David Chadwick: Thank You and Okay An American Zen Failure in Japan



Of vignettes that highlighted the author s four year stay in Japan part f that time in a Zen monastery The author s tone is simple and very neutral and took me uite a while to sink into It helped when I remembered that a key precept Multi-Family Therapy of Buddhism is tobserve without judgement which is exactly what he was doing in written form In the end I got to know some characters whose humanity grew National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition on me and I learned a little about the author than when I started A sentence late in the book rang so true that it brought tears to my eyes I think we re all just plodding along and that is the true light Interesting memoirf the author s time in Japan I wasn t particularly interested in the zen specific aspects but much f the story is concerned with his wn life as well as the folks and situations he encounters in Japan Recommended although his jumping back and forth between his pre and post marital periods was a bit disconcertingThe influence f his teacher Katagiri Roshi plays a significant role in the narrative I d encountered Roshi as she refers to him Chadwick calls him Katagiri in the autobiographical novels by Natalie Goldberg her latest ne The Great Failure specifically deals with her feelings about him after his death Actually 35 stars It s a real flaw in this system that there is no half star A History of Prophecy in Israel, Revised and Enlarged optionn goodreads in my Think good thoughts about a pussycat opinionI enjoyed this book in a casual way It felt a little like reading a blogr two blogs spliced together than a memoir Mr Chadwick alternated between two periods One, Two, Three Me of his life in Japan with little vignettes about either his time at a Zen monasteryr his time teaching English and living with his wife He has a gentle way f writing and manages to be respectful f Japanese culture while still finding aspects Sex and Lust in Tijuana: True Sex Stories of the Tjamigos of it absurd especially bureaucratic aspects A problem Iften have with narratives f Westerners traveling to and living in Asia is their lack f respect for the culture and inability to recognize the absurdity Tea for Ruby of theirwn. Education In Thank You and OK he recounts his experiences both inside and beyond the monastery walls and The Life of Saint Philip Neri offers insightful portraitsf the characters he knew in that world the bickering monks the patient abbot the trotting housewives the minous ins.

A look at Japanese culture particularly Zen from an American Highlights the differences and friction points as well as compromises via scenes from his daily life in and ut f the monastery Interesting diary f a western zen student in Japan in the 80s a lot I only Like the Fingers of the Guy I Hate, Vol. 1 of inside baseball that might be hard to follow if you have no background in zenr know some The Whistle Pig of the figures from the San Francisco Zen Center I recommend reading Crooked Cucumber first Chadwick is entertaining at times but I would ve liked to have gotten a lot backstoryn his entry into the Zen world in the us prior to departing to Japan as well as his mindset in making the decision to make the leap He sort f glosses ver these areas in broad strokes This summer for my ten wedding anniversary I was supposed to go to Japan Obviously that s not happening so I ve decided to read some f my husband s favorite works n Japan Zen and US Americans in Japan Although I don t know how much Church Planting Is for Wimps: How God Uses Messed-Up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things of this experience still applies Chadwick lived in Japan in the late 80s it was delightful to read especially for insights into Zen practice and Zen temples and the Japanese language I would have given this book 4 stars if not for the length it just really slumps in the middle and I took a break from it However I do feel that this is an important book for people interested in Zen and Japan because it gives a very honest down to earth accountf the experience Often times the west is given a certain view A Stepdaughter In Heat of the eastne that nly shows the good and in fact romanticizes the east in some cases Mr Chadwick is great at illustrating the mundane in what is ften shown as fantastical and without fault I am not sure what I expected from this book after I read the back cover and decided to read it Maybe a travelogue maybe an exploration Rufus of Zen Buddhism and how it s practiced in Japan It wasn t particularly a travelogue and it was sortf an exploration f Zen Buddhism in Japan Rather it was a deeply personal series. David Chadwick a Texas raised wanderer college dropout bumbling social activist and hobbyhorse musician began his study under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1966 In 1988 Chadwick flew to Japan to begin a four year period f voluntary exile and remedial Zen.

Culture and Chadwick seemed to avoid that His friend Norman not so much I had a hard time with NormanAs for the writing style it was fine for my purposes What I mean by that is I read this book before I went to sleep at night and the chapters were short enough and lacking in stress and depth enough that I could easily put it down and go to sleep It s not the kind You Are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero!: Book One in the Just Make a Choice! Series of book to keep you up readingr thinking all night As a going to bed book it is excellent As a book to learn r think about deeper issues it s just kayAs a solitary Zen practitioner I do harbor a fantasy Women and Social Work: Towards a Woman-Centered Practice of living the monastic life some day and Chadwick s experience helped me understand the realityf it better and also the silliness f Western expectations f practicing in the motherland f ur adopted system This book is just fantastic It s eual parts Buddhist travelogue well a travelogue that takes place within a temple and Japanese cultural analysis The author seems clear eyed and willing to uestion his Sins of Treachery own conceptions except when it comes to some silly Buddhistrthodoxy and it makes for wonderfully entertaining prose Makes me want to live somewhere that I don t understand Of all the books I ve read n Buddhism this completely unassuming memoir by David Chadwick is by far the closest to my wn experience After training for many years at the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Chadwick moved to Japan for a few years to study in the traditional training He herein recounts his experiences with seemingly limitless reserves My Grandfather's Prison: A Story of Death and Deceit in 1940s Kansas City of alertness humor warmth and accuracy He masterfully conveys the heartf his practice along with its inevitable bewilderment and gives an evocative and entertaining portrait f the life f a gaijin wayseeker in Japan When Eihei Dogen said The life Whos Next? Guess Who! of practice is a continual mistake he surely didn t mean that with a wink like It s not REALLY a mistake The essencef Zen is falling short and by that metric this American Zen failure is a spectacular success. Ects the bewildered bureaucrats and the frustrating English language students as they worked inexorably toward initiating him into the mysterious ways f Japan Whether you're interested in Japan Buddhism r exotic travel writing this book is great fu.

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