Winner: Not about Zen

August 10th, 2008

The winner of this giveaway is Sulo. Yes, this one is going all the way to Finland! And all under one roof.

A weekend full to the brink with laughter and tears, a season’s slow peak and steady slide, my dear hearts coming and going, and I am in an offering place. This week I have another giveaway for the taking, a copy of Lin Jensen’s new book, Together Under One Roof: Making a Home of the Buddha’s Household.

I don’t read Buddhist books very often. That is to say, I don’t read books about Buddhism. Books about Buddhism may be useful to some, but not for me. The problem is the “about.” When we conceptualize and intellectualize Buddhism, it dies. Buddhism is not about anything. It is the direct and vivid experience of your life, before you kill it by thinking about it.

To that end, I consistently confound people by insisting that Buddhism is a practice and not a philosophy. Most of us would probably prefer it to be a philosophy, something to think long and hard about, but here’s my point: What would you rather eat? A recipe or a meal? Where would you rather live? A home, or a blueprint for a home? If I were really a Buddhist, I would stop insisting anything and then there would be one less confounded person in the world! And so I practice.

This is what Jensen has so wisely done – stop insisting – and thus I was completely taken with this collection of perfect essays, his real mind and heart. Jensen is a teacher of writing and Zen but I can attest he doesn’t teach anyone “about” anything. These short essays, drawn from the ripeness of his life, stitch a seamless and sheltering whole, the one truth that we all share.

When I was sent an advance copy of this book, this is what I said in thanks, “Gently, humorously, humanely, Lin reminds each of us to keep the house we live in, the wide-open room we share as one. Treasure this book as a housewarming gift.” I really meant it.

This week it is my gift. Who will step forward to claim their treasure house? Leave a comment on this post anytime this week and I’ll name the new owner on Saturday, Aug. 16. (Be greedy! I’m only giving you back what is already yours.)

Fare thee well, and welcome home!


  1. i’d love a copy!

    Comment by Sarah — August 10, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

  2. we have a home that could use some warming and words!

    Comment by the Uprising Crew — August 10, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  3. sounds like a good read! i’m in! :)

    Comment by melanie — August 10, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

  4. Oh, I share your attitude about books "about" Buddhism & Zen. Reading about meditation is like reading about sex: why waste your time reading about it when you could be doing it?


    Comment by Lorianne — August 10, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

  5. A book about keeping house. I love it.

    Comment by Mary Ann — August 10, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  6. I find about anything to take away what I mean.

    What is your book about? What is this picture about?

    Or I’m all about this or I’m all about that.

    As soon as I say this is about—-, it becomes about something else.

    Comment by mapelba — August 10, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  7. I would love to read this book. I was raised buddhist, but I stopped practicing, until years later when people would say something was very buddhist, and I had thought it was just me.

    I don’t study buddhism, but I am trying to live it, I found. I wouldn’t mind reading some more wisdom.

    Comment by Rowena — August 10, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  8. my family just moved in together and i’d welcome some house warming experience.

    Comment by china — August 10, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  9. Here I am being greedy. :o)

    Comment by Shalet — August 10, 2008 @ 8:42 pm

  10. Here I am with a greedy but grateful heart…

    Comment by The Other Laura — August 10, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  11. Your comments about this book, make me think of struggling relationships and the overwhelming desire for people to jump ship rather than salvage what they created.

    I would welcome this book into my home. Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Weeza — August 10, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

  12. Sounds wonderful. Count me in!

    Comment by TZT — August 10, 2008 @ 10:46 pm

  13. Pattabhi Jois says yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory–love that saying. I always think the teacher is not the teacher, but the practice is the teacher.

    The book you mention sounds nice though–a householder’s perspective.

    Count me in the drawing–


    Comment by Anonymous — August 10, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  14. I know absolutely nothing about Buddhism or meditation or Zen but am incredibly intregued by your post. I would love a copy.

    Comment by THopgood — August 10, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

  15. Count me in.

    Comment by Renae C — August 11, 2008 @ 12:22 am

  16. Karen, I would love to be in this drawing.


    Comment by Marie — August 11, 2008 @ 12:23 am

  17. please count me in, if australia is not too far to send it. : )
    i’d love to get it, mostly to give to a friend of mine.

    Comment by kazari — August 11, 2008 @ 12:39 am

  18. Well, I recently discovered that reading, for me, is practice. It is one of the very few times I sit still long enough to actually think. So, reading about Buddhism is actually a great way for me to practice. Little reminders.

    That, and if I hadn’t been … I wouldn’t have found your book. Who’s the one who needs to be greedy????

    Glad the sleepover went well. Maybe you got more sleep than we did Friday night. Argh.

    Please enter me. I heart books. Very much. All of them.

    Comment by Shawn — August 11, 2008 @ 12:51 am

  19. you know you can count me in. i’m always good for a giveaway, especially one that lets me just be. besides, as gordon gekko said, greed is good.
    at least in this circumstance.
    thanks, as always, for your generosity.

