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BOOK LAUNCH: What is this? Ancient questions for modern minds

  • Wellington Friends’ Centre 7 Moncrieff Street Mount Victoria Wellington (map)

This week’s One Mindful Breath session will start with the Aotearoa launch of Martine and Stephen Batchelor’s new book. As it’s the fifth Wednesday of the month we will follow with a potluck celebration. Please bring food and drink to share.

What is this? Ancient questions for modern minds

Ramsey Margolis will briefly introduce The Tuwhiri Project, the imprint that is publishing What is this? Ancient questions for modern minds, author Martine Batchelor will join us from France by Zoom at 8pm and together we will launch the book.

What is this? Ancient questions for modern minds presents talks given by Martine and Stephen Batchelor during a Sŏn (Chan/Zen) retreat in England in 2016. Leading us through the practice of radical questioning at the heart of this Korean Buddhist tradition, the authors show how anyone at all can benefit from this form of radical inquiry today.

These talks demonstrate clearly how a practice with origins in China a thousand years ago can meld with insights from the natural sciences, classical and modern western philosophy, Romantic poetry, and early Buddhism. The reader can use this book as a companion in facing the challenge of living a fully human life in our complex contemporary world, or as a practice manual, or both.



About the authors

Stephen Batchelor is a writer, teacher and artist. He trained as a Sŏn monk in Korea for four years. He is the author of Buddhism without beliefs, After Buddhism and, most recently, Secular Buddhism. He is a co-founder of Bodhi College.

‘Sŏn teachers urge us to put aside theoretical speculation and ponder instead an image: snowflakes, the cypress tree in the courtyard, three pounds of flax.’ 

– Stephen Batchelor

Martine & Stephen Batchelor

Martine Batchelor lived as a Sŏn nun in Korea for ten years. She is author of Meditation for life, The path of compassion, Women in Korean Zen and Let go. Her most recent book is The spirit of the Buddha.

‘We can cultivate mindfulness either directly or indirectly, just as we can cultivate awareness of change directly or indirectly. I realised this as a nun in Korea where, for ten years, I just practised asking the question “What is this?” in meditation, and nothing else. Through doing this I quickly became more aware, more compassionate, and more conscious of change.’
– Martine Batchelor


Copies of What is this? will be available on the night for $25 (bookshop price $30). This event has been organised by The Tuwhiri Project and One Mindful Breath. In keeping with Buddhist tradition, you are invited to give a donation to The Tuwhiri Project to help continue this important work.


More information

Ramsey Margolis | Publisher, The Tuwhiri Project
Phone | text | FaceTime: 021 97 35 31
Send an email | www.tuwhiri.nz