A Glimpse of Nothingness by Janwillem van de Wetering
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London. Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1975. First U.K. Edition. Hardcover, clothbound w. pictorial cover. Book Condition: Fine. Jacket Condition: Fine, fading on spine w. tear on bottom right corner. 184pp. (ill. in colour & b/w).
Best known for his Detective novels, this is a much more personal and genuine look at the Dutch writer Janwillem van de Wetering. It deals with his visit to an anonymous zen settlement in a remote part of America founded by ‘Peter’, a fellow disciple at the monastery where he formerly lived in Japan, and now a Zen master in his own right.
While the two are navigating a new environment they still are oriented toward their inner spiritual search. The tone of the narrator is extroverted with a good-humored outlook on life, tempered by a long-continued practice of deep meditation and insight into Buddhist thought.
He conveys with clarity the fascination, bewilderment and frustration caused by the Zen way of koan training - and the degree to which success is relative to its practitioners, even when an insight might be attained. An arresting book, gentle and humorous, mindful but wry, it affords both a glimpse of enlightenment and Nothingness
As the master says in all seriousness, ‘life is a joke’ - the master sharing this with the readers marks perhaps a generous insight to the first moment of liberation