This is a simply wonderful book by seventh degree black belt and zen priest Jeff Brooks. Jeff runs a dojo (a karate studio) and a zendo (a school for Buddhist study and practice) in Northampton, Massachusetts, and I found his book so inspiring that I began recommending it to my patients the very next day. The book describes his journey as a martial artist and as a Buddhist meditator, and talks about the relation between the two, which he views as inextricably bound.
Although the book is on one level autobiographical, it also contains an enormous amount of insightful and intriguing material about the nature and their allure of these two disciplines. Brooks focuses lucidly and continually on the idea of a “practice,” a commitment to a routine of active study in daily life, and the profound implications that such practice has had upon him and upon many of those around him.
Brooks has written many interesting articles on various aspects of both martial arts and meditation all of which are available at his web site northamptonkarate.com. Anyone who has ever had any interest in either marital arts or Buddhism will most certainly enjoy this artful marriage of the two, and be inspired by it as well to consider more consciously the “practices” in one’s own life.