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Four Men Shaking: Searching for Sanity With Samuel Beckett, Norman Mailer, and My Perfect Zen Teacher
Contributor(s): Shainberg, Lawrence

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ISBN: 1611807298     ISBN-13: 9781611807295
Publisher: Shambhala Pubns
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Binding Type: Paperback
Published: July 2019
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Annotation: "Due to what he calls his "inexplicably good karma," writer Lawrence Shainberg's life has been filled with relationships with legendary writers and renowned Buddhist teachers. In this engaging memoir, Shainberg weaves together the narratives of three of these relationships: his literary friendships with Samuel Beckett and Norman Mailer, and his long teacher-student relationship with the Japanese Zen master Kyudo Nakagawa. In Shainberg's lifelong pursuit of both writerly success and Zen equanimity, each of these men come to represent an important aspect of his experience. The brash, combative Mailer becomes a symbol in Shainberg's mind for the Buddhist concept of "form," while the elusive and self-deprecating Beckett seems to him to embody "emptiness." Through it all is Nakagawa, the earthy, direct Zen teacher continuously encouraging Shainberg to let go of his endless rumination and accept the present as it is"--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Spiritual life; Zen Buddhism.
BISAC Categories:
- Religion | Buddhism
- Biography & Autobiography | Literary
- Biography & Autobiography | Personal Memoirs
Dewey: 294.3/927092
LCCN: 2018049034
Academic/Grade Level: General Adult
Book type: Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 6.75" H x 4.75" W x 0.25" (0.40 lbs) 112 pages
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2019 May #1)

In his enthralling memoir, novelist and Zen Buddhist Shainberg (Ambivalent Zen) explores questions about writing, spiritual practice, and brain damage through his personal relationships with Norman Mailer, Samuel Beckett, and Kyudo Nakagawa. Shainberg points to an early turning point in his life when, during a session with a therapist, he was freed of his impulses and became able to accept the present moment with equanimity. After this experience, he writes of how he conceived of the main tension in his life: the twofold desires to create form out of emptiness, and to see emptiness as an underlying form. Shainberg spends most of the book teasing apart this tension. In his estimation, Mailer and Beckett responded to this tension differently: Mailer embraced form, struggling to make sense of the vicissitudes of the everyday; Beckett embraced emptiness, lingering in the void of meaninglessness. Lurking in the middle between form and emptiness—and calling Shainberg to return to the present moment—is the Zen teacher Kyudo Nakagawa. Shainberg's enlightening memoir about three transformative relationships is accessible, deceptively simple, and wise. (July)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.
 
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