Inside the Grass Hut: Living Shitou's Classic Zen Poem


Product Details

Wisdom Publications
Publish Date
5.0 X 0.7 X 7.9 inches | 0.52 pounds

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About the Author

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen priest in the Katagiri lineage training with Tim Burkett at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. Connelly began teaching at MZMC in 2006, was ordained in 2009, and was made shuso, or head monk, in 2012. Ben is also a professional musician and developed and leads Mindfulness in the Mountains backpacking/meditation retreats in Northwest Montana. He lives in Minneapolis, MN.

Taigen Dan Leighton (foreword) is a Dharma teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki, leads the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago, and teaches online at the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union. He's the author of Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression and Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry and is the editor and cotranslator of Dogen's Extensive Record.


"Ben Connelly clearly and beautifully links the life of this renunciate mountain monk to our own complex, multitasking, engaged and over-involved lives, showing how we can find great depth of wisdom and compassion right here. He brings this poem to our lives, just as they are."--Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness
"Written from the inside out, this wonderful book explores Zen Master Shitou's marvelous and revelatory poem 'Song of the Grass Roof Hemitage.' The language and sense of immediacy makes Shitou's work transparent to all."--Joan Halifax, founding abbot, Upaya Zen Center
"A great addition to the latest stage in the development of Buddhist books by Westerners for Western audiences: the careful commentary to a traditional text. This stage follows the Dharma talk book and the general intro book, necessities for introducing the general reader to Buddhist teaching. That having been done, we are now ready for something with more depth, and the audience is well prepared for it, and seeks it. Connelly has what it takes to accomplish this task: a deep and detailed knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and the ability to write about it in an informal, engaging, and understandable way. This book is easy and pleasant to read, with plenty of wit, and with many examples from daily life. There's humor, deft turning of phrase, even some paradox and poetry."--Norman Fischer, author of Training in Compassion
"This lovely book is an invitation to experience calm and ease while looking deeply into who lives in the grass hut. It is a wonderful guidebook on the path to being a wiser and kinder human being delighting in a simple, natural way of life."--Ellen Birx, author of Selfless Love
"Ben Connelly sensitively re-imagines for the modern reader Shitou's timeless poem about what it means to be fully alive in the world. Written not just for Zen practitioners, this lovely book offers insights and encouragement to all who seek to live in the simplicity of the present moment."--Janet Abels, author of Making Zen Your Own
"Inside the Grass Hut is a clear, charitable presentation of Zen tradition and practice. Connelly provides fresh, insightful interpretations of Shitou's classic poem, directly applicable to zendo and daily life. But striking, too, is the personal and serene tone of the writing, of the instructive exposition, which infuses the book with a living pulse and -- what I will dare to call here -- the very essence of Zen."--Mike O'Connor, translator of Where the World Does Not Follow