Here Laurence Boldt applies wisdom from all corners of the world to 25 aspects associated with the Zen tradition. The result is a soup of the most hearty and wholesome kind, well-seasoned with age, and filled with delicious surprises.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
—Mahatma Gandhi on responsibility
"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
—Helen Keller on courage
"Everyone is ignorant, only in different subjects."
—Will Rogers on beginner’s mind
In this book, Laurence Boldt applies Zen principles to everyday life. Each chapter examines a different aspect, or quality, associated with the Zen tradition, then offers a collection of quotes that illuminate that quality.
"Laurence G. Boldt's Zen Soup is a collection of quotations from philosophers, religious teachers, and wandering sages. Boldt, the author of Zen and the Art of Making a Living, has organized this collection around 25 qualities associated with Zen principles including be here now, beginner's mind, joy, discipline, wonder, mindfulness, and enlightenment. The spirit of Zen ripples through these quotations, such as Joshua Holland's thought: "There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, and all things in succession. That which grows slowly endures."
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
"Author of Zen and the Art of Making a Living, Boldt serves up a potful of delicious bits and pieces to help make living an art. "If Zen is telling us anything, it is to be here now, to live in this moment." Get out of the mind and into direct experience. This book is full of placards to mark the way that is no way. From Joseph Campbell, T. S. Eliot, Anaos Nin, D. T. Suzuki, Ram Dass, J. Krishnamurti, Meher Baba, Black Elk, Albert Einstein, Hakuin, Meister Eckhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others, Boldt has collected the nuts and cracked the shells and gathered the tastiest of nutmeats into chapters: beginner's mind, courage, be yourself, creativity, humor, discipline, wonder, selfless service, letting go, everyday Zen. . . . A few paragraphs introduce each course. Savor or gulp, but whatever you do, enjoy."
R.R. Bowker LLC.
"For those of us with a little time. . .
". . . or inclination to sit on high cliffs or under banyan trees contemplating the cosmos, Laurence Boldt has compiled a delightful, inspiring, educational—and digestible—body of collective wisdom that reflects the spirit and teachings of Zen Buddhism. Perhaps Boldt himself explains best how this powerful little book ties in with recovery:
"If in a selfish world I remain compassionate, in a violent world I remain peaceful, in a shallow world I maintain depth and sincerity, in a world of ingratitude I celebrate the gift of life, then I have done what I can do. A Zen attitude frees us from ideas of victimization that permeate popular culture and reminds us that we are the "them" we so often complain about. It says, "Don’t spend your time in idle complaint; roll up your sleeves and get to work.
"As one who’s spent untold hours with books and research attempting to unmask the mysteries of Zen, this book comes about as close as this mortal is going to get. Zen Soup serves up quotes from an often surprising variety of sources—from Mahatma Ghandi to Alan Watts, from Lao-Tzu to Picasso. I think I even saw Ogden Nash and Lily Tomlin in there somewhere.
"The book is divided into twenty-five brief chapters that roughly approximate Zen’s premises and teachings: Courage, Responsibility, Creativity, Compassion, and so on. His chapter introductions are delightful (see excerpts below), and his words on "Everyday Zen" put the essence of this beautiful, paradoxical discipline in a light everyone can understand."
—C.P.E., Nurse Practitioner
"As might be surmised from the title, Zen Soup, this book draws upon Buddhism for many of its quotations, as well as the categories or quotes. Some of the subjects are: Be here now, Beginner's mind, The art of Zen, and Selfless service. If Buddhist philosophy is your cup of tea, this is the quote book for you.
"However, there is much here for the non-Buddhist as well. some of the other subject areas are Courage, Creativity, Humor, and Integrity. Quotes from many authors and many points of view are represented.
"The quotes are mainly short, and tend to be inspirational. They mostly match up well with the topic. In structure, the book consists of a subject, with a little over a page of commentary on the topic, and then from two to half a dozen pages of quotations. It is small enough to carry easily, and has plenty of white space on the pages.
"A nice selection, and a worthwhile book."
"An enlightening blow to the head! Laurence G. Boldt has put together a first class selection of quotes from a wide range of famous men and women, each of them known for some kind of exceptional human achievement. As Boldt says, "the diversity of the sources highlights the timeless and universal nature of these principles", so there are many Westerners quoted aswell as more traditional Zen Eastern sources.
"The book is divided into 25 different sections, each of them covering a quality associated with the Zen tradition e.g., Be Here Now, Beginner's Mind, Responsibility, Compassion, Joy, Discipline, The Game Of Life, Selfless Service, Letting Go, Everyday Zen. There is a brief introduction to each quality, then a selection of associated quotes.
"Many readers of self-development books and spiritual ideas will be familiar with some of these sayings, but as befits the Zen emphasis, the quality and depth of these quotes really makes an impact. Some of the people quoted several times are Krishnamurti, Confucius, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Lao-Tzu, Goethe, Carl Jung, Albert Camus and texts from every major religion."
"For those that are thirsty...DRINK up. Zen and Meditation are one and the same. Wisdom brightens and opens our lives. When I first read the book I was un-aware of the impact the book would have on my soul and vision of my life. I just loved the advice and wisdom gained through gulping and digesting the stuff."
If Zen is telling us anything, it is to be here now, to live in this moment. Simple enough. So what stops us? To live in the moment, we must go out of our minds. The mind, with its guilt and resentment about the past and its fears and hopes for the future, the mind that confuses thoughts about people, things, and events with the people, things, and events themselves—must be transcended. Out of the mind and into direct, immediate experience—this is the message of Zen.
Zen masters have often used dramatic techniques, including verbal insults, physical violence, and absurd theatrics, to jolt students out of mental preoccupation and thrust them back into the moment. Zen is forever shouting: Wake up! Wake up! Wake Up! Stop the mind already! Be here! It helps to sit still and meditate. Yet Zen is even more concerned with being “here now” in the midst of activity. Again and again, Zen teachers exhort the principle of mo chich ch’u, or “going ahead without hesitation.” Just do what you are doing without thinking about it. Just be where you are without holding on or running away. Give up judging and spectating and dive into this moment. If you can’t find it here, where will you go to find it? And when?
This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Paradise is where I am.
In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.
If you want to be happy, be.
—Henry David Thoreau
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
The Tao is near and people seek it far away.
Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.
May you live all the days of your life.
I exist as I am, that is enough.
The present is great with the future.
When one is engaged in a favorite pursuit or a subject absorbingly interesting, the normal conception of labor or time and artificial social distinctions disappear from the mind.
Is not life a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?
What you see is what you get.
We look backward too much and we look forward too much; thus we miss the only eternity of which we can be absolutely sure—the eternal present, for it is always now.
To be where we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming,
is the only end in life.
—Robert Louis Stevenson
Copyright © 1997 by Laurence G. Boldt
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt from Zen Soup may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.