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The Lone Ranger and Tonto Meet Buddha: Masks, Meditation, and Improvised Play to Induce Liberated States

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Peter Coyote

6 Hours 10 Minutes

Inner Traditions Audio

January 2022

Audio Book Summary

• Shares a series of mindfulness techniques and improv exercises with masks to suppress the ego, calm the mind, and allow spontaneous playfulness and spaciousness to arise from your deepest nature

• Draws on Buddhist philosophy to describe how and why the exercises work

• Woven throughout with a lighthearted parable of an overweight and out-of-work Lone Ranger and Tonto who meet Buddha and experience spiritual awakening

Sharing a series of mindfulness techniques and acting exercises that show how malleable the self can be, award-winning actor, narrator, and Zen Buddhist priest Peter Coyote reveals how to use masks, meditation, and improvisation to free yourself from fixed ideas of who you think you are and help you release your ego from constant defensive strategizing, calm the mind’s overactivity, and allow spontaneous playfulness to arise out of your deepest nature. Developed through 40 years of research and personal study, Coyote’s synthesis of mask-based improv games and Zen practices is specifically designed to create an ego-suppressed state akin to the mystical experiences of meditation or the spiritual awakenings of psychedelics. After preparatory exercises, seeing yourself in a mask will temporarily displace your familiar self and the spirit of the mask will take over.

Likening the liberated state induced by mask work to “Enlightenment-lite,” Coyote draws on Buddhist philosophy to describe how and why the exercises work as well as how to make your newly awakened and confident self part of daily life. In true Zen form, woven throughout the narrative is a lighthearted parable of an out-of-work Lone Ranger and Tonto, who meet Buddha and experience spiritual awakening. Illuminating the lessons of mask work, the transformation of the Lone Ranger mirrors that of the individual pursuing this practice, revealing how you will come to realize that the world is more magical and vaster than you thought possible.

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