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Book: The Tao of Now, by Josh Baran

Book: The Tao of Now
By Josh Baran
Reviewed by Brian Schell
Publisher: Hampton Roads, 400 Pages, ISBN 9781571745842
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Note: This book was previously published under the name “365 Nirvana Here and Now.”

“The Tao of Now: Daily Wisdom from Mystics, Sages, Poets, and Saints” is essentially a huge collection of wisdom quotes from all kinds of people, not necessarily just Buddhists. Quotes from Rumi, Buddha, Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dogen, Jesus, as well as many literary notables. Edited and compiled by Josh Baran, a former zen monk and Soto Zen teacher. These are “wisdom quotes,” not necessarily religious quotes, so you get ideas from every faith and outlook.

This isn’t the sort of book you read through from cover to cover. It’s fun to just flip through and read a page at random. There are 365 quotes, making it possible to go through one quote a day for a year with this book. Although these are not koans in the traditional sense, most are reasonably short and deep enough to allow for some real contemplation.

The introductory section is short, and explains much of the author’s background and reasons for writing the book. I especially like his reasons for being a “former” monk. He got up and walked out of the monastery one day. I suspect this happens quite a lot, and his reasons are interesting. He also points out in the introduction that some of the quotes in the book are contradictory, but that doesn’t necessarily make them wrong. You just need to think about where the original speaker was coming from contextually.

I’m not going to say this is a “must have” book, but it’s fun, informative, and does contain a lot to think about.

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