Joanna Harcourt-Smith of Future Primitive Podcasts and I had a beautiful hour-long conversation. We talked about the book, Living in Blue Sky Mind, as well as blue sky mind, teaching children from the inner child, the way of Zen, being a Dharma grandpa, joyful life, and the artist’s role in living on the edge and delving into the darkness.
Living in Blue Sky Mind got a very nice review from the Midwest Book Review.
Living in Blue Sky Mind
Richard Gentei Diedrichs
1760-F Airline Hwy, #203, Hollister, Ca 95023 www.msipress.com
9781942891161, $12.95, PB, 180pp, www.amazon.com
“We live with minds as open and spacious as the deep blue sky. “Living in Blue Sky Mind: Basic Buddhist Teachings for a Happy Life” by Richard Gentei Diedrichs (an ordained a Zen priest in 1984 by Genki Takabayashi Roshi and currently a Dharma teacher in the Children’s Program at Daifukuji Zen Temple in Kona, Hawaii) presents basic Buddhist teachings that keep us on the wholesome path of self-realization toward a happy life. “Living in Blue Sky Mind” is a compilation of simple lessons, anecdotes of personal transformation, and reflective questions to guide us along Buddha’s enlightened way. As with such examples as: “Buddha advised that we not speak with malice if we want to create connection and happiness around us.”; “We learn that to be happy, we need to end our suffering and the suffering of those around us.”; and “We are fortunate to have a way to be happy with what we have and with who we are.” Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, “Living in Blue Sky Mind” is thoroughly ‘reader friendly’ in tone, commentary and content. While very highly recommended for community, college, and university library Buddhist Studies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Living in Blue Sky Mind” is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).”
Do not be fooled by the number of pages! I received an advanced review copy of Living in Blue Sky Mind for purposes of endorsement and thought I could finish it in a few hours. The density of concept in each chapter, the reflection questions at the end of each passage, the moral quandaries posed in Diedrichs’s own childhood pulled the brakes on my intentions and compelled me frequently to put down the book and think more deeply about how Buddhist principles apply to my own life. At turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Living in Blue Sky Mind reveals greater truths about regrets that haunt us all without offering a simple resolution. Instead, Diedrichs makes his reader work, just as Buddhism makes its practitioners do the work to achieve true serenity. Reading this book had a direct influence on my own daily decision making, making me feel like a good person but also a lighter person. Nothing can make the past go away, but Living in Blue Sky Mind can help reframe those haunting moments. A good primer for someone (me) with little to no Buddhist education.–Athena MacFarland, Eagle Rock, California
Living in Blue Sky Mind began as short talks that I gave to children and their parents at Daifukuji Zen Buddhist temple in Kona, Hawaii. I had the idea of publishing the talks in a blog that I called, “I Can See Clearly Now.” By the time I published about one hundred of the talks as posts, the blog had amassed nearly twelve thousand views. I went to several publishers with my success, and MSI Press agreed to publish the collection as a book.
Each short chapter in Living in Blue Sky Mind presents a Buddhist teaching, such as stopping or changing the ways we think, speak and act that bring so much anxiety, dissatisfaction and misery into our lives, and the lives of people around us. By becoming more aware, caring, and wise, we actually begin living in blue sky mind. Most of the chapters are infused with short stories from my own personal experience, as a child and adult, in which I realize a truth that helps to open my awareness, my mind, and my life. At the end of each chapter, I provide several reflection questions that help focus and personalize the teaching.
One early reader of the book said: “I thought it was a very enjoyable read. I have been interested in Buddhism for a while, but only in a general way. I’ve read books about Buddhism before but they would take me through the concepts, but not connect them to my life. This book covers the concepts but the author’s own personal memories help make those concepts more real and understandable. I also liked the fact that the author acknowledges that he sometimes falls down in living the words of Buddha, as we all do, yet to be truly aware is to “see life exactly as it is.”