Barry Magid is one of a handful of self-described Buddhist teachers whose work I unhesitantly recommend to others. I do so because of his clear-eyed assessment of, on one hand, the potential and limits of Buddhist practice and, on the other hand, the cunning machinations of us homo sapiens apes. As a result of the former, he courageously places Buddhism in dialogue with Kohutian psychoanalysis, invokes Wittgenstein on language, and solicits the views of contemporary poets and ancient skeptics alike. Because of the latter, he is able to perspicuously illuminate reflexive but unfruitful meditation strategies, such as the curative fantasy and the secret practice.

Barry Magid’s lucent, no-nonsense approach stems, I suspect, at least in part from his close association with Charlotte Beck, his teacher in the Ordinary Mind School of Soto Zen. (Magid received “dharma transmission” from Beck in 1999.) As Magid says of Beck in his recent memoriam to her: Continue reading “Flinching”