Firethroat Press News

Publication of a Unique Interpretation of the Fourth Noble Truth

 Unfolding the Eightfold Path: A Contemporary Zen Perspective  documents the author’s study of the Fourth Noble Truth, from his first encounter as a young man, throughout his life as a Zen practitioner, and into his elderhood.

This work presents a unique interpretation of the dynamic nature of the  “right” elements of right view, thought, effort, concentration, mindfulness, speech, action, and livelihood. Nine distinctive explanations for each of the categories explore an evolutionary view of their dynamic change from conceptual knowledge to liberating insight.

  With astute clarification this work offers an in-depth view for engaging the Eightfold Path at any stage of a practitioner’s experience. It offers a map for the transformational outcome of dedicated study, practice, and integration of the Fourth Noble Truth.  

 Unfolding the Eightfold Path demonstrates how to create coherent order out of the insights of a lifetime of practice.

Posted on March 1, 2014
Dokusan with Dogen: Timeless Lessons in Negotiating the Way

Barbara Verkuilen’s offering on Zen practice is being used by a number of Zen Center’s and Zen Groups as a study guide for Precept classes, introductory lessons, as well as a guidebook for experienced practitioner discussion. Its essence captures the high points of her relationships with the pioneering Soto Zen teachers over her 40+ years of temple and monastic practice.

“In the ten essays of Dokusan with Dogen, the author artfully discerns her favorite master’s teachings in an attempt to demystify various elements of Zen thought and philosophy. From the mindful practice of “just sitting” to the concepts of non-attachment, selflessness, and distinguishing [Dogen's understanding of] greater and lesser miracles, Verkuilen guides us with a gentle literary voice and hand along an old, but relevant spiritual path.”             –U. S. Review of Books

Discounts for bulk orders are available for this title and the others in our catalog. Contact us at 608 274-0822 or for more information.

Posted on November 4, 2012
Author Activities for July through December 2012

New Publications

Joe Kyugen Michaud’s book, Words within Silence: 108 Poems of Zen Awakening, has been added to the CATALOG. 108 is the number of beads in a traditional Hindu or Buddhist mala (string of beads), a number of rich symbology in both religions. Presented here are a mala of poems.

The author began a daily meditation practice in midlife that ultimately inspired him in his elderhood to write poems based on his studies of Buddhist and Taoist literature and Soto Zen practice. The poetry arose from a ‘spiritual opening’, sometimes as many as a half dozen poems a day, bubbling up from a place beyond concepts and language. Besides original poems relating to his personal practice, the author has written a number of poems that are versifications of Zen anecdotes found in Paul Reps’ book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.

Another of his collections entitled, Lost Time, will be available later in 2012.


Author Presentations and Readings

July 21 One-day seminar on Tending the Fire at Udumbara Zen Center Evanston, IL by Barbara and Dale Verkuilen

Sept 9  Presentation of The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li at the Des Moines, IA Zen Center by Barbara Verkuilen

Sept 10 – 13  Presentation of Firethroat Press offerings at Prairie Mountain Zendo in Longmont and Fort Collins CO by Barbara and Dale Verkuilen

Sept 17  Visit to Browser Bookstore in San Francisco by Barbara and Dale Verkuilen

Sept 19  Presentation of The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li at the East West Bookstore in Mountain View, CA by Barbara Verkuilen

Sept 23  Presentation of Tending the Fire at Jikoji Zen Monastery by Barbara and Dale Verkuilen

Sept 25  Presentation of The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li at Bamboo in the Wind Zen Center Sunnyvale, CA by Barbara Verkuilen

Sept 27  Presentation of The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li at the Many Rivers Bookstore in Sebastopol, CA by Barbara Verkuilen

Sept 28  Visit to Stone Creek Zen Center in Graton, CA by Barbara and Dale Verkuilen

Sept 29  Interview on the Mystical Positivist Radio Program by Barbara and Dale Verkuilen

Nov 2 – 4  Lead Women’s Retreat at Ryumonji Zen Monastery by Barbara Verkuilen

Nov 7  Presentation of The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li at the Wisconsin Book Festival by Barbara Verkuilen

Dec 5  Reading from Words within Silence: 108 Poems of Zen Awakening at the Milwaukee Zen Center by Joe Kyugen Michaud

Dec 6  Reading from Words within Silence: 108 Poems of Zen Awakening at the  Acupuncture Wellness Center in Madison, WI by Joe Kyugen Michaud

Posted on July 11, 2012

The Spring schedule of Book Presentations and Signings 

Barbara and Dale Verkuilen will be on the road presenting their books this spring in the South and East. In the fall (after a breather in the summer), they will continue their efforts, this time traveling to the West. Look for details in July. For this trip Barbara will present  The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li  at the bookstores, and Dale and Barbara will collaboratively offer Tending The Fire at the Zen Centers.


