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

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Counterpoint, 2002 - History - 416 pages
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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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User Review  - amcvay - LibraryThing

Excess is the right word. This is the story of abbott gone wrong, and zen as marketing success with restaurants, cookbooks (Tassajara), retreats. Read full review

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

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The serene devotional activities normally associated with a Buddhist monastery are certainly placed on the back burner in this examination of the San Francisco Zen Center. Novelist Downing does a fine ... Read full review

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