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A Glimpse of Nothingness: Experiences in an American Zen Community
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A Glimpse of Nothingness: Experiences in an American Zen Community

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The description of a Zen path of one Westerner who began by seeking for the sense of it all, and who came to realize at least a part of it.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 15th 1999 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1974)
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a cute and light foray into an American Zen Buddhist monastery through the eyes of a Dutchman. enjoyed all the little buddhist asides about the Buddha Nature, knowing nothing, being nothing. Some notable quotes " Real wisdom can never be expressed in words", "man is a collection of ever-changing properties, housed in an ever-changing body", "buddhism is negative. it tells you only what it is not. it is only specific about its methods. it suggests taht you should create your own situations, rathe ...more
Oct 01, 2012 Eric added it
Shelves: zen
I think I tend to like this sort of first-person stuff (eg. Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity). Makes for good light reading, no pressure. Was also interesting to see a bit of life on the Rinzai end of the spectrum.

Gotta say, the book overall had a weirdly gloomy and lonely feel… The atmosphere reminded me of that Philip K. Dick novel with that slightly-broken kid on Mars that could see everybody through time. So pretty traumatising for him because every time
Jun 06, 2008 Justin added it
I'm reading this because a friend gave it to me for my birthday. It was very nice of him, although his insights are more interesting than some of those in the book. I am on day five of a juice cleanse right now. It feels hard, but not as hard as the form of Zen described in the book. I am enjoying it because I have a little experience with Zen and because it is a story. There are better stories and better books about Zen. But that's not a reason to put it down.


Done now. No need to fall into
Jan van de Wetering continues his exploration of Zen Buddhism. Some ten years ago, he had spent time in a Japanese Zen monastery and studied with a Master. While there for a year and a half, he was given a koan, a riddle of sorts, to solve and left before reaching any enlightenment. The koan did not lay dormant and through chance encounters, Jan finds himself staying in the United States at a newly established Zen community of one of the disciples of his previous Master.

Brisk and amusing read.
I read a lot about Zen Buddhism, but find it hard to write about what I've read. This book is honest, straight-forward and not about philosophy, but a day-by-day description of life in an American Zen commarde as the surrounding Americans call it. I found it enlightening with a small "e". I would recommend it to someone getting their feet wet in the concepts of Zen.
Fred lent this to me, and it was a pretty fascinating look at quasi-monastic Zen training in the U.S. Not fluffy or overly hardcore, and the author makes no attempt to look good for his closeup.
i found this book entertaining and helpful. and as someone who sits (meditates) in a zen-esque manner every day it's a rare zen-related book that strikes me as both.
I came to this after reading the Amsterdam mysteries, and the first book The Empty Mirror. This is zen with self-deprecation. That helps.
What I wrote right after I read it: An extremely good writer combined with a very interesting topic left me wanting to know more.
Mar 06, 2007 Davin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: zen
Like the title says, in this second book of the author's Zen experience he starts to get somewhere. Inspiring.
This one takes us to where Jan leaves off after The Empty Mirror. It was interesting to hear how he had matured.
Echoed my skepticism, which I appreciated. Also got me to meditate. :)
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