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Making Zen Your Own

Book Launch

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
5:00 PM–8:00 PM

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Himalayan Happy Hour, book signing, and free admission to the galleries for those who purchase a book
7:15 p.m. Reading with author of Making Zen Your Own, Sensei Janet Jiryu Abels and poetry reading with Sensei Gregory Hosho Abels from his book, Never Something Else – Poems from the Eye of Zen. Q&A and book signing to follow. Books available at the Shop@RMA (Members receive 10% discount). The authors are co-resident Zen teachers at Still Mind Zendo in Manhattan.

About the Books

Making Zen Your Own: Giving Life to Twelve Key Golden Age Ancestors traces the life stories of twelve key Chinese Zen masters who shaped what was to become Zen’s golden age. Author, Sensei Janet Jiryu Abels stresses the humanity of these Zen ancestors, showing that they were not formed from a generic mold but were individuals with quirks, senses of humor, and unique ways of expressing the powerful humanity of Zen. Lively, accessible storytelling sheds light on their paradoxical teachings with clarity and simplicity while showing that the masters faced some of the same challenges spiritual seekers face today.
Never Something Else: Poems from the Eye of Zen, by Sensei Gregory Hosho Abels, features poetry sparked by practice and inspired by the natural world. The poems in this collection encourage readers to be at ease with what is before their eyes. To let go of notions such as large, small, human, non-human. To be satisfied that reality is never something else.

About the Authors

Sensei Janet Jiryu Abels, founder of Still Mind Zendo, has been a teacher in the Soto-Rinzai lineage of Taizan Maezumi Roshi and the White Plum Asanga since 2000, when she became a dharma successor of her teacher, Roshi Robert Jinsen Kennedy. Previously, she was in private practice as a spiritual director for over 12 years and, before that, worked as a community organizer and peace activist. She is also a certified Bio-Spiritual Focusing teacher and is the author of Making Zen Your Own: Giving Life to Twelve Key Golden Age Ancestors, published by Wisdom Publications.
Sensei Gregory Hōshō Abels is a Zen Teacher in the Soto White Plum Lineage of Taizan Maizumi Roshi, a Dharma Heir of Roshi Robert Jinsen Kennedy and Co-resident Teacher of Still Mind Zendo in Manhattan with his wife, Sensei Janet Jiryu Abels. He has studied poetry with Jean Valentine, J.D. McClatchy, Stuart Friebert and Debra Weinstein. For 50 years, he has enjoyed a career as an actor, stage director and master teacher of acting. His dharma name, Hōshō, loosely translated means, ‘Voice of the Dharma’. He lives in Greenwich Village and Seven Meadows Farm in the Hudson Valley, where the photographs in his book, Never Something Else – Poems from the Eye of Zen, were taken and where many of these poems were written.
“Janet Abels has given us a strong presentation in spirited prose of the lives of the founding teachers of Zen Buddhism during China’s Tang Dynasty. She clearly presents the personalities of these teachers, their place in history, and the individual’s contribution to Zen practice.” – Father Robert Kennedy, Roshi “Abels writes about the Zen Ancestors with clarity and a depth of knowledge that comes from long practice and study. Her rich and succinct descriptions of the lives of the Zen ancestors will help many find their own way into the Zen path.” – Andy Ferguson, author of Zen’s Chinese Heritage
“Janet Abels walks hand-in-hand with the ancient Chinese Zen Ancestors. She brings alive their struggles and triumphs on the road to awakening. Through Abels’ excellent narratives and her own deep understanding, she has revealed the profound teachings of these great masters for present-day students of the Way.” -Gerry Shishin Wick, author of The Book of Equanimity
“Reading the poems, one concentrates on the reality of the moment and is freed from imagining a past or future time. The verses celebrate the mystery of the passing moment, which, like rain falling drop by drop, will be repeated ‘never never never.'” -Roshi Robert Jinsen Kennedy, S.J. (Zen Master, Professor of Theology, Psychologist, Author)
“To turn each page is to open a small jewel box. The collection should create gentle ripples.” – Laurence

About Himalayan Happy Hour

Unwind every Wednesday evening from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Enjoy 10% off selected specialty teas, wine, beer, cocktails, and snacks in the Café @ RMA; see exceptional examples of Himalayan artistry and craftsmanship at the Shop. Hear local musicians as they fill the room with sounds from across the globe, or attend a concert, book launch, or talk in the theater.