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Nominated for the Tricycle Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Buddhism in America
Encouraging Words is a collection of short talks and brief essays that Aitken Rashi has offered his students at meditation retreats during the past two decades. They are arranged according to themes central to all spiritual seekers—attention, emptiness, coming and going, diligence, death and the afterlife, the sacred self, and the moral path. Aitken provides guidance on pursuing religious practice in a lay context, "re-casting the Dharma to include women, jobs, and family." He also charts his own quest to develop a set of moral codes in keeping with Buddhism's basic precepts and honoring the enormous ethical challenges faced in the twentieth century.
"The inspiration that guided monks and nuns in ancient times is our own deepest incentive as we establish our practice in a world that desperately needs new forms of kinship and love."—Robert Aitken
"Aitken's title says it all. Encouraging Words will appeal to both beginning and advanced Zen lay students who seek to integrate their spiritual practice into everyday life. Curious readers will be rewarded, too. Here is a teacher both wise and practical in equal measure."—Ronn Ronck, Honolulu Advertiser