Waking Up: A Week Inside a Zen Monastery

Jack Maguire, Author Skylight Paths Publishing $21.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-893361-13-3
Welcome to Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, N.Y. Zen monasteries, Maguire (The Power of Personal Storytelling) reminds us, are devoted to ""facilitating zazen,"" a form of Zen meditation. Nowadays one can go to Zen centers or zendos (meditation halls) to practice zazen, but monasteries, with their unhurried quietude, remain the best spot. This guide introduces readers to Zen sacred space via the design of traditional monasteries (the Zen Mountain Monastery is ""Oz-like,"" says Maguire). Maguire also expands readers' notions of who goes to a Buddhist monastery--Christians, multifaith experimenters and ""hopefully happy wanderers"" can all find a place at Zen Mountain. Maguire cautions that while time in a monastery can be relaxing, it can also be quite a challenge. Sitting still for half an hour is no mean feat for the novice, and retreatants may be assigned to an onerous chore, such as cleaning toilets or weeding the garden. In a particularly helpful chapter, Maguire explores Zen time, describing the ""natural rhythm"" of a day in the monastery: the community rises at dawn, eats its most substantial meal in the middle of the day, and so on. A useful directory of Zen monasteries, zendos and retreat centers fills out the book. Readers who would like to try a retreat at a Zen monastery, or simply want to experience it vicariously, will enjoy this helpful slice-of-life approach. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 189 pages - 978-1-893361-55-3
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-68336-474-0
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