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    Zen Lit
     
    [ 作者: Will Blythe   来自:期刊原文   已阅:9052   时间:2007-1-16   录入:douyuebo


    ·期刊原文
                                          Zen Lit

                                              by Will Blythe

                                                   Esquire

                                      Vol. 125 No. 1  Jan.1996  P.28

                                         Copyright by Esquire



                                    
    Back in the Protestant fifties, that crypto-Buddhist Jack Kerouac foresaw a
    "rucksack revolution" in which "wandering Zen lunatics" would boxcar their
    way across America, slipping Zen into the native environment in the same
    way fluoride was being blended into the local water supplies. Well,
    improbably enough, forty years later, those Zen Americans have
    arrived--only they don't usually carry rucksacks (unless they're Prada),
    they don't often wander (unless they're on vacation), and, poignantly--at
    least to my rebellious heart-they're not lunatics at all! In fact, they're
    the sober, industrious citizens of the upper-middle class, more intrigued
    by real estate prices and school systems than lunacy of any stripe.
    "The Middle Way [of Buddha]," writes Helen Tworkov, the editor of Tricycle,
    the wonderful Buddhist quarterly, "became solidly middle class." She means
    that in the last decade, the emphasis on sudden enlightenment that a
    monastic regimen seeks gave way to a focus on ethics and daily behavior. It
    amounts to a kind of spiritual gentrification, the gradual takeover by a
    more prosperous class of a once-dicey neighborhood. This mainstreaming of
    American Buddhism may prove a commercial boon to such publishers as
    River-head, HarperCollins, and longtime purveyor of Buddhist lit Shambala.
    They offer the chattering classes bodhisattvas in place of popes and
    angels. Buddhism is inherently tasteful, the Ikea of religion.
    That's all the more reason to take note of two extraordinary new Zen
    narratives: Molly O'Halloran's Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind (Riverhead
    Books) and Lawrence Shainberg's Ambivalent Zen (out next month from
    Pantheon). They correct the middle-class notion of Zen as secular ethics,
    as a nifty course in self-improvement, as-Buddha forbid!--therapy. Pure
    Heart, O'Halloran's record of her stay in a Japanese Zen monastery, bubbles
    over with a lovely, if tough-minded, effervescence. It's impossible to
    resist an aspiring Zen master who likes to drink and sing "Auld Lang Syne"
    to her colleagues on New Year's Eve, then chortles that "these little monks
    know how to have fun." Shainberg's account of his life with Zen feels
    pickled with a kind of antiauthoritarianism, a skepticism mixed with deep
    yearning. His interest in Zen was occasioned by a desire to improve his
    basketball skills.
    Both books reveal that at the heart of Zen is a revolutionary experience of
    nothingness that can't really be written or talked about, though,
    fortunately, the impossibility didn't stop these two Zen aspirants from
    trying.
    PHOTO (COLOR): Zen Lit

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