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

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Counterpoint, 2002 - History - 416 pages
11 Reviews
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.

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

User Review  - Mark - Goodreads

Wow, another case of BGS (Bad Guru Syndrome). From the Maharishi to Jim Jones, Bhagwan Rajneesh to Sai Baba; from David Koresh to Jim Jones, the number of "spiritual teachers" who show up with feet of ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Laura - Goodreads

how do you spell self delusion? an out of control Roshi and his enabling community are profiled. Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Downing teaches creative writing at Tufts University.

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