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Pavement: Reflections on Mercy, Activism, and Doing "Nothing" for Peace [Paperback]

Lin Jensen

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and inspiring. 9 April 2007
By Anonymous - Published on Amazon.com
Lin Jensen is a gifted writer who shares his experience of open-heartedly taking action for peace. I feel inspired and comforted to know he is out there, every day, opening his heart, sitting on his cushion, and promoting peace in the best way he can. His willingness to share his struggles and challenges makes his efforts even more impressive, while also making them seem accessible and possible for the rest of us, despite all of our own challenges. Reading this book gave me a sense of lightness, at the same time that it highlighted the seriousness of our current world and the challenges we face. I recommend it highly and plan to buy it for the people in my life who matter most to me. Thank you Lin Jensen, for your efforts, and for your willingness to share them with all of us.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A courageous witness 4 Oct 2012
By Joyce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this book's epilogue, Jensen recounts the story of what happened during a Christmas truce that occurred spontaneously in World War I in 1914. The British and German soldiers sang carols, shared cigarettes and gifts received from home, played soccer on the field where they had been gunning one another down, and even helped each other bury their dead. Reluctant to resume combat, the soldiers, threatened with punishment and even death by the high commands, dug in and went on slaughtering one another for four more years. Jensen describes the United States as no less dug-in than the soldiers in the trenches in World War I. He says, "In our greed and arrogance, we have so alienated the peoples of this earth that we dare not relax our guard for even an instant." This author of the amazing memoir, Bad Dog, now gives us an account of his experience as a peace activist. Zen teacher Jensen began sitting in 2004 for an hour every day on the downtown sidewalks of his home in Chico, California, with his sign which says, "Peace Vigil," "Nonviolence," "Justice," and "Mercy" and identifies him as a member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He tells of his encounters with those who show support in various ways and those who are terribly angry at his silent presence. He understands his practice as an expression of his love for his countrymen and fellow humans. Here is how he states it: "I will sit right here on the pavement, and offer you the visible presence of my dismay and grief over the brutality our nation is engaged in. I offer my rejection of our country's claim that it is acting on our behalf. . . You may acknowledge me or ignore me as you see fit, but I am here, nevertheless, to remind us both, you and me, that something has gone drastically wrong in our nation, and I'll be back tomorrow to remind us again." I find Jensen a great guy to hang out with as he sits on the street and reflects on what happens there. His four-page chapter "When It's best to Bow Down" is the best exposition on bowing I have ever heard. Here is how he connects his pavement sitting to bowing: "I don't feel docile, submissive, or insignificant sitting there on the sidewalk. And while I'm barely on a level with the hubcaps of passing cars, I don't feel diminished by those who are seated behind the steering wheels. What I do feel is vulnerable, a kind of softened availability. And I feel that I'm where I want to be and where I do best."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Will you do nothing for peace? 6 July 2009
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on Amazon.com
What will you do for peace? Will you march? Will you make people face the death and pain caused by war? Will you sit down on the sidewalk and be insulted, stared at, questioned and, in general, show love towards all things? Well, try to show love. Will, try to show love.
Anyway, this is a small, nice book to read when you are in the need for some good old fashion philosophy and Buddhist wisdom. Great for the bus or for those crowded trains, when you need something to help you relax and question reality.
Get out of the trenches people. Let down the shields. Open up and just try not too get so worked up. Remember, don't be sure about anything. And remember to bow.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zazen Never Looked So Brave 13 Oct 2007
By R. Russeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You don't have to be a Buddhist to applaud Lin and his courage in "doing nothing" on the streets of Chico, CA. Short, warm hearted and sometimes frightening; this is a quick read that stays with you. Why would anyone would tell a 75 year old meditator to "f*** off" for just sitting on the sidewalk with his meditation cushion with a little sign that says "peace vigil"? Lin's little book doesn't give you an answer but it gets you thinking. And that's what his peace vigel is all about.
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