Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk

Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk

4.7 15
by Shozan Jack Haubner, Leonard Cohen
     
 

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“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

Overview

“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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
From the Publisher
“The author’s search to ‘grow into a true human being’ is described with startling metaphors, acute insights, and humor. . . . 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.”—Publishers Weekly

“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

“This is the funniest, most genuine spiritual memoir I have ever read. It feels odd to call it a memoir, given how it is chock full of genuine Buddhist insight. A must-read, especially for those of us who have been accused of being in gay porn films.”—Lodro Rinzler, author of The Buddha Walks into a Bar…

Zen Confidential has a virtue rare in spiritual books, it includes the whole of life. Here we have sex, bathroom customs of the monastery, politics, suicide, drugs, meanness, marriage, standup comedy, Las Vegas, koans and a 105-year-old Zen master.  It’s a window into a magical world that pretends to be ordinary and an ordinary world that is magical. Haubner has an acute eye for the ridiculousness of the world and a larger-than-life way of seeing. It’s a fresh, living account of this kind of Zen in America and of living well and serving the way.” —John Tarrant, author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros and Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life

Library Journal
09/01/2013
A good Zen monk needs determination, courage, and devotion—but above all, he needs a willing disposition. A ready wit and a clever comeback help as well. Shozan Haubner (a pseudonym) has all these characteristics. He surely got his start on them in his earlier life as a stand-up comic and Hollywood screenwriter. More recently he's been head monk at a Zen monastery in California. The head monk in the monastery does ordinary business such as scheduling and procurement, sees to monastic discipline, and serves as aide to the abbot. In these "personal vignettes" that Haubner began at the start of his Zen journey, he writes of finding the work challenging and at times exciting. His abbot (amazingly) is 105 years old and so requires the head monk's constant care. This author helps readers see that out of all this more or less ordinary work, coupled with constant meditation, can come the enlightenment a Zen monk seeks. VERDICT This refreshing book avoids the usual clichés. A strong choice for anyone trying to live an attentive and well-examined life.—James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611800333
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
609,271
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

By Way of a Foreword
This is the best account I have ever read of the education of a Zen monk in America.

I was ordained a long while ago. Shortly thereafter my teacher let me know that I was a “pretend monk.” That was true. I was in it for the robes.

Shozan Jack Haubner has trained for more than nine years with a teacher whom I love, on a mountain that I know. Difference is, he is the real deal. He stuck it out while (many years before he arrived) I escaped.

But now 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, heartwarming beast it is. We can almost forgive him.

If you are interested in these matters, this is a book you will enjoy. If you want to go a little deeper, this is a book you will need.

—Jikan Leonard Cohen

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“The best account I have ever read of the education of a Zen monk in America.”—Leonard Cohen

“This is the funniest, most genuine spiritual memoir I have ever read. It feels odd to call it a memoir, given how it is chock full of genuine Buddhist insight. A must-read, especially for those of us who have been accused of being in gay porn films.”—Lodro Rinzler, author of The Buddha Walks into a Bar…

Zen Confidential has a virtue rare in spiritual books, it includes the whole of life. Here we have sex, bathroom customs of the monastery, politics, suicide, drugs, meanness, marriage, standup comedy, Las Vegas, koans and a 105-year-old Zen master.  It’s a window into a magical world that pretends to be ordinary and an ordinary world that is magical. Haubner has an acute eye for the ridiculousness of the world and a larger-than-life way of seeing. It’s a fresh, living account of this kind of Zen in America and of living well and serving the way.” —John Tarrant, author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros and Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life

Meet 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.

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Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Groundbreaking, hilarious, irreverent...did I mention hilarious? Oh, and insightful. Imagine if Hunter S. Thompson absconded to a monastery to get clear on life: that's Zen Confidential in a nutshell. A compelling, powerfully written memoir that moved and challenged me the whole way through. A wonderful journey for those looking to explore the multifaceted life of a monk who's no saint, just a great writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought and read thisbook with great expactations. It failed on all accounts. The authors attemts at humor are juvenile with constant reference to bodily waste, farting, scratcing. He attempt to use expletives humorously which when done well can be quite funny. But when done poorly, as is the case here, just sounds like playground cursing laced banter. By thinly scanning the chapters, I was able to find someo nuggets of very useful insight. So, if you are looking for a humorous book, this doesn't work. If you are looking for insight into eother or both Buddism or monastic life it fails again on that subject. This was a waste of my money and a real waste of time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: none yet. Rank: kit. Appearence: brown pelt. Black stripes down back. White tail tip. Grey paws. Amber eyes. Age: day old. Parents: none. Update soon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pantherpaw is a thick short pelted shecat with midnight black pelt. A long graceful tail and amber eyes. She is 8 moons and needs a mentor. She has no crush or anything of that matter. Shes shy but has a kind heart and is loving ad playful when he gets past her shynessunknown family. She as raised by a rogue named Sport
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Age nine moons. Crush none mate none kits none. Description all black with white tigerstripes down my back. Is overdue for a warrior. Theme song. Bassnecter teleport massive
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
R0w@n|@$h. 7 moons. Tom. White tom with blood matted tail and green eys. Med.cat. Voletail(mom) Greenlungs(dad) Dizzypaw(sis) Moonpaw(sis.) Treerush(bro.) Logpaw(bro.) No mate. Singerstar is my crush and I have no kits.+++++++ $erpentp@w. 7 moons. Tom. Blue grey tom. Red eyes. Roughwater(only known bro.) Mate: no. My crush is secret and my kits are none.&&&&& D@$hingtail. 12 moons. Tom. Orange tom with white striped sides. Amber eyes. Tailed(mom) Goxheart(dad.) Leapfern(sis.) Bookpage(sis.) Cloudpelt(bro.) No mate crush or kits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gender"She cat Rank"warrior Appearance"calico with blue eyes Family"all deceasdl Mate/crush"none
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bayhearth.<br>21 moons.<br>Tom.<br>Former mate of Hissgaze.<br>Father of Yeildheart.<br>Has a crush on Alchemyclaw.<br>Competitive. Fierce. Sometimes gentle.<br>He is tan, with black 'diamonds' on his chest and daek gray eyes.<br>Son of Harlequinwing. Nephew of Jestershade, Cinderjay, and Heart. Grandson of Bay and Fath. Cousin of Ninebadger, Shiverclaw, Marblepaw, and Jadekit.<br>He was raised in a rouge and forceful enviorment. He and Hissgaze were 'arranged mates'. She annoyed the Dark Forest out of him.<p>Yeildheart.<br>12 moons.<br>Tom.<br>No crush.<br>No kits.<br>No mate.<br>Annoying. Sly. <br>He is a strange shade of gray with dark stripes on his bangs and forelegs. Green eyes.<br>Son of Bayhearth and Hissgaze.<br>He was raised by an abusive mother, and Bayhearth walked off when he was 10 moons.<p>Rubyscorch.<br>11 moons.<br>Shecat.<br>No crush.<br>No kits.<br>No mate.<br>Shy. Friendly. Fretful.<br>She is a ruby red, hense her name. She has black ears and tailtip.<br>Daughter of unknown cats.<br>She travels with Yeildheart, he's like her brother. History otherwise unknown.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Stormshadow... Will accept being called shadow <p> Mostly light grey. Dark grey streaks and a black tail tip. Dark blue eyes. <p> No mate, crush, or kits <p> No kin in this clan. Had a sister named Dove <p> Siggy (doesnt really use it but here it is) &zeta &star Storm &zeta &star