Synopses & Reviews
When Lawrence Shainberg was first introduced to Zen Buddhism in 1951, he thought it might improve his basketball game. It did not. It did, however, set in motion a lifelong spiritual journey that led him from the books of Alan Watts and D. T. Suzuki to the rigorous form of meditation known as zazen. His passion for Zen endured years of doubt and physical duress until he found what he'd been seeking in the person of an unassuming Japanese master who told him, "Larry-san, if you sacrifice everything, you won't be afraid of anything".
Alternately comic and reverential, and always brutally honest, Ambivalent Zen is a chronicle of the rewards and dangers of spiritual ambition and a poignant reflection of the experiences faced by many Americans involved in the Zen movement.
"As this poignant memoir's title suggests, Zen discipline brought bliss, frustration, moments of absurdity as well as transcendence....His luminous self-portrait makes us feel Zen as a lived experience." Publishers Weekly
"Valuable and accessible....A forthright, unromanticized memoir of an iffatuation with Zen." Chicago Tribune
"Shainberg chronicles the troubles path of the seeker with insight and self-deprecating wit." San Francisco Chronicle
"Shainberg..builds character with the skill of a fine novelist [and] never elevates a spiritual platitude on one page that he doesn't bring crashing down in a hail of laughter on the next." Washington Post Book World
Seeking help with his basketball game, Shainberg embraced Zen Buddhism in 1951 and was catapulted on a life-long spiritual journey. Alternately comic and reverential, Ambivalent Zen chronicles the rewards and dangers of spiritual ambition and presents a poignant reflection of the experiences faced by many Americans involved in the Zen movement.