In 1993, Zen teacher Joan Halifax published a book called The Fruitful Darkness based on her anthropological engagements with Tibetan Buddhists, Mexican shamans, Native American elders and other tribal communities.
"While I often found the emergence from the dark of the tunnel shocking, as my eyes would adjust and I would look forward and skyward, I always found this image to be comforting, reassuring."
A collection of ancient Sanskrit Vedic hymns dating back more than three thousand years, the Rig Veda represents a very early stage in the development of the Vedic tradition. This passage narrates the origin of life from a state of 'not-being nor being' when desire, 'the mind's first seed' rose up and the bond of… Continue reading In the beginning there was darkness concealed in darkness
Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's 1933 essay In Praise of Shadows is a tribute to a tenebrous, subtle Japanese aesthetic that the novelist upheld in opposition to the bright and shiny principles of design that he saw as the hallmark of the west. His dissertation is launched in the humble toilet, hailing the bathrooms of the temples and… Continue reading Elegance and Spiritual Repose in the Darkness of a Japanese Latrine
The Tao Te Ching - whose name translates as something like The Book of the Way - was written in China at about the same time as Buddha was teaching in India. The tenets of Taoism were deeply ingrained in Chinese life by the time Buddhism spread there centuries later, and when the two world… Continue reading In the Beginning was the Tao