Books by Rafe Martin

 A Zen Life of BodhisattvasA ZEN LIFE OF BODDHISATTVAS
Order from Sumeru Publications

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Drawing on his knowledge of myth, legend, Zen koans, pop culture, and Buddhist folklore, and speaking from a foundation of more than 50 years of formal Zen practice, and over 10 years as an authorized Zen teacher, in this companion volume to A Zen Life of Buddha, (Sumeru 2022), award-winning author Roshi Rafe Jnan Martin looks at the nature and role of bodhisattvas, the wise and compassionate beings at the heart of Zen.

Along the way he explores such questions as: What are Bodhisattvas? Are Bodhisattvas real? How do they function? How are they different from Buddhas and from The Buddha? What’s the connection between Bodhisattvas and Zen practice? More importantly, what’s their connection with our own daily lives?

"Rafe Martin's writing is wonderful—marvelously clear and expressive. As a professional story-teller as well as an author, his prose has an open oral quality that reads beautifully. A Zen Life of Bodhisattvas continues the trajectory begun with A Zen Life of Buddha, but whereas the earlier book is purposely one-pointed and spare, its sequel is richer and more expansive. In addition to chapters (typically koan commentaries) on the Bodhisattvas Manjusri, Kannon (Avalokitesvara), Maitreya, and Samantabhadra, Rafe includes chapters based on the Jataka tales (earlier lives of the Buddha), as well as on such topics as Zen and failure, and Zen and the creative imagination. In addition, the book includes his memorial essay on Kapleau Roshi, which has previously led a sort of samizdat existence in magazines and on the web. For me, most important of all is Rafe's emphasis on enlightenment as intimacy. This clear emphasis seems to me both unusual and important. I recommend this book unreservedly”

—Stephen Slottow, author of The Americanization of Zen Chanting

"An essential companion book to A Zen Life of Buddha, Rafe Martin’s A Zen Life of Bodhisattvas fills a crucial gap in Buddhist teachings. Beginning with the traditionally known bodhisattvas: Manjusri, Kannon, Samantabhadra, and Maitreya, he brings them down to earth, showing that each of us is a bodhisattva seedling, with the potential, along with rocks, trees, and all beings, to embody the attributes of those great bodhisattvas. What is the point? That the work of each of us ultimately is to mature into manifesting increasingly the compassion, wisdom, enlightened activity, and concern for all beings expressed by those classic bodhisattvas—and that we can do it. He doesn’t stop there, but shows us how to enable that ongoing transformation. Rafe, a gifted Zen teacher, offers us this gem. It belongs, along with A Zen Life of Buddha, in everyone’s library, to be read and inspired by over and over again!”

—Mitra Bishop, Roshi, author of Deepening Zen: the Long Maturation

"This lovely book by Rafe Martin is a guide to the pantheon of bodhisattvas, those great beings who are dedicated to the liberation of all beings and who tirelessly work among us to awaken our own wisdom and compassion. Using the power of koans, mythology, and personal stories, Rafe shows how bodhisattvas are in fact you and me when we're not so entangled in greed, hatred, and ignorance. The wisdom and compassion of the bodhisattvas is our own wisdom and compassion. With Martin as our guide, you'll see how the path of Zen allows us to find and manifest, in ever more subtle and unselfconscious ways, the thousand helping hands of Avalokitesvara, which, as Martin puts it, 'are already your own'.”

—Hoag Holmgren, author of No Better Place: A New Zen Primer