2024 BZC Summer Read

June 3, 2024

Join us for the 2024 Brooklyn Zen Center’s Summer Read: The Little Book of Zen Healing by Dr. Paula Arai, a new book on adapting Zen rituals to infuse everyday life with purpose, healing, and gratitude.

The 2024 BZC Summer Read program launches a rich season of Dr. Arai bringing her wisdom and scholarship to BZC, and a practice period focused on healing and the feminine in Buddhism. Dr. Arai will:

  • Join the sangha over zoom on Wednesday, September 25, 7–8:30 to discuss The Little Book of Zen Healing
  • Lead a weekend retreat on Women in Buddhism October 18–20 at Ancestral Heart Temple and Watershed Center in Millerton 
  • Lead a one-day workshop on Women in Buddhism October 26 at Boundless Mind Temple in Brooklyn

Copies will be available by donation at both Boundless Mind Temple and the Millerton Zendo. Those interested in studying more are encouraged to read Dr. Arai’s scholarly study which formed the basis for this book: Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals.

About the book

The Little Book of Zen Healing is a gift. In it, Paula Arai distills the wisdom, kindness, and care of our women ancestors into small yet empowering rituals we can practice in our lives to heal ourselves and those we love.” —Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness

How do we make and sustain meaning amidst the messy conditions of daily life? Personalized rituals can help us blossom like lotuses right in the mud of the present. On a pilgrimage she began after her mother’s death, author Paula Arai encountered numerous Japanese Buddhists who taught her the remarkable power of ritual to heal—practices you can adapt to your own cultural and personal circumstances. Applying principles of Zen practice, she offers stories and insights that illuminate how to nourish and reap a healing bounty of connection, joy, and compassion. Examples include how to:

  • Relate to a late loved one as a “personal Buddha” who supports you
  • Create a home altar to serve as a safe space to be vulnerable, face intense emotions, and experience a depth of warm gratitude that melts fear and anger
  • Engage in daily tasks with attentiveness, intention, and creativity such that they become opportunities for body-mind integration
  • Develop family rituals to celebrate relationships and mark transitions
  • Approach illness and grief with a purposeful sense of connection to life-and-death in its wholeness

About Dr. Paula Arai

Paula Arai was raised in Detroit by a Japanese mother and did Zen training in Japan. She obtained her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University in 1993 and is now the Eshinni & Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. She is the author of Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals, Women Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns, and Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra.

More information on Paula Arai available here.