One day, Yanguan called to his assistant, "Bring me the rhinoceros fan."
The assistant said, "It is broken."
Yanguan said, "If the fan is broken, bring me the rhinoceros."
In the hectic bustle of daily life, we often spend our time hurrying, worrying, and arguing. We complain constantly about things we feel are unfair in our life. Despite the unstopping flow of events in our lives, we often are not able to accept changes in situations, dilemmas, and inevitabilities. We blame our unhappiness on our misfortune, and we spend much of our precious time (and money) seeking for ways to get rid of the sadness and unhappiness that accompanies every normal life.
For those fearing a book too abstract, confusing, or - heaven forbid - boring to understand, there is no need to feel afraid. I confess that I myself had one foot in that boat, but by the end of the first chapter, I was safely out of it. Tarrant writes in a clear, straightforward manner, and he manages to put the koans into a witty, contemporary light. Every chapter opens in an enjoyable and mind-opening anecdote, then goes on to explain the koan behind it. Tarrant brings the humble reader up to the high levels of the ancient Zen masters for a short, pleasant read, leaving the reader feeling refreshed, relaxed, and - could it be? - happy. If you've got a pile of forgotten self-help tapes and inspirational books, then pick up Bring Me the Rhinoceros and see for yourself how it can really help.
Available October 2004
For more information, visit www.crownpublishing.com