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I have listened to several books about Zen... mainly the one's written for a Westerner who has an interest in or cursory acquaintance with the practice. Shozan Jack Haubner's book seemed to fit that criteria, so I downloaded it. Also, this book's credit line lists Leonard Cohen as a contributor, which is also part of the reason I bought it.... Zen + Leonard Cohen, what more could I ask?
However, Leonard Cohen wasn't even mentioned in the book and that was a negative. I may have missed the Cohen intro or some other contribution, but as far as I could tell, he was nowhere to be found. I anticipated at least a reading by him and therefore was disappointed with this absence.
I forged on, though, because I do like a good memoir and "Zen Confidential" seemed to be a good beginner's book on Zen, written from the viewpoint of Shozan Jack Haubner, a former Catholic.
And it wasn't bad... & wasn't great.
Shozan Haubner seemed to veer a little too far towards simplifying the lessons he wanted to convey to his readers. He found that most of life's complex problems should be usefully compared with excrement -- and the act of producing or not being able to produce it.
This got a little tedious. Yeah, I get it. Life is full of IT. I'm sure we all have felt that is the case some, if not most, days. It's probably why religions and philosophies evolved to begin with. In order to deal with ordure.
But after a couple of chapters, I began to think, "Shouldn't I be getting more from this ordained teacher's observation than life is full of the never ending production of feces?"
But maybe that's Zen. Being hit over the head with the obvious while hoping to learn more of life's meaning. And assuming there must be more. Or else why even write a memoir, let alone read or listen to it.
My only other observation is about his narration. My Southern ear really had a time getting used to his vowels and accent. Was it Northeast with a bit of Japanese? I dunno. He pronounced Las Vegas like "VAG-us"' rhyming with "BAG-us." That drove me nuts.
You may get more from this book than I. If there was some Zen "thing" I didn't get other than life is a Big B.M., then I'm guessing that just may be the nature of the beast.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Highly recommended. The author links the guts and grime of being human with the innate desire and search for the beauty of the spiritual.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It was really fun, you end up getting a great lesson in Zen but in the opposite way than you would expect.
It's very personal and shows how everyone's journey and search is so unique.
Maybe even better if you have tried Buddhist or zen practice as there are some Buddhist terms. This book really trashes the idea of being holy or trying to improve yourself through a spiritual practice.
Of Russell Brand and the Dahlia Lama had a love child, this would be his story. Hilarious account of monetary life. Lifting the romantic veil that many of us have of what it is to be Zen. Shozan demonstrates a real and raw account of his struggle in Zen town. Good read.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful