New Book Targets "Nones" (Non-Religious) with Zen Wisdom

Buddhism has quietly become one of America's fastest-growing spiritual traditions

SALISBURY, Md., Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- While the growth of "Nones" (adults with no religious affiliation) makes headlines, Buddhism has quietly become one of the fastest-growing spiritual traditions in North America. Though some of this growth is the result of immigration from East Asia, Buddhism is also attracting those who seek an active and personalized spiritual experience – free of dogma and doctrine.


To reach a new generation of Buddhists and Nones, Zen Books Worldwide has published Life Between the Tigers, a collection of 365 Buddhist parables and Zen koans (paradoxes that challenge our perspectives on life and reality) – edited for a modern Western audience.

"Many koans are set in times and places that are 'alien' to most Westerners," says co-editor Kris Neely. "They feature hard-to-pronounce names, and refer to traditions, customs, locations and histories that can confuse (and even deter) new students of Zen. Life Between the Tigers adapts these stories so the average reader can better understand and relate to them. By making the koans and parables more accessible, we hope to attract a whole new generation to 'the Middle Way.'"

"Buddhists don't engage in evangelism," says co-editor Peter Gerardo, "so most Westerners know zero about Buddhism and Zen koans. They may have heard the famous koan that ends, 'What is the sound of one hand clapping?' but to the uninitiated, this sounds like utter nonsense."

Gerardo adds that some are even hostile to Buddhism. A recent study found that one in five Americans would object to having a Buddhist Temple in their town. "At a minimum," he says, "I hope Life Between the Tigers will introduce people to Buddhism, revealing that there's nothing mysterious, threatening or even odd about it. In fact, Zen has been described as a crystallized form of all religions."

Life Between the Tigers features an introduction summarizing the history and principles of Buddhism and Zen, as well as the purpose of koans. The book's title refers to a story in which a man, trapped between two hungry tigers, decides to savor the taste of a wild strawberry rather than worry about his imminent death.

Author Kris Neely has studied Buddhism, Taoism and Zen for decades, and is finishing the soon-to-be published Buddha Is a Greeter at Walmart.

Peter Gerardo is a freelance journalist and ghostwriter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Crain's New York Business and numerous trade publications.

The book is available on amazon at

Life Between the Tigers
Zen Wisdom in Everyday English
Kris Neely and Peter Gerardo, Eds.
Zen Books Worldwide
ISBN:  978-0-9889048-1-1

More information:

Media Contact:

Peter Gerardo, Zen Books Worldwide, 410-546-5030,

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SOURCE Zen Books Worldwide



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