We are so obsessed now with data – facts and information. [This preoccupation] gives us the illusion that we know what is going on. To me, the world as we usually see it lacks imagination. We have relegated imagination to ‘content’ for ‘platforms’ – in other words, a tool for generating a harmless, entertaining commodity. But imagination is much more radical than this: our lack of real imagination is killing us.
“An Interview with Norman Fischer: Author of 'The World Could Be Otherwise',” The Zen Gateway, April 2019.
In Judaism as I knew it there was no theology; there were just stories. You read stories in the Torah every week—stories about people trying to engage God—not because they believed but because God was involved in their lives as a fact: experientially.
Sue Moon, "Interview with Norman Fischer: God is a Three-Letter Word," Inquiring Mind, Vol 30, No. 1, Fall 2013.
The main thing about Zen stories is their ability to get us out of the box of our usual human problems. As long as we remain in the box, the solutions to the problems never quite appear. So, we have to be able to get out of the box.
Sachico Ohanks, "A Plunge into Zen Koans: An interview with Zoketsu Norman Fischer," Sangha News, San Francisco Zen Center, July 3, 2013.
I have long felt that as a Mahayana school Zen is all about compassion-but since the Chinese monks who developed the tradition's style assumed compassion teachings and didn't feel they had to emphasize them, Zen literature contains only a few explicit teachings on compassion. So Western Zen practitioners need a remedial course, and lojong brilliantly fills the bill.
"A New Perspective on an Ancient Practice: An Interview with Zoketsu Norman Fischer," Shambhala Publications, Jan 8, 2013.
Books on Zen
“I don’t know who’s right, Gary Snyder or Norman Fischer. Norman says that poetry has nothing to do with self-expression, while Gary says poetry is rooted in self-expression.”Read More
“Fischer’s newest collection of poems, Questions / Places / Voices / Seasons (in a beautiful large format), is built, as the title suggests, on multiple styles, approaches, voices, and locations.”Read More
“A fluid series of poems based in the area where Norman lives, these poems move in and out of statements with grace and beauty, placing us within a world of perpetual movement, impermanence, and wonder.”Read More
“The poems have the quality of already having been slowed down. They then impart that quality – the listener is slowed down. That should be one of the qualities of all poetry I think – but it often isn’t. Here it is.”Read More
“Norman Fischer has written a marvelous book of poems about the experience of thinking the unthinkable.”Read More
Tricycle contributing editor Andrew Cooper chats with Zen teacher and poet Norman Fischer.Read More
“To all serious seekers, whether Jewish, Christian or Buddhist, I recommend the use of this book in their personal practice.”Read More
An in-depth interview about Norman's writing practice, poetry, and Zen.Read More
An interview conducted in the Green Gulch Farm library on January 3, 1996.Read More
“… In Jerusalem Moonlight Judaism and Buddhism do not easily commingle, but the tension between them sparkles with buoyancy, celebrating this modern, mysterious intersection of two ancient traditions.”Read More
“One afternoon in late August 1990, we met for lunch at Green Gulch and
began discussing the relationships among L=A=N=G=U= A=G=E poetics,
critical theory, and Buddhist thought and practice; at the poet's home the
following morning we expanded upon that conversation.”