Truth Of This Life: zen teachings on loving the world as it is
Accessible and elegant teachings from a well-loved and revered woman Zen teacher.
Katherine Thanas was an MFA student studying painting with Richard Diebenkorn, the preeminent Californian abstract painter, when she met Shunryu Suzuki in the sixties. Soon thereafter she decided to drop painting to dedicate herself to Zen, which she did for the last forty years of her life. Fearlessly direct and endlessly curious, Katherine had a deep understanding of Zen and an affinity for the arts. Her love of literature shines through in these talks, both in her elegant prose and her vast references, from poets William Stafford and Naomi Shihab Nye to Robert Aitken's translation of the Mumonkan and Dogen. This posthumous book, and Katherine's only book, is a collection of her essential teachings taken from her dharma talks. In these short pieces, ranging on subjects from the practice of zazen to the meaning of life, Katherine urges us to "develop an insatiable appetite for inner awareness, to become proficient with this mind." This slim volume is an important contribution by a serious Zen woman.
Katherine Thanas was a renowned dharma teacher who was the founding teacher for the Monterey Bay Zen Center and abbot of the Santa Cruz Zen Center. Katherine was introduced to Zen by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1967, and she trained with him at Sokoji, San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, and Green Gulch Farm. She received lay ordination from Suzuki Roshi, was ordained as a priest by Zentatsu Baker Roshi in 1975, and received shiho (dharma transmission) from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1988. She died in 2012 at the age of 85.