New York Journal of Books: Review: The World Could Be Otherwise


Fischer is best at explaining these key concepts without making them too abstract, a skill gained perhaps through all of his years of teaching. His work with the imagination is stellar….

Fischer doesn’t end in thought but finds living examples in our shared lives.
— Larry Smith , New York Journal of Books

Larry Smith, "Review: The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path," New York Journal of Books, April 2019.

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Books on Zen

The Zen Gateway: An Interview with Norman Fischer

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.



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Books on Zen

The Zen Gateway: Review: The World Could Be Otherwise


Fischer has developed a wide range of ways to re-imagine everyday situations, and to challenge the habitual feeling tones that they evoke.…

The Buddha’s message has moved through a number of different cultures in its long history. Will it put down lasting roots in our own? If it does, then it will have to adapt to this culture, keeping its spirit but re-imagining itself in new cultural forms. Who better for this task than a poet?
— The Zen Gateway


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Books on Zen

Interview with Norman Fischer: God is a Three-Letter Word


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.

A Plunge into Zen Koans: An interview with Zoketsu Norman Fischer


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.

A New Perspective on an Ancient Practice: An Interview with Zoketsu Norman Fischer


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.



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Books on Zen