Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness was the first Zen book I owned. It was written by Shunryu Suzuki, the guy who brought Zen teachings into the US. I actually spent an evening at the SFZC just so I can see what the place described in the books is like. That was the meditation when I was peeking through my slitty eyelids now and then to have a glimpse of what zen meditation is like, all this in the dark. I’m nerdy like that. haha.
I love his writings, because it was clean, simple, with a lot of humour, yet holds so much depth in his understanding of the world, while at the same time very down-to-earth. I bought many other zen books after that, my favourite being Crooked Cucumber, which is a documentation of his zen teaching through the story of his life, authored by David Chadwick.
It may sound disrespectful that I did not address him as Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki, but after reading all these zen books, I feel these to not matter to him as much as it matters to us. While in SF, I bought a couple of zen books by Thich Nhat Hanh because they were small and cute and the size and texture very holdable in my little hands. I was hooked after that! Tiny books with huge wisdom. Similar style as Shunryu Suzuki – simple, clean, down-to-earth, with gigantic wisdom held in just those few words. Is that Zen? Am I zen? I started gobbling up all of TNH’s words after that. Ebooks after ebooks, as though they were not enough. I bought many physical books in my last trip (the same ones I have in electronic versions) and I am re-reading them, this time physically in my hands! Maybe the wisdom will osmosise in more completeness this way. 😀
I am going to re-read Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness. It was with so much angst and prejudice when I read it five years ago. This evening was spent resolving similar branching streams issue, but I realise my position about differences are so different now! They do not have to be conflicts nor do they have to be conflicted. They can merely be different.
Inspiration. Or reading list again? 😀 Homework from Universe.