Author(s): Shozan Jack Haubner
In this sequel to the laugh-out-loud funny Zen Confidential, the author finds even more humor and wisdom in his experiences as a Buddhist monk in confrontation with an often puzzling world.
Fans of the hilarious essays that made up the author's first book, Zen Confidential, will find even more hilarity here--along with Zen insight applied to the things that happen in this thing called daily life. Whereas Shozan Jack Haubner's first book presented the Zen teaching in terms of outhouse-building, oyroki-bowl-stacking, and anatomy adjustment as one takes one seat on the zafu, this one goes deeper into experiences of love, death, and sex. And though the writing is still funny, it bears the mark of a guy who's been through the mill and who's come back to save all beings. The wide-ranging experiences of this funny and insightful monk--both inside and outside the monastery--include his memories of the dysfunctional Midwestern family life that led him ultimately to Zen practice (with a father resembling Mel Gibson on a bad day) and his confrontation with the everyday insanity that seems to arise whenever anyone declares, "I think I should be a monk!" Among the less-funny stuff is his harrowing brush with death from pancreatitis and his moving experience of the death of a dear friend. There's also a graphic account of the night he got stoned and went "over the wall" from the monastery to have some real fun. That he pulls it all off and it's still hilarious, moving, and profoundly expressive of Zen wisdom is a tribute to Haubner's gifts as a writer and humorist, but also to the sincerity of his practice. The insight makes the humor even funnier somehow, and the humor makes the insight hit home with much power.
"Shozan Jack Haubner has the rare, the enviable, gift of being sneakily wise, un-pious, liberating, and 1000 percent himself, all while not seeming to take too much too seriously. I've grown drunk on his pieces--teetotaler though I am--for years now, and keep foisting his exhilaratingly honest, unique, fearless and sometimes scurrilous essays on everyone I care about. The man sounds as if he knows Zen practice so deeply that he's come out at the other end, full of candor, fresh air and the constant slaps of humor that are all that can wake some of us up as we fall into our ruts and fantasies of happy endings. Reading Single White Monk, I had to keep a notebook by my side to catch the startling truths--about death, about ego, about suffering--that kept flashing out from its riotous pages. What a joy to encounter a monk who can write with such unbuttoned urgency, and a writer who can sit still while everything is falling apart around (and within) him."--Pico Iyer
"Shozan Jack Haubner has written a beautiful book that both Buddhist practitioners and general readers will love. Gifted as a writer, he will have you laughing out loud until your sides hurt, then experiencing the deepest pain over our fragility and flaws as humans (even if we are master Zen teachers), and finally feeling gratitude for his hard-won dharma wisdom. Single White Monk, as one man's spiritual journey, is existentially raw, bawdy, spiritually refined, and satisfies in every way I can imagine."--Charles Johnson, author of Middle Passage and Taming the Ox
Shozan Jack Haubner is the pen name of a Zen monk whose essays have appeared in The Sun, Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and the New York Times, as well as in the Best Buddhist Writing series. The winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, he is also the author of Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk.