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"Says so much so succinctly and insightfully, that reading its brief chapters brings real “Aha!” delight. I look forward to sharing this book with my own Zen students." 

       —Rafe Martin Sensei,

             award-winning author, founding teacher and spiritual director, Endless Path Zendo



"A profound and simply expressed primer. These words will touch and inspire readers to surrender to a joyful experience of compassion for all."

       —Jiun Hosen, Osho
             Abbess, Bodhi Manda Zen Center



"A penetrating and affecting presentation of the Buddha Dharma cast in a thoroughly Western idiom. Hoag’s simple, clear prose invites entry in this very place, now." 


        —Danan Henry Roshi


"Beautifully written. Highly recommended for anyone (new or experienced) interested in the path of Zen. This book captures the heart of the journey and beckons one to step in."

        —Peggy Metta Sheehan
             Sensei, Zen Center of Denver


"Among the Zen handbooks or primers out there, none fit your hand so simply as these sixty-four poetry-like chapters of Hoag Holmgren’s No Better Place. Like the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching, each widens into a far-off state of mind. Turn them over in your thoughts though, and they prove to be guides to where you are standing. Ten in particular, which refer to the 12th century Chinese Oxherding Pictures, point North American Zen back to a mythic world of ancestors. Old-time buddhas, those ancestors. They are our brothers and sisters in the ecology of mind. Thanks to Holmgren’s book, you can stand eyebrow-to-eyebrow with them." 

          —Andrew Schelling,

               editor of The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry


Interior illustrations by Catherine Jao | Ten Ox-herding Pictures (2012) and Enso (2018)
Sumi ink on handmade paper mounted on shikishi  |

No Better Place: A New Zen Primer (paperback)

  • A student of Zen since 1994, Hoag Holmgren is an apprentice teacher in the Harada-Yasutani lineage of Zen Buddhism. A poet and educator as well, he is author of the poetry collection p a l e o s (Middle Creek Publishing) and co-author of Meaningful Grading: A Guide for Faculty in the Arts (West Virginia University Press). His poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in several literary journals. He lives with his family in Nederland, CO. 

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