Synopses & Reviews
“This punk of a monk, who should be tending to his own affairs, has decided to infect the real world with his tall tales, and worse, to let the cat out of the bag. And what a sly, dangerous, beautiful, foul-smelling, heart-warming beast it is.”—Leonard Cohen, from the foreword
These hilarious essays on life inside and outside a Zen monastery make up the spiritual memoir of Shozan Jack Haubner, a Zen monk who didn’t really start out to be one. Raised in a conservative Catholic family, Shozan went on to study philosophy (becoming de-Catholicized in the process) and to pursue a career as a screenwriter and stand-up comic in the clubs of L.A. How he went from life in the fast lane to life on the stationary meditation cushion is the subject of this laugh-out-loud funny account of his experiences. Whether he's dealing with the pranks of a juvenile delinquent assistant in the monastery kitchen or defending himself against claims that he appeared in a porno movie under the name "Daniel Reed" (he didn't, really) or being surprised in the midst of it all by the compassion he experiences in the presence of his teacher, Haubner's voice is one you'll be compelled to listen to. Not only because it's highly entertaining, but because of its remarkable insight into the human condition.
"American Buddhist monk Haubner (a pseudonym) asks his readers to 'lease be embarrassed for me' in provocative essays exploring his experiences of Zen. The author's search to 'grow into a true human being' is described with startling metaphors, acute insights, and humor (his seduction by the 'lush, seething dharma' of American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron's writing is priceless). Haubner writes of defecating in his robes rather than leave his post at a meditation session; musing on the abortion 'koan' due to a pregnancy scare; tormenting his oddball kitchen assistant. Tender portraits emerge as Haubner brings hard-won Zen insights to the legacy of a sometimes violent, 'radical conservative' father, and finds a beloved mentor in a hard-living former Zen monk. The collection is uneven: funny, self-deprecating essays about the hard realities of life as a Zen monk jostle against sometimes self-indulgent dissections of his nastier traits. Overall, Haubner's unorthodox take on the spiritual search, marked by moments of grace, and his strength as an essayist will win over a specific audience willing to accept his dare. Some women readers may find it to be offensive lad lit. (May 14)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Shozan Jack Haubner is the pen name of a Zen monk whose humorous essays have appeared in Tricycle, Buddhadharma, the Shambhala Sun, and The Sun, as well as in the Best Buddhist Writing series. He is the winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize. The events described in his book are true. Shozan’s name has been changed to protect the innocent.