Wonderland: The Zen of Alice

Wonderland: The Zen of Alice by Daniel Doen Silberberg.

Published by Parallax Press, 2009. Paperback.

ISBN: 9781888375954

From the back cover:

Hang on, for you’re headed down the rabbit hole. Daniel Doen Silberberg uses the classic tale of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a jumping-off point for conveying the Zen Buddhist concept of ”one Mind.” With riffs on everything from Detroit to the Diamond Sutra and Kill Bill to ketchup, this is a funny, thoughtful, irreverent contribution to contemporary American Buddhism. Silberberg is a trained psychologist and musician who has been studying Buddhism for thirty years and leads an international Zen community. With stories from his own life as well as from the larger cultural swirl around him, Silberberg reflects on the differences between how we perceive our world and how it truly is. He offers important ideas on how to live fully and happily in the Wonderland we’re all already in.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this short book Silberberg weaves snippets from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with personal anecdotes, classic Buddhist sutras, koans and popular culture to illustrate Zen approaches to the true nature of enlightenment: When we get to the other shore, to what I am calling Wonderland, we may experience One Mind. Rather than using Zen to explain Alice, Silberberg playfully mingles, for example, the upside-down logic of the Caterpillar and Mock Turtle with the wisdom of the Diamond Sutra to explain key ideas. A longtime practitioner and former vice abbot of the Kanzeon Zen Center in Utah, the author is adept at explaining Buddhist teachings and ideas, such as the causes of suffering and Siddhartha’s search for the truth of existence. Silberberg’s description of the Zen path demonstrates more rigor than gentleness, reflecting a warrior approach to the search for knowledge that isn’t present in all forms of this Eastern philosophy; indeed, a little more clarification about which approaches are specifically Zen among the range of Buddhist practices would have been helpful for the novice. While the Alice analogies are thin, Silberberg’s clear writing and in-depth knowledge of his subject make this addition to the Zen of genre engaging.

Available on Amazon: Wonderland: The Zen of Alice


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