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Essays on Marriage (Companions of Zen Training) Paperback – April, 1999

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This brief book offers perceptive, practical marital advice from a rare Buddhist perspective. Hasegawa, a Zen monk who is also a husband and father, provides firm guidelines, showing that loyalty, time, energy and compassion are the key ingredients of married success. He covers almost every aspect of marriage, including virginity, anger resolution and children. ("Married life without a child is like a house without any light," writes the monk.) Some will find his reproductive views controversial; he claims, for example, that nonprocreative sex within marriage is "not different from masturbating or having a hired prostitute." Hasegawa views marriage as a collaboration that must come before any individual interest. Partners should preserve marriage's inviolable sanctity, for example, never revealing each other's secrets to outsiders. His wisdom often emerges from the visual imagery of his Zen training ("Unexpressed love is of less use than a dead fox"). He advocates deep contemplation of the partner's future death, not to be morbid but to encourage greater appreciation and expressions of love in the present. Hasegawa's approach is not that of Western "Buddhism lite" but rather the bracing Buddhism one finds in the Theravada forest monastic and Rinzai Zen traditions. While best suited for those with some practical training in Buddhism, this book's direct, matter-of-fact counsel could benefit many other readers.

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In his latest book, Hasegawa, a Japanese-born Zen Buddhist monk who has lived in America for the last 30 years, explains the Zen attitude toward marriage. In 22 short essays, he covers everything from virginity and sexual desire to jealousy, children, unusual marriages, divorce, and loyalty. The advice he gives sometimes seems inconsistent and contradictory, swinging from the very tolerant and forgiving (adultery and gay marriages are acceptable) to the very intolerant (abortions are not). But generally Hasegawa takes a commonsense approach toward problems likely to arise in a marriage. Although he is at home in the English language, his writing is peppered with odd phrases ("as useless as a dead fox") and wrong words ("playmate" instead of "tennis partner"). Hasegawa is the author of two other books (e.g., The Cave of Poison Grass) that also offer practical Zen suggestions for living. Recommended for specialized collections.AKitty Dean Chen, Nassau Community Coll., Garden City, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Companions of Zen Training
  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Great Ocean Publishers; 2nd edition (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915556367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915556366
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,641,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
As one who has worked with families, I find that this book can be of use to many couples attempting to find their footing in the world of relationships. It can be a helpful guide whether you agree with all of it or just some of it. The "some of it" can be substantial.
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