A GLIMPSE OF NOTHINGNESS: Experiences in an American Zen Community by Janwillem van de Wetering

A GLIMPSE OF NOTHINGNESS: Experiences in an American Zen Community

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the second and last installment in a Dutch businessman's search for enlightenment--and it may well be the most down-to-earth account of the Zen discipline ever written for Westerners. Having grappled with the physical aches and spiritual frustration of meditation in a Japanese monastery (The Empty Mirror, 1974). van de Wetering now visits an American Zen community where his former fellow disciple, Peter, presides. Peter greets an overly ascetic new arrival by serving him a screwdriver (confiding that it ""loosened him up""). And van de Wetering himself has loosened up a bit--enough to dispose of the koan that has nagged him for years--all while washing dishes, chopping wood, or sharing his roommates' steady diet of turkey backs. Claiming to have just ""scratched the surface"" van de Wetering clears away thickets of intellectualization and mannered inscrutability and gets down to the ordinariness of Zen. Even those who normally reject spiritual trips (and ""religious"" books) as godawful bores will find this dogged, bourgeois seeker hard to ignore.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1975
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin