- File Size: 575 KB
- Print Length: 67 pages
- Publisher: The Atlantic Books (December 4, 2013)
- Publication Date: December 4, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00GMVTPYI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,868 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Similar to the now classic "Shoes Outside The Door" (about Richard Baker's scandal at the San Francisco Zen Center network) this book chronicles the rise and fall of a ruthless and charismatic sociopath who used Zen Buddhism as a cover and deftly exploited the ludicrous gullibility, desperation and cowardice of an otherwise quite admirable and respectable community to indulge in scandalous, even criminal, behavior for decades (Baker at least got booted out much faster).
Like Downing, Oppenheimer occasionally displays some gaps in his understanding of Zen, but also like Downing, these gaps are quite minor and do not really hurt the story.
What is somewhat disappointing is that despite the fact that Eido Shimano's twisted reign at Dai Bosatsu Zen Center lasted at least five times longer than Baker's at SFZC, Oppenheimer's book is no more than one fifth the length of Downing's book---this more than anything serves as a striking reflection of just how closed-off Shimano's community remains compared to SFZC, where Downing was able to freely accumulate far more material to cover a much shorter-lived period of infamy that was also much narrower in scope. This is the main reason that this reviewer has chosen to rate this book 4 rather than 5 stars.
Perhaps after Shimano's eventual passing, more individuals and information will come to light in order to enable a more comprehensive investigation and retelling of the sorry events that occurred. In the meantime, Oppenheimer's slim volume can be viewed as a teaser of sorts.