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Special Karma: A Zen Novel of Love and Folly Paperback – November 2, 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Special Karma is a beautiful little book, and anyone interested in Zen practice viewed through a very personal lens will find value in it." - Philip Ryan, Tricycle Magazine

"I want to express my gratitude for Benezra's steady view of Zen practice--both its shining beauty and its shadows. Benezra has illuminated important topics in a well written, gripping novel." - Abbess Myoan Grace Schireson, author of Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters

"Special Karma is the only novel I know of that presents the theme of the sexual misconduct of a Zen master, a delicate subject Benezra handles with understatement and irony. I hope you will read Special Karma with as much pleasure as I have." - Sandy Boucher, author of Turning the Wheel: American Women Create the New Buddhism

"For anyone interested in the fine-print of spiritual life, Special Karma is special indeed, a wonderful picture of what it is like when the challenge is accepted and the implications of that invitation are, for better and for worse, embraced." - Genkaku Adam Fisher, author of Answer Your Love Letters: Footnotes to a Zen Practice

"It is my sincere hope that the continued dialogue prompted by such courageous and revelatory writing as Merry's will keep the pressure on." - Genjo Marinello, Abbot of Chobo-Ji, Seattle.

A wonderful evocation, Special Karma is part of the opening up of a desperately needed conversation about what is genuine in the "spiritual" quest - in Zen in particular. – Eric Storlie, author of Nothing on My Mind: Berkeley, LSD, Two Zen Masters, and a Life on the Dharma Trail

From the Back Cover

"Special Karma is a fascinating novel, of interest to anyone who has attempted to do meditation practice or follow a spiritual discipline, to anyone who has fallen in and out of young love. In it one experiences the intensity of life deeply apprehended, the attractiveness of a character who is both honest about and just slightly amused by the events of her life. Central to the story is the theme of a spiritual teacher (the Japanese Zen Roshi) who abuses his position by initiating sexual liaisons with his female students--and whose approaches to the protagonist, Iris, ultimately lead to her disillusionment about practicing Zen and living in a Zen center. Special Karma is the only novel I know of that presents the theme of the sexual misconduct of a Zen master. Benezra handles this delicate subject with an understatement and irony consistent with the thoughtful, personal tone of the whole book. I hope you will read Special Karma with as much pleasure as I have." - Sandy Boucher, author of Turning The Wheel: American Women Creating The New Buddhism
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453887210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453887219
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,422,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Special Karma" will resonate with anyone who has tried to follow an Eastern spiritual practice based on meditation, whether Buddhism or yoga. Benezra also deals subtly with a touchy topic -- spiritual leaders who cross sexual boundaries with their students, betraying their trust. Maybe a little too subtly -- I would like to have seen this theme explored in a greater depth, especially how it affected the main character's spiritual practice and sense of herself. However, that's my only criticism of this beautifully written book. Benezra fully conveys the stark simplicity of dedicated Zen practice, and her descriptions of the natural environment nicely echo the main character's internal states. She also conveys all the meanderings of a mind struggling to empty itself, and the desire of some meditators to escape their internal conflicts rather than face them. This is a must-read for anyone who is intelligently considering the meditative life, as well as anyone attracted by the beauty and simplicity of Zen practice.
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Format: Paperback
This novel speaks of both a very accurate view from the authors perspective (as well as many others who lived at this Zen training monastery) and a beautiful gift for crafting sentences that often move with poetic lightness and depth. It describes exactly what can happen in a monastic setting when leadership fails and exploits, but at the same time the courage and integrity of a besieged student remain intact within normal human vulnerabilities.
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_Special Karma_ is a beautifully written novella that addresses the humor and toughness required of any person on a spiritual journey. Nothing sappy about it. Author Benezra makes this tale accessible to readers outside of the zen community, but never talks down to any reader. If you are interested in how religious institutions, no matter how lovely, sometimes fail their members and defer to the powerful, then you'll learn from this book and appreciate what it says about life--both physical and spiritual--going on.
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Didn't like this book at all. I gave it away as quickly as possible and the person I gave it to hated it.
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just plain junk period

also, this turned out to be one of those books lately printed up to order , apparently, by Amazon.

I tossed it into the recycle bin.

avoid
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