Butterflies on a Sea Wind

Beginning Zen

Anne Rudloe was attracted to Zen as a college student. But it seemed premature for a 21-year-old to focus on the difficulties of life when she’d hardly begun to live. Twenty-five years later, she was ready to explore the spiritual discipline that originated in Asian monasteries more than a millennium ago. Rudloe’s quest is compellingly chronicled in Butterflies on a Sea Wind, which combines the rigor of formal monastic Zen practice with the challenges of integrating Zen concepts into modern daily life. Her narrative describes both the physical and mental demands of Zen retreats and how she applied what she learned there to her work as a marine biologist in Florida, as well as to the rigors of raising children and caring for an elderly grandmother. In words that intimately draw in her readers, she describes how Zen helps us look inward and use the wisdom we find there to reach out to others. Buddhism is one of the fastest growing spiritual traditions in America today. During the 1990s, the number of organized Buddhist centers in this country grew more than 40 percent, from 429 to 1,062. While there are many books about Zen on the market today, few give a clear picture of what it’s like to actually sit down and begin a meditation practice and then apply it to a daily life. Likewise, few books discuss the types of issues most people face every day: raising a family and earning a living. Butterflies on a Sea Wind does all this and more.

About the Author

Author Anne Rudloe lives in Panacea, Fla., and runs the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory, an independent, nonprofit environmental center and aquarium in Panacea, Fla., with her husband. She received her Ph.D. from Florida State University, where she teaches courses on marine biology and environmental issues. Her writing has appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, and numerous scientific journals. She has been a regular commentator for Florida Public Radio and writes a column for the Tallahassee Democrat. She has practiced Zen since 1986.

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