April 4   A Room of Ones’ Own Bookstore  Madison, WI

April 20 Middleton, WI Senior Center

April 29  Sanshin Community  Bloomington, IN

May 1     Atlanta Soto Zen Center  Atlanta, GA

May 2     Asheville Zen Center  Asheville, NC

May 3     Malaprops Books/Cafe  Asheville, NC

May 4     A Place to Breathe Meditation Studio   Charlottesville, VA

May 6     One More Page Bookstore Arlington, VA

May 17   Gibson’s Bookstore  Concord, NH

May 19   Visible Voice Books  Cleveland, OH

Posted on March 15, 2012
Tending the Fire: An Introspective Guide to Zen Awakening

The next title to be added to the Firethroat Press Catalog––Tending the Fire––is in the final stages of book design and will be sent to the printer in early February. Copies will be available around March 1.

The title Tending the Fire: An Introspective Guide to Zen Awakening comes from an ancient mondo, the public record of an exchange between a Zen master and disciple.

Prior Soku asked Master Hogen, “What is the student that is I?”

Master Hogen replied, “Children of fire come looking for fire.”

“What is the student that is I?” is the essential inquiry of every Zen practitioner.

Tending the Fire entertains this question with an in-depth investigation into the study and transformation of conditioned states, one of the three aspects of dukkha [cause of suffering]. Tending the Fire introduces an innovative, systematic approach for working with conditioned states that blends Zen training with a Western psychological method of introspection called the Resolution Sequence. The Resolution Sequence is a symbolic means of conveying information that assists practitioners with structuring, organizing, and understanding the process of awakening.

Posted on January 21, 2012
Verona Library Book Signing

Verona Library Verona, WI invites everyone to a presentation and book signing of The Tale of Zen Master Bho LI. The library will feature the 21 framed 11″ x 14″ illustrations of the book in their gallery during the month of February. The illustrator of the book, Aaron Gilmore, will be at the presentation to offer commentary on his work and to answer any questions.

- Where: Verona Public Library, 500 Silent Street, Verona, WI 53593
- When: Feb 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Posted on December 16, 2011
Woodland Book Pattern Bookstore Presentation

Woodland Book Pattern Bookstore and the Milwaukee Zen Center co-sponsor a presentation by Barbara Verkuilen of The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li.Barbara will present the book and commentary, offer a selected reading, and take questions. A tabletop display will exhibit its 21 illustrations. Barbara’s other two books––Dokusan with Dogen: Timeless Lessons in Negotiating the Way and Tending the Fire: An Introspective Guide to Zen Awakening will also be available for questions and signing.
- Where: Woodland Book Pattern Bookstore: 720 Locust St Milwaukee, WI
- When: Mar 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Posted on November 14, 2011
Isthmus Zen Community Presentation

Barbara Verkuilen presents The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li to the Isthmus Zen Community. Contact Dave Peters (608 221-3379) for event information.
Where: 408 S. Baldwin St. in Madison, WI.
– When:
November 9, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Posted on November 9, 2011
Ryumonji Zen Monastery

Barbara will speak on the three lessons of Zen Master Bho Li during the Women’s Retreat at Ryumonji Zen Monastery.
- Where: Ryumonji Zen Monastery, 2452 Ryumon Road Dorchester, IA 52140
- When: November 5, 2011

Posted on November 5, 2011
Kindred Spirit Bookstore Book Signing

Kindred Spirit Bookstore and Stevens Point Buddhist Congregation are co-sponsoring a book signing and presentation of The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li at the bookstore located at 1028 Main St. Stevens Point. Contact either L’aura Di Salvo at Kindred (715-342 4891) or Steve Bartelt (715 366-2444) for more information.

Posted on October 11, 2011
New Books Launch

Firethroat Press LLC makes its debuts by publishing two books, two study guides, and five essays [free downloads] on a variety of topics germane to Zen practice. Three additional books are planned for publication by winter 2011-2012.


The Tale of Zen Master Bho Li is a winsome fable by first time author, Barbara Verkuilen, and illustrated by Aaron Gilmore. The author states that, “the fable form of ‘story’ was chosen because it most ably enfolds mystery. Also, fables have the power to convey nuanced wisdom simply without minimizing impact, and sustain their power over time.”


Dokusan with Dogen: Timeless Lessons in Negotiating the Way, also by Ms Verkuilen, offers ten essays on Zen practice culled through forty years of studying the teachings of Zen Master Dōgen.

Please take a moment to peruse our Catalog and Downloads to see what is available now and what is forth coming in the near future.

Posted on August 1, 2011

Firethroat Press LLC is established with the goal of becoming a regional publisher for Zen Buddhist authors of books, training materials for young and old, and historical narratives and accounts that document the founding of the Zen Way in the Midwest.

Posted on January 1, 2011