Thursday, September 20, 2018

September Organization of the Month: Banned Books Week Coalition

Cosimo is celebrating banned books this September with our Organization of the Month, The Banned Books Week Coalition!

Banned Books Week happens once a year and celebrates the freedom to read. The week is sponsored by a host of great organizations dedicated to free expression, including: American Booksellers Association, American Library Association, The Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, and many more.

According to the Banned Books website, limiting access to controversial titles is not the answer for tough questions or broaching controversial topics. Many titles that continue to be removed from shelves, taken away from schools, or eliminated from classroom reading lists include stories about or subjects on LGBTQ, explicit content, witchcraft, swearing, suicide, and much more.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. The 2018 celebration will be held September 23 - September 29. To find an event near you, please visit the Banned Books website.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September Quote of the Month: The evidence is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling

"The evidence is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling."

— Daniel Patrick Moynihan


In honor of our Book of the Month, The Moynihan Report, we are highlighten this poignant quote from the lead author, Daniel Moynihan, this September.

Against the backdrop of President Johnson's War on Poverty and the Watts riots in Los Angeles, a young civil servant with the Office of Planning and Research O at the Department of Labor, Daniel P. Moynihan, wrote in 1965 his most controversial study The Moynihan Report - The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.

This report drew widespread attention from critics and supporters alike. It concluded that the conditions under which black children were being raised, generally in single-mother households, were the leading cause of black poverty.

As Moynihan wrote decades later: "The work began in the most orthodox setting, to establish at some level of statistical conciseness what 'everyone knew': that economic conditions determine social conditions. Whereupon, it turned out that what everyone knew was evidently not so."

Although Moynihan was a liberal politician and the report called for jobs programs and vocational training for blacks, many black and civil rights leaders found his report patronizing and that it relied on stereotypes of the black family and black men. 

The 1965 statistics, when approximately 25 percent of black babies were born out of wedlock, have not improved 50 years later, when this percentage has grown to 75 percent; with 50 percent for Hispanic babies and 29 percent for white babies. Also in other areas, such as income, employment, and incarceration, the statistics have deteriorated for blacks. The legacy of The Moynihan Report is that the debate it launched around cultural causes of black poverty is still not settled in modern day America.






Thursday, September 13, 2018

Guest Post from Paul Breiter: Imitating and Pretending - Thoughts from Retreat

We are happy to publish a guest post from Cosimo author and Buddhist Paul Breiter, entitled "Imitating and Pretending - Thoughts from Retreat." Enjoy!

All past masters have followed the path of sublime beings before them. We say in Tibetan, “In life, we imitate others; whoever is the best imitator succeeds.” Similarly, because all Buddhists imitate the Buddha, whoever imitates him best will become a Buddha.
--Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

While doing meditation retreats, I often ask myself, “Where did I go wrong?” The answer that comes is “Everywhere.” But over the years I’ve learned to recognize the patterns of drama that take place in quiet solitude. Disengaged from accustomed busyness and distraction, there is naturally a lot of ferment. During one retreat several years ago, in the first week I saw that I was responsible for the war on Iraq. In the second week I was causing spiritual masters to pass away. In the third week I felt I’d become some kind of non-human life form and worried that the person who brought my groceries would probably drop the bags and run away screaming if she caught sight of me.

And all of that passed, like everything does, and in following years it took less and less time for the dramas to play themselves out. A professional football team once had the motto, “Talk is cheap. Play the game.” I started to think, “Drama is cheap. Do the practice.” (That team went on to win a Super Bowl after printing t-shirts with those words.)

In certain quarters there is talk of the “resultant path” as opposed to a causal path, or “taking the result as the path.” As with many other Buddhist concepts, it can be seen in very practical terms. Trungpa Rinpoche said that all he could do was provide a model of sanity to follow, and that practice is in large part imitation.

Without looking for anything esoteric, just consider sila, ethical conduct. When we resist habitual ways of doing things to follow a moral code, our hearts may not be in it completely, but we imitate the behavior of enlightened beings. Specifically, the complex monastic code of discipline, the Vinaya, could be seen as taking the way of the arhat as the path. Those who follow it for some time usually will realize that rather than being something burdensome and complicated, it actually makes life simple and brings a sense of freedom.

At the other end of the spectrum, seemingly abstruse or esoteric deity practices, for example, are explained as a way to develop pure vision, which can lead to recognition of the originally pure true nature of mind and phenomena. Sometimes I think of it as “pretending that things are the way they really are” or “trying to trick yourself into seeing things as they really are.” Such practices are contrived, of course, which raises red flags for some people. And even the pure vision that can come about from deity meditation is still considered illusory (but a great improvement on our usual impure illusory vision). Actually, we are already living in a totally contrived “reality,” one that is distorted by our habitual ways of perceiving and thinking; so antidotes may well be appropriate.

The Buddha taught on the different methods and antidotes for the defilements of mind, and in the case of discursive meditations, he said that whatever the mind takes up again and again it eventually becomes inclined to. And as with any other form of practice, discursive meditations are more suitable for some types of person than for others. They run the full gamut: meditations on the qualities of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; on renunciation; on lovingkindness and compassion; and on emptiness, to name but a few.

Ajahn Chah said that when the mind is temporarily free of defilements, we could be said to be “temporary arhats.” Scholars of Abhidharma would quibble, but there’s a point to his statement. So when we meditate on love and compassion, we could consider ourselves temporary bodhisattvas, and visualizing ourselves as Buddha-deities, we are temporary Buddhas. Why not encourage ourselves thus? In Soto Zen, the practice of shikan taza, “just sitting,” is spoken of as sitting like a Buddha. Dogen Zenji taught about this extensively and often poetically; in Bendowa, “A Discourse on Doing One’s Utmost in Practicing the Way of the Buddhas,” he says, “Even though it may be merely for a moment, when someone, whilst sitting upright in meditation, puts the mark of the Buddha Seal upon his…body, speech, and thought, the whole physical universe and everything in it becomes and is the Buddha Seal; all of space, throughout, becomes and is enlightenment.”

