Recent books by MZMC's teaching staff

Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara
by Ben Connelly
Foreword by Norman Fischer
Wisdom Publications, 248 pages, ISBN: 9781614292845, December 2016
Read a review in Publishers Weekly.
Read Ben's article on the book in the MZMC Fall Newsletter 2016.

A practical guide to Vasubandhu's classic work "Thirty Verses of Consciousness Only" that can transform modern life and change how you see the world.

In this down-to-earth book, Ben Connelly sure-handedly guides us through the intricacies of Yogacara and the richness of the "Thirty Verses." Dedicating a chapter of the book to each line of the poem, he lets us thoroughly lose ourselves in its depths. His warm and wise voice unpacks and contextualizes its wisdom, showing us how we can apply its ancient insights to our own modern lives, to create a life of engaged peace, harmony, compassion, and joy.

In fourth-century India one of the great geniuses of Buddhism, Vasubandhu, sought to reconcile the diverse ideas and forms of Buddhism practiced at the time and demonstrate how they could be effectively integrated into a single system. This was the Yogacara movement, and it continues to have great influence in modern Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. "Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only," or "Trimshika," is the most concise, comprehensive, and accessible work by this revered figure.

Vasubandhu's "Thirty Verses" lay out a path of practice that integrates the most powerful of Buddhism's psychological and mystical possibilities: Early Buddhism's practices for shedding afflictive emotional habit and the Mahayana emphasis on shedding divisive concepts, the path of individual liberation and the path of freeing all beings, the path to nirvana and the path of enlightenment as the very ground of being right now. Although Yogacara has a reputation for being extremely complex, the "Thirty Verses" distills the principles of these traditions to their most practical forms, and this book follows that sense of focus; it goes to the heart of the matter — how do we alleviate suffering through shedding our emotional knots and our sense of alienation?

This is a great introduction to a philosophy, a master, and a work whose influence reverberates throughout modern Buddhism.

Table 13: A Story of Teen Survival and Transformation
by Miles Harrison and Ted O'Toole
published by Willow Island Press in May 2015

This book, which grew out of a mentorship that began when Miles was 14, tells in a raw and vivid way the story of Miles' struggles with drugs, violence, and thoughts of suicide. It also relates the healing effects of a remarkable youth center, and of Ted's supportive presence, informed by his practice of Zen Buddhism. This reading will be of interest to zen practitioners, teens, and anyone who has spent time with a teen in difficulty.
More information.

Nothing Holy About It: The Zen of Being Just Who You Are
by Guiding Teacher Tim Burkett
published by Shambhala Publications in April 2015

Tim's toured the Bay Area in September 2016.
More information on the tour and the book.
Listen to a talk on the book at San Francisco Zen Center.
Order the book.

Inside the Grass Hut: Living Shitou's Classic Zen Poem
by Ben Connelly
published by Wisdom Publications in July 2014

Click on the link below to listen to host Jack Rice (950 AM) talking with Ben about his book.
Listen to Ben talk about the book.

Enter the mind and practice of Zen: apply the insights of one of Zen's classic poems to your life — here and now.
Shitou Xiqian's Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage is a remarkably accessible work of profound depth; in thirty-two lines Shitou expresses the breadth of the entire Buddhist tradition with simple, vivid imagery. Ben Connelly's Inside the Grass Hut unpacks the timeless poem and applies it to contemporary life. His book delivers a wealth of information on the context and content of this eighth-century work, as well as directly evokes the poem's themes of simple living, calm, and a deep sense of connection to all things. This is destined to become a trusted, dog-eared companion.

Our mission is to help people experience a deep and quiet joy – a joy that arises whenever we are fully engaged in the work or play of this moment.