Shoes Outside the Door: Desire, Devotion, and Excess at San Francisco Zen Center

Michael Downing

Published by Counterpoint, 2002
ISBN 10: 1582432546 / ISBN 13: 9781582432540
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Synopsis: Eastern tradition collides with Western individualism in this provocative and compulsively readable investigation of Buddhism, American-style. A genuine spiritual movement becomes strangely entangled with elitist aesthetics, the culture of celebrity, multi-million-dollar investment portfolios, sex scandals, and an unsolved crime.

Told Rashomon-fashion by a singular mix of hippies, millionaires, intellectuals, and lost souls whose lives are almost unbelievably intertwined, Shoes Outside the Door is the first book to examine the inner workings of the profoundly influential San Francisco Zen Center. In exploring the history of the most important institution in American Buddhism, author Michael Downing provocatively captures the profound ambivalence of people who earnestly seek both inner peace and worldly satisfaction.

Review: Why did the richest, most influential, highest flying Zen center in America crash and burn in 1983? Novelist Michael Downing wondered the same thing, and after three years of interviewing members and poring over documents, his Shoes Outside the Door tells the story. Womanizing, BMW-driving Richard Baker was the abbot and visionary behind the rapid growth of the San Francisco Zen Center, but in many ways he was the antithesis of his teacher and predecessor, the inimitable and revered Shunryu Suzuki, who would choose the bruised apples out of compassion. After the early death of Suzuki, a blind and driven cult formed around Baker, seemingly filling the void until this "Dick Nixon of Zen" finally slept with his best friend's wife and brought his world crashing to the ground. Working with direct quotations from students and workers of the Center and its many enterprises, Downing delivers a page-turning exposé of a community that is as laudable as it is laughable. And as an outsider to both the community and Buddhism, he does it with wit and an even hand. --Brian Bruya

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Title: Shoes Outside the Door: Desire, Devotion, ...
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Counterpoint, Washington D.C, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. First. 384 pp. Light general and edgewear to illustrated covers. Faint yellowing to edges of text block and outer page margins. Remainder mark to lower edge of text block. Internally unmarked; solidly bound. "The scandal that rocked San Francisco Zen Center in 1983 was potent enough to cast doubt on the entire matter of alternative religious practice in America." Size: Octavo. Remainder. Bookseller Inventory # 005384

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Book Description 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. "Not simply a narrative history: it raises the larger question of what constitutes the Americanization of Zen." Eastern tradition collides with Western individualism.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 384 pages. 0.535. Bookseller Inventory # 9781582432540

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Book Description COUNTERPOINT, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Eastern tradition collides with Western individualism in this provocative and compulsively readable investigation of Buddhism, American-style. A genuine spiritual movement becomes strangely entangled with elitist aesthetics, the culture of celebrity, multi-million-dollar investment portfolios, sex scandals, and an unsolved crime.Told Rashomon-fashion by a singular mix of hippies, millionaires, intellectuals, and lost souls whose lives are almost unbelievably intertwined, Shoes Outside the Door is the first book to examine the inner workings of the profoundly influential San Francisco Zen Center. In exploring the history of the most important institution in American Buddhism, author Michael Downing provocatively captures the profound ambivalence of people who earnestly seek both inner peace and worldly satisfaction. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781582432540

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