Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence is a rich collection of dharma teachings arising from a lifetime of Buddhist practice. It uses poetic perception to illuminate the vast landscape of spiritual practice and realization, never becoming parochial in its presentation or one-sided in its language. The author reflects his broad range of concerns and inclusiveness of spiritual experience, language, and tradition. The voices of Zen and Dzogchen find an easy interchange with Taoist, Sufi, Christian, and indigenous perspectives, psychoanalysis, quantum physics, and neuroscience.
This book comes out of a tradition in which spiritual exposition arises as commentary to an earlier poetic text. In this case, it is 48 poems, each very different, out of which the author teases a rich compendium of spiritual teachings that are both original and relevant to inform and encourage any reader's spiritual practice, comtemplation, and growth. Some are simple and ecstatic celebrations of luminous and transparent reality; some are technical expositions of subtle points of Buddhits teaching or meditation practice, some are reflections and support for everyday life; and some touch on vital issues of history, culture, and human development, from imperialism, fundamentalism, and human atrocity to narcissism, partriarchy, and addiction. All become threads in a challenging but warmly engaging exposition of dharma, continually weaving the personal and the academic, the relative and the universal, the ordinary and the mystical.
While rarely using the terms, the author ultimately celebrates bodhicitta, the awake, compassionate ground of the universe, and the prajnaparamita, its paradoxical and inconceivable nature, which he calles the "Mother of Poetry." Combing technical clarity with lyrical, sometimes rapturous prose, Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence points beyond our literal fixations with language, ideas, and doctrines to evoke the great ungraspable poetic reality that expresses in all our spirituality and in all our human experience.