I am delighted to share this conversation with Roshi Eve Myonen Marko about The Book of Householder Koans: Waking Up in the Land of Attachments, which she co-wrote with Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao. It was released in 2020 but I'm sure glad I finally found it! It's become one of my new favorite books and a real treasure as a practice tool.
Roshi Eve Marko is a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, with her late husband, the renowned Roshi Bernie Glassman. She is also the resident teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts. Roshi has trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, and has been a Spiritholder at retreats bearing witness to genocide at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rwanda, and the Black Hills in South Dakota. Before that she worked at the Greyston Mandala, which provides housing, child care, jobs, and AIDS-related medical services in Yonkers, New York.
Koans have always been a favorite practice of mine but I had drifted away from them off and on … and off for the last few years until this book. If you've listened to earlier episodes of this podcast, then you may have heard my back-to-back episodes about Zen Koans.
This is unlike any book about koans I've ever read. It drills deep into your "hiding places" … doing what koans do perfectly: They stop you in your tracks, as they mess with your conceptual thinking, and shake your false trust in the stability of what we think we know. Being drawn into questions, without the comfortable ground of "knowing" offers a practice that can help us pause in our everyday rush to stress and anxiousness caused by trying to be somewhere other than where we are at this moment.
I just loved this conversation with Roshi Eve! Among many other things, we talked about…The importance of "not knowing" … About the surprise factor in the situations we find ourselves in life and how they help the mind "make leaps" … And about how we should try to enter life with out whole selves—our bodies, not just our minds.
So, don't miss this one! One of my favorite Buddhist subjects and one of the best books I've read in a very long time.