David Chadwick, a Texas-raised wanderer, college dropout, bumbling social activist, and hobbyhorse musician, began his study under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1966. In 1988 Chadwick flew to Japan to begin a four-year period of voluntary exile and remedial Zen education. In Thank You and OK! he recounts his experiences both inside and beyond the monastery walls and offers insightful portraits of the characters he knew in that world—the bickering monks, the patient abbot, the trotting housewives, the ominous insects, the bewildered bureaucrats, and the frustrating English-language students—as they worked inexorably toward initiating him into the mysterious ways of Japan. Whether you're interested in Japan, Buddhism, or exotic travel writing, this book is great fun.
About the Author
Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971) was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the twentieth century and is truly a founding father of Zen in America. A Japanese priest of the Soto lineage, he taught in the United States from 1959 until his death. He was the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. He is the author of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai, and he is the subject of the biography Crooked Cucumber by David Chadwick.
“Hats off to Chadwick. . . . His writer’s skill is evident in everything from skin-crawling descriptions of mukade (dreaded scorpion-like insects) to a benevolent look at takuhatsu, formal monks’ begging.”—Publishers Weekly
“Written down with good humor and keen observations. . . . This book is not a serious examination of Zen Buddhist practices nor a major study of East-West relations but a rollicking, anecdotal mishmash of incidents about the foibles of monks, abbots, ‘housewives,’ and fellow students of the author’s. Read with this understanding, this book is good entertainment.”—Library Journal
“Vivid, lighthearted, and unself-consciously profound.”—Kirkus Reviews
"The Catch-22 of Zen."—Daniel Leighton, author of Faces of Compassion
“Asked why Zen was brought from India to China, master Zhao Zhou replied, 'The oak tree in the garden.' This is exactly what Chadwick gives us here—no grand sweeping statements about the 'real' nature of Zen or Japan—just specific experience rendered with a peculiar intensity that lingers in your memory. The writing is excellent. The artistic integrity is the very finest.”—Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
"Totally delightful—fantastic couch potato Zen. Chadwick saves you the trouble of going to Japan by making all the mistakes for you."—Jack Kornfield