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Zen Confidential: Confessions Of A Wayward Monk (2013)

by Shozan Jack Haubner(Favorite Author)
3.68 of 5 Votes: 4
1611800331 (ISBN13: 9781611800333)
review 1: Although I'm admittedly working with a small sample size, I'm getting the impression that any book with "confidential" in the title really includes confidential information I don't want to know - rather than information of use to me. In a word: confidences. Of which Haubner offers in abundance. He's the stock character who often appears in travel stories: the guy sitting in the airplane seat next to you who just can't seem to shut up. Hauber was a mess before he found Zen (aimless days described with more of a sense of pride than of shame). And, now that he's found Zen ... he's still pretty much a mess. Except he's gotten more graphic about it. The busy, overwrought tone of the book suggests someone working overtime to be "interesting". Probably the same way he decided to ... morebe a monk: to be "interesting". And I think that the overload of scatalogical material in these pages was also added to make the story "interesting" (don't read the first chapter while you're eating). All of these strategies have failed. I don't find Hauber interesting - and his book is a huge bore. It's not about Zen. It's about a neurotic writer - desperate for approval - who has a shaved head, and doesn't have sex. Anyone who is interested in the Zen lifestyle, without all the jibber jabber, will find AN EMPTY MIRROR (Janwillem van de Wetering) to be a much better choice.
review 2: Ordained American monk Haubner peels back the layers of mysticism that surround Zen practice with this entertaining look at the daily realities of the monastic life. With more scatalogical references and detail than a Danny Boyle movie, and often packed with what seems like Too Much Information (which you're warned about early) along with relentless puns and alliteration, Haubner does seem at times to be trying too hard to be the Anthony Bourdain of the robed set. That said, a unique and important book about the realities of monastic practice. Thich Nhat Hanh this ain't. With a forward by Leonard Cohen, who studied at the same California monastery. less
Reviews (see all)
This was a weird one! It's worth reading just for the insight into the mind of a modern monk.
Provacative, funny reality of living and discovering life.
Zen of anal fixation.
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