Between Two Souls presents a spiritually uplifting conversation in poetry between a gifted modern-day Roman Catholic nun and a nineteenth-century Zen monk. Offering a unique entree into spiritual contemplation, this book pairs inspirational writing from two distinct but mutually enriching faith traditions, revealing the religious joy, wisdom, and all-embracing compassion that transcend temporal, cultural, and theological differences.Ryokan (1758-1831) is one of Japan’s most-loved and most-renowned poets. After formal training at the Zen monastery of Entsu-ji, he refused offers to head his own temple and instead lived as a wandering monk in the snowy country around Mt. Kugami. Ryokan wrote thousands of poems during his travels but never published a collection himself. For two years Mary Lou Kownacki, a Benedictine nun, used Ryokan’s poetry for devotions. Each morning she would read one of his poems, meditate on it, and then respond with one of her own. Between Two Souls is the result of this poetic interplay.Over the course of these pages, Kownacki and Ryokan’s separate voices blend and become one, ultimately drawing the reader into their soulful dialogue on the eternal. Like echoes across time, these poems bring new depth and insight to truths that mark the meaning of the ages. Along the way they consider the smallest things in life, using them to gently warn us not to miss the bigger truths found in each moment, not to squander our souls.
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