I think there must have been good reason for the Buddha to have taught all these methods of meditation and guides for conduct. I once heard a talk by the Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, and in  conclusion he said, “You don’t have to worry that I’m trying to deceive you. I’m an old man now, near the end of my life, so I really have no reason to want to trick you.”

“Those who cling to things as truly existing are like animals. Those who cling to things as not existing are worse.”
--Saraha

Paul Breiter

About the Author 
Paul Breiter was born in Brooklyn in 1948. In 1970, he became ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, where he met Ajahn Chah and became his student. After disrobing in 1977, Breiter returned to the US and continued Buddhist study with masters in the states. Breiter's books include One Monk, Many Masters, A Still Forest Pool, Venerable Father: A Life with Ajahn Chah, Being Dharma, and Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September Book of the Month: The Moynihan Report - 50 years later

With the upcoming midterm elections, supreme court nominations, and immigration issues on everyone's mind, Cosimo would like to present The Moynihan Report: The Negro Family - The Case for National Action by Office of Policy Planning and Research of U.S. Department of Labor Daniel Moynihan as our Book of the Month for September.

Against the backdrop of President Johnson's War on Poverty and the Watts riots in Los Angeles, a young civil servant with the Office of Planning and Research O at the Department of Labor, Daniel P. Moynihan, wrote in 1965 his most controversial study The Moynihan Report - The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.

This report drew widespread attention from critics and supporters alike. It concluded that the conditions under which black children were being raised, generally in single-mother households, were the leading cause of black poverty.

As Moynihan wrote decades later: "The work began in the most orthodox setting, to establish at some level of statistical conciseness what 'everyone knew': that economic conditions determine social conditions. Whereupon, it turned out that what everyone knew was evidently not so."

Although Moynihan was a liberal politician and the report called for jobs programs and vocational training for blacks, many black and civil rights leaders found his report patronizing and that it relied on stereotypes of the black family and black men. 

The 1965 statistics, when approximately 25 percent of black babies were born out of wedlock, have not improved 50 years later, when this percentage has grown to 75 percent; with 50 percent for Hispanic babies and 29 percent for white babies. Also in other areas, such as income, employment, and incarceration, the statistics have deteriorated for blacks. The legacy of The Moynihan Report is that the debate it launched around cultural causes of black poverty is still not settled in modern day America.




Thursday, September 6, 2018

September eBook of the Month: Everything You Want to Know about TM

With the beginning of the school year upon us, now may be the best time to use some relaxation techniques or practice mindfulness. Let Cosimo help you on your journey to calmness and meditation with our September eBook of the Month, Everything You Want to Know about TM -- Including How to Do It by John White.

Wildly popular in the 1970s and 80s, Transcendental Meditation (TM) continues to be one of the most accessible forms of Eastern spiritual practice in the West. But does it live up to its hype? In this objective exploration of TM, consciousness researcher John White looks at what's billed as "a simple, natural, and effortless mental technique, practiced twenty minutes a day" and takes on its critics as well as its cheerleaders.

About the Author
John White, M.A.T., is an internationally known author, educator and lecturer in the fields of consciousness research and higher human development. He has held positions as Director of Education for The Institute of Noetic Sciences, a California-based research organization founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell to study human potential for personal and planetary transformation, and as President of Alpha Logics, a Connecticut school for self-directed growth in body, mind and spirit. His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Omni, Esquire and Woman's Day, and his books have been translated into ten languages. He holds a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and a master of arts degree in teaching from Yale University.




All Cosimo eBooks are available at the following retailers:





Please be advised that the author, John White, has not been licensed or certified by the Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation to teach the “Transcendental Meditation ®” or “TM ®” programs. Nor has this book been endorsed or authorized in any way by the Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September Series of the Month: Bibliography of Forbidden Books

In an era where some books are banned in US libraries, where the tech giants Google, Facebook and Twitter play questionable roles in suppressing certain opinions and information throughout the Western world, let alone in other less open societies, Cosimo is celebrating Banned Books Week with Bibliography of Forbidden Books by Henry Spencer Ashbee as our Series of the Month for September!

In this three-volume work that established Henry Spencer Ashbee, British book collector, travel writer and bibliographer, as England's leading authority on pornography, Ashbee describes scores of "curious, uncommon and erotic books" that were banned or otherwise prohibited from legitimate sale during the Victorian era... and some even until the 1960s. This catalog of mostly forgotten works is an invaluable (and highly entertaining) resource for bibliophiles, students of erotica, and collectors of Victoriana.

This series contains "gentlemen only" titles such as: Intrigues and Confessions of a Ballet Girl, The Pleasures of Kissing and Being Kissed, the infamous Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, the Cloisters Laid Open, Memoirs of Miss Mary-Catherine Cadiere, and Pretty Little Games for Young Ladies and Gentlemen.

About the Author
British book collector, travel writer, and bibliographer Henry Spencer Ashbee (1834-1900), aka Pisanus Fraxi, is thought by some to have authored the notorious Victorian sexual memoir My Secret Life.

About the Organization
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. The 2018 celebration will be held September 23 - September 29. To find an event near you, please visit the Banned Books website.


The hardcover retail list price for the series is $101.97, but now: our price: $79.99 (you save $22 or a 27 percent discount)

The paperback retail list price for the series is $74.97, but now: our price: $59.99 (you save $15 or a 26 percent discount)