Bring Me The Rhinoceros
And Other Zen Koans to Bring You Joy

by John Tarrant

Published by Harmony Books, October 2004

Named one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2004 by Spirituality & Health Website
(After you click the above link, you'll find this book listed under Zen
in an alphabetical list, so scroll to the end of the list to link to their review.)

go to Editorial Reviews

go to Book Signing/Readings Schedule
go to Rhino blurbs

from the book jacket:

Bring Me the Rhinoceros offers an unusual path to happiness. It doesn't encourage you to strive for things or manipulate people or change yourself into an improved, more polished version of you. Instead, it deftly shows that, rather than laboriously building happiness, you can just unbuild, unmake, toss overboard, and generally subvert unhappiness.

The secret to this path lies in the ancient art of Zen koans. Koans — stories or brief pointed encounters between a Zen master and student — have been used in the Zen tradition for more than a thousand years as a means to liberation from suffering. John Tarrant spent thirty years studying and teaching koans and in the process discovered ways to make them accessible and meaningful to people living in the modern world. Tarrant vividly retells fourteen koans from the point of view of the student to help readers discover the path to joy and peace of mind that can be available at any moment.

Editorial Reviews:

There are many books on the great questions of life appearing today, most of them disguised attempts to keep us imprisoned in a familiar language or a comfortable manner to which we have become accustomed. This book is a rare exception: its straight forward honesty, clear writing and destabilizing insight has a profound effect on the reader, putting them on a frontier where they might be ready for very personal questions that have absolutely no right to go away. John Tarrant does indeed bring on the rhinoceros and a host of other powerful but invisible creatures, ready to run us down, when we refuse to acknowledge the fierce, awkward and beautiful world we inhabit.DAVID WHYTE , author of Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

Bring Me the Rhinoceros is one of the best books ever written about Zen. But it is more than that: it is a book of Zen, pointing us to reality by its own fluent and witty example. John Tarrant has the rare ability to enter the minds of the ancient Zen masters as they do their amazing pirouettes upon the void and, with a few vivid touches, to illuminate our lives with their sayings. — STEPHEN MITCHELL, author of Gilgamesh: A New English Version

Here's a book to crack the happiness code if ever there was one. Forget about self improvement, five point plans, and inspirational seminars that you can't remember a word of a week later. Tarrant's is the fix that fixes nothing because there is nothing to fix. Your life is a koan, a deep question whose answer you are already living - this is the true inspiration, and Tarrant delivers. — ROGER HOUSDEN, author of Ten Poems to Change Your Life

Every life is full of koans, and yet you can't learn from a book how to understand them. You need someone to put you in the right frame of mind to see the puzzles and paradoxes of your experience. With intelligence, humor, and steady deep reflection, John Tarrant does this as no one has done it before. This book could take you to a different and important level of experience. — THOMAS MOORE, author of Care of the Soul and Dark Nights of the Soul

John Tarrant's talent for telling these classic Zen tales transforms them magically into a song in which, as you read, the words disappear as the music continues to echo in the your mind and make you happy. Mysteriously, like koans. — SYLVIA BOORSTEIN, author of Pay Attention, For Goodness' Sake: Practicing the Perfections of the Heart, The Buddhist Path of Kindness.

I enjoyed it a lot. An unusual and powerful blend of traditional Zen, contemporary comment and personal memoir. I definitely think it works. —MELVIN McLEOD, editor-in-chief, The Shambhala Sun

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John Tarrant's Book Tour Schedule, as of Jan. 16, 2005:

Thursday, January 20th —
7:00 pm
Changing Hands Bookstore,
6428 S. McClintock Dr.
Tempe AZ

Friday, Jan. 21st —
7:30 pm
Public Talk (this event not book focused) by John Tarrant:
The Zen Path of Enlightenment In Ordinary Life
Sponsored by Desert Lotus Sangha
Valley Unitarian Universalist Church
6400 W. Del Rio St.
Chandler, AZ 85226
Contact - Deb Saint 480.759.7610
Suggested donation: $10.00


Thursday, January 27th —
7:00 pm
Gateways Bookstore
1531 Pacific Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA

Tuesday, February 15th —
7:30 pm
Readers Books
130 E. Napa St.
Sonoma, CA

photos by Bill Krumbein

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