Bassui, Huang Po and Foyan: A fearsome Zen threesome

Bassui, Huang Po and Foyan are three ancient Zen masters worthy of your acquaintance.

ancient zen mastersBassui (1327-1387) is a Japanese Zen Master I first encountered in Philip Kapleau’s Three Pillars of Zen. While Kapleau’s book was meant to feature his teacher, Yasutani-roshi, Bassui stands out as truly “a man come back from the dead.” The advice he returns to again and again in his teaching is shown in the following quote: Continue reading “Bassui, Huang Po and Foyan: A fearsome Zen threesome”

John Wren-Lewis: The skeptic’s mystic

John Wren-Lewis lent a fresh perspective to contemporary spirituality john wren-lewisbecause, for many years, he viewed mysticism as escapism. Mystical beliefs were no better than religious or scientific beliefs — to believe was not the same as to know. When, in 1983, Wren-Lewis had a profound mystical experience, he was free to describe it in his own words and not in the terms of any spiritual tradition. Continue reading “John Wren-Lewis: The skeptic’s mystic”

Paul Brunton: A good friend along the way

Paul Brunton died in 1981, so I never met the man, but there was a period Paul Bruntonof time in which I read a number of his books, and found them inspiring. Like the works of Ouspensky, however, I did not continue to find what I needed. I recommend reading a book or two, but don’t expect a complete philosophy. Look at Paul Brunton as a fellow researcher sharing his experiences. He had tremendous knowledge gained from years of travelling the globe and meeting spiritual teachers, yet he never found a final answer. Continue reading “Paul Brunton: A good friend along the way”

Vernon Howard: The practical mystic

This is my second attempt at a review of Vernon Howard. I read his Mystic Path to Cosmic Power (despite the comic book-like title) several times over vernon howardthe past few years. I found it inspiring, but lacking in practical advice. His New Life Foundation recommended I read Solved — The Mystery of Life and listen to the Field of Diamonds lecture. Once again, although at times inspiring, he left me wondering what to do to realize the Truth he made so obviously desirable. I wondered if there was a secret teaching not explained in the books and tapes, but a helpful fellow at the Foundation said there was no hidden teaching. Continue reading “Vernon Howard: The practical mystic”

P.D. Ouspensky: We are machines

I still remember the excitement of reading P.D. Ouspensky’s Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution for the first time. It was my first spiritual book and every page was packed with insights into my psychology. Our studies must ouspenskybegin with our selves and not with the heavens. Ouspensky drove home the idea that in our present state we are machines, that we are a conglomeration of voices rather than a unified whole, that we react rather than do, and that we must observe our machines in order to change. Continue reading “P.D. Ouspensky: We are machines”