Zen Echoes"It is astonishing how thousand-year-old riddles are brought here to evocative poetic life. David Rothenberg converts them into contemporary verbal music, an arcanum, a profound secret, a mystery without intellectual solution." —Frederick Franck, author of The Zen of Seeing, The Buddha Eye, and other books Much as Coleman Barks breathed new life into the work of the great Sufi poet Rumi and reached the hearts and minds of contemporary readers, David Rothenberg now brings us vividly poetic new versions of the enigmatic koans and riddles from the classic Zen Buddhist text, the Blue Cliff Record. Blue Cliff Record: Zen Echoes is an accessible contemporary distillation of this twelfth-century treasure of Zen Buddhism, a lively feast of words and images designed to stretch and open the mind. With a foreword by poet, author, and translator Sam Hamill. "David Rothenberg's adaptation of Blue Cliff Record is that rare thing, a work of art that is also useful. It is as bracing as a dive into a cold spring--a wake up call from reality--the splendor of what is." —Mark Rudman, winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Poetry and author of Rider "What is unique and wondrous about these poetic responses to the Blue Cliff Record is that here philosophy, spiritual practice and creativity are fused and whole. Each poem remarkably celebrates the Zen past and at the same time builds the foundation for a new interpretation that helps imagine how we, here and now, can live the Dharma on these shores." —Charles Johnson, winner of the National Book Award in fiction for Middle Passage
2001 | 128 pages with 12 illustrations
An Eye in Love "Venice is so much more than canals, bridges, gondolas. It is an unbroken sequence of ever-changing moods; festive, frivolous, elegiac and melancholy, forever foreign yet totally intimate."
—from Seeing VeniceTake a luminous journey deep into the heart of hidden Venice, with Frederick Franck as your guide. His quietly evocative drawings and descriptions bring to vivid life the city of islands, La Serenissima, the Queen of the Sea, "that most human of cities," Venice. Franck explores cafes, alleyways, and the myriad moods and characters of the Venetians, providing an enlivening glimpse into a city he sees as a microcosm of creation, "an immense and living indoor and outdoor studio." "Frederick Frank is one of a rare and precious breed—an authentic troubadour whose lyricism is pure in word and image. He quietly roams our materialistic world and shows us that even here, even now, there is hope for our soul."
—Jacob Needleman, author of Money and the Meaning of Life"Frederick Franck is that rarest of human beings, a true eclectic—in touch with the perennial...and with all his drawings, his beautiful, compassionate drawings!"
—Robert Aitken Roshi, author of Taking the Path of Zen
2002 | 144 pages with over 90 illustrations
Seeing/Molding the Human Face as Meditation In this compact, visually powerful book, author and artist Frederick Franck offers his contemplations on the mystery of the human face. Inspired by the rediscovery of a series of small clay faces, which he had molded and fired over the course of many years, Franck reflects on the deeper meaning of what it means to be truly human. Paired with texts from great wisdom teachers such as Hui Neng, Dogen, and Angelius Silesius, as well as Franck's own words, each evocative, archetypal face conveys the frailties of the ego-driven personality as well as the eternal essence of that which lies hidden behind the mask. With a bold design featuring over forty striking black and white photographs by Luz Piedad Lopez, this book speaks clearly to the questions that have preoccupied many seekers over the centuries: Who am I? Who are you? "Drawing, modeling faces, I seem to touch my model's ancestral, even its pre-human, hominid past, that first hint of human Existence--of just being here, that Mystery of mysteries. Buddhism speaks in a minor key of Sunyata, Absolute Nothingness, an Emptiness, however, replete with potentialities, referred to in more positive terms as Tathata, Suchness. "Behind each personality, each mask, there is the irreducible Reality of Sunyata, of that all-transcending Emptiness or Nothingness from which all that is emerges in its Being/Non-Being."
—from Ode to the Human Face
2004 | 98 pages
A Love Story By Frederick Franck "Here insights that clash in the chill of the brain seem to fuse easily in the warmth of the heart and beget a religious orientation to life as such, to Existence as the Mystery of Mysteries."
—from Pacem in Terris: a love storyThirty years ago, Frederick Franck, author of The Zen of Seeing, Angelus Silesius, and a dozen other books, began work on a property he and his wife Claske had acquired in Warwick, New York. Originals of his world-renowned sculptures found their home on the grounds. The sacred nature of his artistry has attracted the attention of pilgrims of all walks in life and from all continents. Pacem in Terris has become the meeting place of many wisdom traditions, all in search of what Franck calls "the all-too-human." In Pacem in Terris: a love story, Franck relates the remarkable history of his monumental undertaking—to create a sacred site open to peoples of the world—from its impoverished beginnings to its triumphal present. The material obstacles and artistic challenges of this true story of human love remind us of the forgotten power of a personal search for meaning and the extraordinary help and recognition that are drawn to a simply human effort. "Franck's words are thrilling, especially as evidence of his vocation as one who brings things together.... When Pacem in Terris was opened in 1966, Franck wrote: 'May the spirit soar and make us humans see our unity.' By purchasing, reading, and sharing this paperback treasure, you are doing just that!"
—Spirituality and Health"For the pilgrim in each of us who would journey into Eastern and Western spiritual traditions to chart a path in this troubled time.... Wise, witty, compassionate observations jolt us awake to the wealth of our planetary heritage."
—Joanna Macy, author of Widening Circles and World as Lover, World as Self
2000. 128 pages
"When at seventeen I had become a medical student in Holland, my eye fell on a slim volume that carried in large yellow characters the title 'ZEN.' This was in 1926, when Zen was still unknown in the West. "Zen has been to me that which brings us into intimate contact with the world around us and, at the same time, with ourselves. This book, a revised edition of Echoes from the Bottomless Well, came to me at a moment of deep crisis. "The quotations from the Zen writings and words of the great Zen masters, as well as some sayings from the Gospels, were not culled from printed pages. They welled up irresistibly from some eight decades of reflection and meditation from deep down, sometimes in words, sometimes at first in images, for I am by nature not a philosopher but an image-maker. The images that came so compellingly, witness to the experience of Zen as it affected my life."
—Frederick FranckPairing Frederick Franck's unconventional calligraphic drawings with transformative words of wisdom from the Zen and Christian traditions, A Zen Book of Hours offers the seeds for many a heartfelt meditation on the innermost workings of life in and around ourselves.
2003 | 80 pages
On Being an Image-maker A Passion for Seeing gathers a rare feast of stories, impressions, and observations from a writer and artist known for his keen honesty, great heart, and passionate pursuit of the question: what does it mean to be human? Carefully chosen excerpts from many of his books and over a dozen new drawings are among the treasures included. In A Passion for Seeing, Frederick Franck establishes himself as a prime witness to the twentieth century. Read in this anthology the best of Franck's observations. From the onset of World War Two and his work with Dr. Albert Schweitzer to private audiences with Pope John XXIII and the Dalai Lama, from the streets of New York City to the ancient temples of Japan, follow his art and thought as they illuminate our world. "Franck...looks deep into the human heart and what he finds there is the priceless treasure of the sacred reality: a discovery and message so crucial to contemporary humanity."
—Georg Feuerstein, author of The Yoga Tradition"Dialogues with the spiritual masters of the East show us the possibility of a universal ecumenism that is rarely experienced."
—Matthew Fox, author of Original Blessing"For the pilgrim in each of us who would journey into Eastern or Western spiritual traditions to chart a path in this troubled time...."
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self"He simply sees things most people do not...."
—Harvey Cox, author of The Secular City
2003 | 112 pages