of a monk who lives with a cat and a mouse during the VieI used this book in Dharma School to demonstrate Sila Paramita, or ethics. It's a true story of a monk who lives with a cat and a mouse during the Vietnam war. He truly embodies an ethical life.
I also used this book to exemplify Manjusri Bodhisattva....more
A youth librarian shared this book with me when it came out...she thought it would interest me.
A dog is reborn many times, and each time learns a littA youth librarian shared this book with me when it came out...she thought it would interest me.
A dog is reborn many times, and each time learns a little about love and loving actions, and each time he's reborn into better circumstances to learn.
This would be a great book to use for a preschool Dharma School throughout a year, perhaps one of the dog's lives per lesson. I would focus on the aspects of his life that helped the dog become more loving.
I could also see using it as examples for grade school kids. The lives of the dog correspond with aspects of the Six Realms....more
This could be used for an example of a bodhisattva who is dedicated to keeping a vow. Focused purpose, single-minded purpose even in the face of distrThis could be used for an example of a bodhisattva who is dedicated to keeping a vow. Focused purpose, single-minded purpose even in the face of distractions, and finding the whole universe in that purpose.
The sweeper considers other paths in life, but he always remembers that a sweeper is needed for the monastery garden, and he keeps choosing that. His dedication and care are overlooked until he is no longer able to take care of the garden as he did....more