Two Shores of Zen: An American Monk's Japan
eBook (PDF), 194 Pages
When a young American Buddhist monk can no longer bear the pop-psychology, sexual intrigue, and free-flowing peanut butter that he insists pollute his spiritual community, he sets out for Japan on an archetypal journey to find “True Zen.” Arriving at an austere Japanese monastery and meeting a fierce old Zen Master, he feels confirmed in his suspicion that the Western Buddhist approach is a spineless imitation of authentic spiritual effort. However, over the course of a year and a half of bitter initiations, relentless meditation and labor, intense cold, brutal discipline, insanity, overwhelming lust, and false breakthroughs, he grows disenchanted with the Asian model as well. Two Shores of Zen weaves together scenes from Japanese and American Zen to offer a timely, compelling contribution to the ongoing conversation about Western Buddhism’s stark departures from Asian traditions. How far has Western Buddhism come from its roots, or indeed how far has it... More > fallen? www.ShoresOfZen.com< Less
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3 People Reviewed This Product
Sep 21, 2017Jiryu's account of his time in a Japanese monastery, and his reasons for going, is fresh and honest, and his courage in telling a tale that doesn't always show his younger self to be the Stone Buddha he takes himself for inspires trust. "Two Shores" is the "Empty Mirror" of our time; a probing, engaging record of one Westerner's encounter with Asian practice. Anyone who's troubled by our all-too-mortal Zen establishment; suffers from Real Zen Disorder; is interested in Japanese practice models; or just likes a good Zen yarn, should do the writer and themselves a favour and pick up a copy. For my complete in-depth review, see Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit. (Scroll down to "Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler" in the index on the left side of the blog.)
Dec 14, 2009I'm so happy to finally see this book come out. Various drafts have been passed around pockets of the American Zen community for the last few years, and now Jiryu has finally put out this "incomplete but final draft for the wide Sangha." It's a moving, wise, and laugh-out-loud funny narrative of a young, idealistic American Buddhist monk training in Japan. The tales of cultural misunderstanding are worth reading--funny and insightful--and the narrator's slow growth is surprisingly affecting. More than anything else, though, this book is inspiring in its portrait of a heart--a raw, clumsy, messy, beautiful heart-- given totally to bodhisattva practice. Five stars!
Dec 14, 2009This funny, candid and warm-hearted first book by Rutschman-Byler is a cult-classic in the making. His autobiographical adventures in Zen at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and the fictionalized “Gendoji” Monastery in Japan lead the reader on a hilarious romp through spiritual longing, human folly, and a transformative coming of age. No detail is spared, especially the author’s struggles, triumphs, and shortcomings. With fearlessness and wit, this Gen-Y author invites a much-needed dialog about the past, present and future of Buddhism in the West. No other book at the time of this review offers such a youthful and spirited sentiment.
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- Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler (Standard Copyright License)
- September 28, 2011
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