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Zoketsu Norman Fischer ~ The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path

Sunday, May 5, 2019
5:00pm to 6:30pm

Banyen Books & Sound
3608 West 4th Ave.


Beloved Buddhist teacher, poet and author, Norman Fischer will speak at Banyen on the themes of his new book The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path.

In frightening times, we wish the world could be otherwise. With a touch of imagination, it can be. Imagination helps us see what’s hidden, and it shape-shifts reality’s roiling twisting waves. The World Could Be Otherwise offers an imaginative approach to spiritual practice in difficult times, through the Buddhist teaching of the six paramitas or "perfections"--qualities that lead to kindness, wisdom, and an awakened life. Ranging from our everyday concerns about relationships, ethics, and consumption to our artistic inspirations and broadest human yearnings, Fischer depicts imaginative spiritual practice as a necessary resource for our troubled times.

“This book gives me hope. In times like these, when we cannot afford to indulge in hopelessness, Norman Fischer offers us a vision of the human imagination as a spiritual practice and a source of courage and love. Now, more than ever, we need his vision of ourselves and of the world.”

Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being

“A powerful exploration of the Buddhist practice of the Six Perfections, this extraordinary book points toward the great possibilities of goodness resting at the center of the human heart.”

Joan Halifax, author of Being with Dying

“We need to be reminded again and again to stay in touch with our own interior world, where a deeper meaning of life can be found. This book with its fresh approach to the six paramitas is here to do that very job. It gently yet powerfully reminds us to not get lost in the trap of self-centeredness and materialism, but to nourish our spiritual impulse which wants to expand our heart. I’m deeply thankful to Norman for writing this with such deep insight and love.”

Anam Thubten, author of Embracing Each Moment

“Buddhists are often skeptical of the word 'imagination', interpreting it to mean a flight into fantasy. But Norman Fischer, in his new book, The World Could Be Otherwise, makes it clear that imagination is the raw potential, the very source of inspiration, creativity, and astonishment that lies at the heart of a fully integrated spiritual life. He leads us with precision and skill through the Six Perfections (paramitas), using imagination as the uplifting force that binds the heart’s calling for perfection to our human frailties. And he couples these inspiring teachings with grounded daily-life practices. This book is a source of renewal for anyone willing to move beyond their complacency and routine to ponder the wondrous possibilities that abound.”

Rodney Smith, author of Touching the Infinite

Norman Fischer is a Zen priest, teacher, poet, former abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, and founder of The Everyday Zen Foundation, an organization created to broaden the reach of engaged Buddhist practice. His numerous books include What Is Zen? Plain Talk for a Beginner’s MindTraining in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong, and Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms.