Paperback and eBook editions now available.
‘You have to swallow the whole fish,’ Zen Master Taizan Maezumi told his students, ‘and then spit out the bones.’ First absorb the tradition, endure the hardships of Zen training, then you can spend the rest of your life separating the real treasure from the culture it came in, learning what you can let go of and what is truly yours.
Spitting Out the Bones is Genpo Roshi’s story of his uplifting and exhilarating and humbling journey, including the years rising from the ashes of his very public fall from grace, and a candid exploration of the challenge of bringing the essence of the great tradition he inherited to life in the West.
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** Praise from Advance Readers **
Jack Kornfield, author of Bringing Home the Dharma
“This book offers much hard-earned and valuable wisdom. His love of Zen and his maturity has transformed Zen into a practice of the heart.”
Jack Canfield, coauthor of The Success Principles, and transformational trainer:
“A vivid and inspiring reminder that growth and transformation on a large-scale or global level are inseparable from honest and sometimes painful reckoning of our flaws and failings on a personal level.”
Ken Wilber, author of Integral Spirituality:
“A terrific book! I can’t think of a more important challenge the world faces right now than how to bring the wisdom of the great spiritual traditions into the modern and post-modern world. It’s one of the most urgent and far-reaching things we have to do, and this is a major step in that direction.”
Zen Master Nicolee Jikyo McMahon, Marriage and Family Therapist:
“A very important contribution to the convergence of deep spiritual practice and contemporary Western psychology, and a deeply honest, self-revealing account of a Western Zen teacher’s journey. As both a therapist and a Zen teacher, I highly recommend this book to anyone on the spiritual path, to therapists, and to all those interested in expanding their understanding of themselves and their lives.”
Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within:
“There’s a lot of meat and marrow here, as well as things which might stick in one’s throat. Ruination can be a true friend with benefits, as this candid story reveals. We who are imperfect can certainly sympathize and even identify with Genpo Roshi’s story and inner journey. If you want a deep slice of American Zen life, from a teacher’s point of view, with all its ups and downs, twists and turns — beyond over-idealized images — read this book.”
Martha Ekyo Maezumi:
“Like that lotus rising out of muddy water, the development of a Zen teacher is not an easy task, and as Genpo Roshi’s book shows, the times of descending the mountain can be those of greatest self-discovery. We can be grateful that he has persevered and written this deeply honest and generous account of his journey. I think it conveys the true spirit not only of his journey, but of his teacher’s, my husband Maezumi Roshi, and of the Path we are all traveling in our own ways.”
“This book reads like a series of intimate fireside chats with a Zen teacher who is recounting what he has learned over 45 years of dedicated Zen practice. It skillfully weaves element of that process as well as traditional Zen koans. Unfolding a broad range of topics, including the complexities of the student-teacher, Big Mind and Abhidharma, and the future spiritual evolution of the human species.”
Hal & Sidra Stone, Creators of Voice Dialogue (from the Foreword):
“Absolutely riveting! Genpo Roshi is a master storyteller and a master teacher and this book is alive with his vitality. Its message, and his journey, are both timely and universal. Traditional religions, and their leaders, must now learn to help people go through their own personal transformational processes. Many new paths are opening — many different journeys are becoming possible. Dennis Genpo Roshi has shown us his journey. Those who read this book can use his story to help them find their own paths.”
“Most of what has been written in the West about Zen Buddhism focuses on climbing the path to enlightenment and standing on top of the mountain. However, what distinguishes Mahayana Buddhism from other spiritual traditions is that it stresses losing it all, coming down empty-handed from the peak of enlightenment back to the smelly swamps of everyday human life, as a crucial part of the spiritual process. This inspiring personal account of ascending and descending the mountain is one of the best books I have ever read about the struggle to become what Mahayana Buddhism calls a bodhisattva, a true human being.”