New Read: Returning to Silence

I’ve been looking forward to reading Returning to Silence!

The question is: Can one return to someplace they’ve never been? “Silence” is not a word anyone would associate with me.

Returning to Silence book cover on a desert background.
Returning to Silence
Zen Practice in Daily Life
by Dainin Katagiri (1988)

From the Foreword:

“It is not a book to ‘get through.’ It is a book to live in. Many books are read in pausing from life, when you take some time off, when you escape, put everything on hold. This book is such; when you live in it you are more outside it, more in life. Read it a little and keep it near your places. Let it be a friend. Let it help you to keep the trivia in perspective.”

And that is what I’ll be doing with this book. I have started a new reading journal just for this book so that I’m not rushing to fit it into my current one, along with others. I have it here with my journal and instead of reading Medium or other blog posts and news after breakfast, I’ll take a dip in this pool.

I’ll also be trying something new here. I feel like I’ve lost track of my purpose for blogging. I’ve begun to chase something, instead of experience a journey. In the coming week, I plan to revisit my “About” and “Home” pages and attempt to communicate exactly why I’m here, or at least create something less restrictive than what is currently posted.

On that note, here’s the first quote from this book that caught my eye.

“If you study Buddhism thinking that it will help you, that means that you use Buddhism for your ego, for selfishness. No matter how long you do this, it is egocentric practice. If you continue to practice like this you will never be satisfied, because desire is endless.”

Why else would you read something, other than the hope that it will help you or others? What I’ve read of Buddhism in the past seems like one contradictory statement after another. Let go to hold on. Quiet to think? Or quiet to let thought go? Focus to unfocus. I’m confused, but I keep reading.

Small snippets, like “desire is endless” comfort me. The more you get, the more you want. We all know that deep down. There is no perfect or enough, always the drive to more and better. Isn’t that the drive that has gotten the human race where it is now? And contrary to popular belief, I think we (in general) are better off now than we were when we lived in caves and grass huts.

How do we return to a silence that calms our hearts and helps us appreciate the world we live in? How do we learn to love the world around us and everything in it?

Have you read Returning to Silence? You can find it at if you’d like to read it with me. I’d love to hear your comments.

Read my next post about this book at “Renewed Practice of Emptiness.”
“Attachment Thoughts on Returning to Silence”
“True Nature, Driving, and New Podcasts”
“Connection and the use of Rituals”
“Zen Habits and This How ’bout Heat, Man?!”
“Zen Blogging? Writing To Learn”


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