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Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence

Approaching the Dharma as Poetry

Paul Weiss


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A rich and original collection of Dharma teachings, Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence weaves the poetic and the expository in a series of Zen poems and commentaries that invite both direct experience and meditative study. Paul Weiss evokes the awake, pristine, and poetic nature of our human experience while also examining the mechanisms of ego that define our personal and cultural experience of separation and suffering. Here you will find simple, ecstatic celebrations of luminous and transparent reality; clarification of technical points of practice; support for everyday life; and reflections on issues of history, culture, and human ecology. All become threads in a jeweled net of integrative spiritual thought and practice that will inform and encourage any reader's practice, contemplation and personal growth. Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence points beyond our literal fixations with language, ideas, and doctrines to the great ungraspable poetic reality that is expressed in all our spirituality and in all our human experience.

Praise For Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence: Approaching the Dharma as Poetry

“Paul Weiss fearlessly transmits virtue through sharing with us everything from the prajnaparamita of the New York subway system to the spiritual authority of the wild earth, to loving instructions on how to stay awake in the face of the harsh realities of the world today. With the perspective and inclusiveness that come from a lifetime of practice and realization, he helps us make sense of the world we live in, affirm our deepest nature and capacity as human beings, and bring alive the possibilities for our own engaged practice. Drink deeply.”
—Sarah M. Vekasi, MDiv, founder of the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative
“Paul Weiss is a Dharma teacher with lots of heart wisdom. I have known Paul for many years, and it is truly exciting to see that he has written this book to capture his deep understanding of the spiritual path. This is a beautiful gift for all of us, and reading it can help to open our hearts.” 
—Anam Thubten Rinpoche, founder and spiritual advisor to the Dharmata Foundation and author of No Self, No Problem and The Magic of Awareness

North Atlantic Books, 9781583949450, 288pp.

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

About the Author

Paul Weiss lives, teaches, and wanders in the woods on the coast of Maine. He began his zen and tai chi training in New York in the mid-60s and practiced in New York and San Francisco before first coming to Maine in 1969 to live and study with Walter Nowick, one of the first American zen masters. Over the years Weiss has drunk deeply of several spiritual traditions and teachers and has studied at length in India and China. He founded The Whole Health Center with his wife, Alexandra, in Bar Harbor, Maine, in 1981, where he has brought together the fruits of his broad training. Today he continues to counsel with individuals, couples, and small groups, offers many retreats—including his True Heart/True Mind Intensives—and teaches a spirituality of integrative human development and conscious loving presence. A volume of poems, You Hold This, was published in 2013.