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Cover for The Truth of This Life

The Truth of This Life

Zen Teachings on Loving the World as It Is

Katherine Thanas, Natalie Goldberg (Editor), Bill Anelli (Editor), Norman Fischer (Foreword by), Wendy Johnson (Foreword by)

Paperback

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Description

Accessible and elegant teachings from a well-loved and revered woman Zen teacher.

“The truth and joy of this life is that we cannot change things as they are.” The import of those words can be found beautifully expressed in the work of the woman who spoke them, Katherine Thanas (1927–2012)—in her art, in her writing, and especially in her Zen teaching. Fearlessly direct and endlessly curious, Katherine’s understanding of Zen was inseparable from her affinity for the arts. She was an MFA student studying painting with Richard Diebenkorn, the preeminent Californian abstract painter, when she met Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, in the sixties. Soon thereafter she decided to drop painting to dedicate herself to Zen, which she did for the last forty years of her life. In these essential teachings taken from her dharma talks—which make up her only book—her love of art and literature shine through in her elegant prose and her vast references, from poets William Stafford and Naomi Shihab Nye to the Zen teachings of Dogen and Robert Aitken. Ranging on subjects from the practice of zazen to the meaning of life, Katherine urges us to “develop an insatiable appetite for inner awareness, to become proficient with this mind.” This slim volume is an important contribution by a well-loved and revered teacher.


Praise For The Truth of This Life: Zen Teachings on Loving the World as It Is

“Katherine Thanas stands firm and tall amid this generation of early American Zen pioneers.”—Norman Fischer, author of What is Zen?: Plain Talk for a Beginner’s Mind

“The book demonstrates Katherine Thanas Roshi’s ability to tie together personal narratives, Zen teachings, art, and literature: her essays include the words of poets Naomi Shihab Nye, William Stafford, and Rumi alongside those of historical Zen masters such as Dogen and contemporary teachers such as Katagiri Roshi. Using these writings and examples drawn from her own life, she makes even abstruse Zen concepts clear.”—Tricycle: The Buddhist Review 

Shambhala, 9781611804683, 160pp.

Publication Date: January 23, 2018



About the Author

Katherine Thanas was a renowned dharma teacher who was the founding teacher for the Monterey Bay Zen Center and abbot of the Santa Cruz Zen Center. Katherine was introduced to Zen by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1967, and she trained with him at Sokoji, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, and Green Gulch Farm. She received lay ordination from Suzuki Roshi, was ordained as a priest by Zentatsu Baker Roshi in 1975, and received shiho (dharma transmission) from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1988. She died in 2012 at the age of 85.