You're in for a treat in this episode. At least it was a treat for me to have a conversation with Clark Strand. Clark is a former Zen monk, author, Haiku teacher, and communicator of all things spiritual and religious. He has studied and actually practiced within many, many spiritual and religious traditions so he speaks from actual experience. The focus of today's conversation is on his book, Waking the Buddha: How The Most Dynamic and Empowering Buddhist Movement in History is Changing Our Concept of Religion , but Clark is also the author of Seeds From a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey , Now Is the Hour of Her Return: Poems In Praise of the Divine Mother Kali , co-author, with Perdita Finn, of The Way of the Rose: The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary , and many other books on poetry, spirituality, and ecology. He is the co-founder of an international, non-sectarian rosary fellowship with members across the world. I invited him on the podcast to talk about Nichiren Buddhism, Soka Gakkai, and chanting, in general. It is a subject I haven't covered on this podcast and the timing was sparked by the recent passing of Tina Turner who was a very public Soka Gakkai practitioner. Although the focus of the conversation began with the Soka Gakkai, it became a fascinating journey to many other areas, due to Clark's wide reach and his spiritual depth. Among many other things, we talked about the folk traditions within all religions. Or, as Clark said, "there is always a religion within a religion." … About how the Soka Gakkai became virtually the only ethnically and racially diverse Buddhist organization religion in the world… About why Clark states that spirituality needs to be about "ecology not theology" and that the reason the thread that runs through his spiritual experience IS ecology and the folk traditions… And, for fellow Pure Land and Shin practitioners, about how the Pure Land tradition is the only tradition deeply grounded in ecology… About Haiku … About the divine feminine, the Divine Mother, and the rosary as a spiritual and NOT a religious practice … and is, essentially, a tantric mantra practice… About the 12-Steps program … About chanting and how it gives voice to one's intentions, dreams, or hopes … and is the most ancient form of spiritual practice… Listen and enjoy the journey... Learn more about Clark: Buy the books: Waking the Buddha: How the Most Dynamic and Empowering Buddhist Movement in History Is Changing Our Concept of Religion Seeds from a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey: 25th Anniversary Edition: Revised & Expanded The Way of the Rose: The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary Instagram: Facebook: Become a patron to support this podcast and get special member benefits, including a membership community and virtual sangha: If this podcast has helped you understand Buddhism or help in your everyday life, consider making a one-time donation here: Support the podcast through the affiliate link to buy the book, Everyday Buddhism: Real-Life Buddhist Teachings & Practices for Real Change: Buy the book, Everyday Buddhism