Something To Ponder with author Mallard

The Zen master stood and pointed at the moon. The students, staring at his finger, failed to notice the moon.

Join Colin Mallard for Stories That Mean Something, readings and conversation based on three of his books. The date is April 2 at 2 p.m. in the Courtenay Library on Sixth Street.

This is the first of a series of similar events taking place in Vancouver between the 9th and 13th of April where Mallard joins a panel of authors for discussions entitled Changing the World One Book at a time.

Mallard’s two non-fiction books Something To Ponder, reflections from Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, and Understanding, the simplicity of life, provide a glimpse of life from the perspective of wisdom found in Taoism, Zen, Advaita Vedanta and Sufism.

The language is simple, easily understood and takes the reader into a deep personal exploration of life.

His books are best read with an open and inquiring mind. As he says, “An open mind can take us to the other side of belief.”

Understanding, filled with stories and metaphors, begins with the story of a famous professor. After 20 years of teaching, he went to Japan to learn from one of the great living Zen masters.

Upon his arrival, the professor arranged to meet the master. In the temple tea house the next day, the master poured tea while the professor recounted his many accomplishments; the books he’d written and the number of students he’d taught.

The master kept pouring until the cup overflowed on the table. The professor shouted: “Stop, stop; it’s too full.”

The master responded: “Like this cup, you are too full; until your cup is empty, how can you receive what I have to offer?”

Mallard’s book Stillpoint, a novel of war, peace, politics and Palestine, is a large story, filled with smaller ones; stories within stories, stories that engage us, stories that make us think; consider life on a more global level. In the process we become aware of the injustice and violation of human rights our governments support in our name.

As one reviewer aptly said, “No matter what your opinion going in, this book will make you reconsider what you think you know... A great story with a stunning conclusion.” (Bennett Coles, Victoria).

In Stillpoint, Mallard applies the wisdom of Eastern philosophy to the pre-conceived notions and beliefs we take for granted. With the help of stories he cuts through myths and national narratives to arrive at the underlying facts.

The book is, as well, an examination of ourselves and our relationships. He doesn’t ask us to believe anything. Our response to a new awareness is what really matters.

The Middle East is a place of convergence — where East meets West, where great wealth and great poverty exist, where injustice and genocide are actively underway, where fundamental Muslims, Christians and Jews are prepared to fight each other, in God’s name.

The ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is central to what happens in the rest of the world. In a democracy, Mallard argues, it is us who are ultimately responsible for what governments do in our names. It’s time we became aware, because the alternative is an escalation in global violence.

Do we really value justice and equality for all or just for ourselves? What is more important to us, our beliefs or the truth — the facts whatever they are? How we answer these questions Mallard suggests will go a long way to determining the kind of world in which we live.

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