FREE IN-STORE EVENT: Bookshop Santa Cruz welcomes Paula Arai for a reading and signing of The Little Book of Zen Healing, her new book which is filled with accessible and adaptable Japanese Buddhist rituals to infuse your life with purpose, healing, and gratitude when you need it most.
"The Little Book of Zen Healing is a gift. In it, Paula Arai distills the wisdom, kindness, and care of our women ancestors into small yet empowering rituals we can practice in our lives to heal ourselves and those we love." —Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness
How do we make and sustain meaning amidst the messy conditions of daily life? Personalized rituals can help us blossom like lotuses right in the mud of the present. On a pilgrimage she began after her mother's death, author Paula Arai encountered numerous Japanese Buddhists who taught her the remarkable power of ritual to heal—practices you can adapt to your own cultural and personal circumstances. Applying principles of Zen practice, she offers stories and insights that illuminate how to nourish and reap a healing bounty of connection, joy, and compassion. Examples include how to:
- Relate to a late loved one as a "personal Buddha" who supports you
- Create a home altar to serve as a safe space to be vulnerable, face intense emotions, and experience a depth of warm gratitude that melts fear and anger
- Engage in daily tasks with attentiveness, intention, and creativity such that they become opportunities for body-mind integration
- Develop family rituals to celebrate relationship and mark transition
- Approach illness and grief with a purposeful sense of connection to life-and-death in its wholeness
Like Marie Kondo's Shinto principles for decluttering, Paula Arai uses rituals influenced by Japanese Zen for personal and relation nourishment and spiritual healing.
PAULA ARAI was raised in Detroit by a Japanese mother and did Zen training in Japan. She obtained her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University in 1993 and is now a professor at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. She is the author of Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals, Women Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns, and Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra.