Nearly 30 years ago, van de Wetering, who would later achieve fame as a mystery novelist, published The Empty Mirror, about his experiences at a Zen monastery in Japan in the mid-60s. In 1975, he published a sequel, A Glimpse of Nothingness, about his stint at the Moon Springs Hermitage in Maine. Now the author has written a follow-up, AfterZen, told from the perspective of an aging soul who dropped most formal Zen practice years ago but still carries an abiding respect for the gut truths of the teaching and for at least some of its teachers. Much of the book has the air of the classic Zen saying, "If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him": with humor and occasional crankiness, van de Wetering knocks koans, meditation and some of the trappings of the monastic Zen life. There are many flashbacks, to Japan, to his American experiences, to meetings with fellow ex-students, and the book has a somewhat chaotic feel, rather more like life than art. Throughout, van de Wetering's voice is sincere, if iconoclastic. Those looking for composed wisdom should read Basho; those looking for an honest memoir by a perhaps wise man will find this to their taste. One Spirit alternate. (June) FYI: Also in June, van de Wetering's two earlier books, which have been out of print, are being reissued by St. Martin's/Dunne; Empty Mirror: $10.95 paper 160p ISBN 0-312-20774-3; Glimpse: $11.95 paper 192p ISBN -20945-2).
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This small and memorable memoir records the experiences of a young Dutch student who spent a year and a half as a novice monk in a Japanese Zen Buddhist monastery . . . What makes this account extraordinary is that the book contains none of the convert's irritating certitude. (Time Magazine)
What is accessible is the day-to-day description of life, of the monks themselves and of the others he met, of the jokes they played and the food they ate, of the moments of satori, the explosive moment of an understanding surpassing understanding. (Los Angeles Times)
Like a series of letters written to home from someone spending their first summer at an overnight camp. Very raw and unpretentious. Read morePublished 22 days ago by David R. Halperin
This is a simple account of JEs stay at a monastery. It's very readable,interesting, well written. I enjoyed the experience.Published 4 months ago by searching
Seminal Zen series by a terrific writer who went to Japan in the 1950's. I probably read this book 8 or 10 times. See also A Glimpse of Nothingness and AfterZen. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Fred Davis, Awakening Clarity Now
Entertains. I could connect with the main character. The ending left me feeling dull.Published 10 months ago by Deborah Purdy
One of my favorite if not my all-time favorite books. I don't even know how many times I've re-read it and given it away (matter of fact, I've had to buy it a ridiculous amount of... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Frank Miller
The book was in great condition and came promptly. The story is very good. Very satisfied.Published 12 months ago by Kerry Kowalchuk
I enjoyed this book. A quick read that gave me some insight into the Zin way of living.Published 12 months ago by M. Griffith