    Comment by Holly — August 11, 2008 @ 1:28 am

  20. thanks! and for you …

    The empty blue sky of space says ‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I dont care, it still belongs to me’ — The blue sky adds ‘Dont call me eternity, call me God if you like, all of you talkers are in paradise; the leaf is paradise, the tree stump is paradise, the paper bag is paradise, the man is paradise, the sand is paradise, the sea is paradise, the man is paradise, the fog is paradise.’ – Jack Kerouac, quoted in Big Sky Mind

    Comment by kim — August 11, 2008 @ 1:29 am

  21. This post reminds me of one of my favorite lines ever: “Poetry is not about about.”

    Comment by Jena Strong — August 11, 2008 @ 1:35 am

  22. Great giveaway, thanks so much!

    Comment by Mary512 — August 11, 2008 @ 1:54 am

  23. I need constant reminders to be mindful in my chaotic house, full of cluttered rooms and too-busy brains. These essays sound like a fresh brezze would feel, if I could only open the windows in the 100+ heat!


    Comment by bluelikethesky — August 11, 2008 @ 2:49 am

  24. Greetings! I really am captivated by your review/take on this book. From time to time, I like to take in thoughts and feelings of others and their life line. Please enter me in your drawing. This would be unlike anything I have read up to this point in my life. Thanks very much…..

    Comment by windycindy — August 11, 2008 @ 3:03 am

  25. Oh please, me! I’d like some help with my home life — the one inside four walls and the one outside.

    Comment by kathryn — August 11, 2008 @ 4:04 am

  26. I’d love to give this book a try… Pick me! Pick me!


    Comment by Trish — August 11, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  27. I could use the practice.

    Comment by Belinda_SF — August 11, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  28. Greetings from Finland. I love your blog and I would love to have this book:)


    Comment by Sulo — August 11, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  29. Sounds like a lovely book… would love to receive this gift, and then pass it on :)

    Comment by Andrea — August 11, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

  30. We’ve been talking just this week about the “rooms” we inhabit and which ones need a good clear out. It sounds like I need to read this book.

    Comment by Jo — August 11, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  31. I’d love a copy….

    Comment by Lisa — August 11, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

  32. Looks good; count me in!

    Comment by gkstratos — August 11, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  33. count me in too, please.

    Comment by MonsoonAz — August 11, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  34. sounds very intriguing!!!

    Comment by stef — August 11, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

  35. Karen,

    Well, it was your book that brought me to you(in a very round-about way), so why shouldn’t it be you that brings me to another book? I love reading so I will have to look this one up!


    Comment by Debra W — August 11, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

  36. Long time lurker de-lurking for a chance at a lovely book :o)

    Comment by Noreen — August 12, 2008 @ 6:18 am

  37. Pick me. And, always, thank you for the kindness you regularly leave at my blog! You’re always my favorite and my best.

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — August 12, 2008 @ 6:21 am

  38. Count me in, please. Thank you

    Comment by Anonymous — August 12, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  39. I try to live my life the Buddhist way. I would love a copy of the book.

    Comment by Adele — August 12, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  40. I need a gentle, humorous, cleansing breeze through my soul right now. I’d love to read the book and then pass it on to someone else.

    Comment by Holly — August 12, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  41. Karen, I want the book….but you already know that. Also, so you do know I usually read the other comments but not today….as I already know their comments….

    Comment by Ines — August 12, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

  42. I’d love the chance to read this! jeepcutie82 at msn dot com

    Comment by Melissa — August 12, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

  43. Thanks for giving me the chance to read this one. Wishing you a special week.

    Thanks for having the giveaway.

    Comment by Jacqueline in Atlanta — August 12, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  44. I wanted to thank you for your timely comment and the link to my blog. I always enjoy reading yours. I would love to read this book as well. I am practicing, practicing, practicing. I seem to have many teachers currently. Thanks again.-Amy

    Comment by Ms. Ellaneous — August 13, 2008 @ 1:59 am

  45. greedy i shall be.

    Comment by jessamyn — August 13, 2008 @ 3:31 am

  46. This book would be a real keeper for me! Sounds great!

    Comment by Carolsue — August 13, 2008 @ 8:25 am

  47. Would you STOP giving me all these great books to read? I’m wracked with guilt over un-read fabulous books on my bookshelf. Do not! I repeat! Do NOT give me this book.
    Yours lovingly and literally,

    Comment by spielbee — August 14, 2008 @ 12:45 am

  48. Grateful for the offer, whoever wins! x

    Comment by Fiona Robyn — August 14, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  49. Count me in! I may even buy a copy for my library collection…

    Comment by Anna — August 14, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  50. I’ll add my name to the list. Thanks.

    Comment by rebekah — August 15, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  51. I might like it, but I don’t need it. ;^) Pass it along to someone who does!


    Comment by donna — August 15, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

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