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I am doing the exact thing that Jacksten would not want me to do. I am mourning him. He would tell me that there is here and not here, now and not now, then and not then.
But you see, I cannot
find the comfort that that thought should give me. I have loved him for 20 plus years, but he is gone. I cannot break through the western idea of time and space. He can no longer hold me, he can no longer speak to me or touch my knee in that way he used to make a point. He can no longer stare into the far distance and come back from wherever he had been excited by something new, eagerly giving voice to it, wanting to share his new idea. My heart yearns for his presence. All the same, in some far echo, he is there.
Only this book is strangely comforting. It embodies the whole of him. And the whole of him is worth the read.
balowrey@cox.net
 

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My Dad was and I say, "was" because he has now passed on from our narrow world and the
obliquity with which people run there lives. He was not always a kind person having no true guide
with
which to see him through those important defining moments as a young person. As we all
know or should know there is a time in our lives when our childhood must be left behind. My Dad
was a defining light for me on this road and I learned to be a better person for his guidance and
insight learned by him in his quest for enlightenment through the teachings of Buddha. I won't
claim to understand all of what he has written or even most, but I can say for those of us like my
dad who are looking for help and understanding of the world around us and what it means this
book may be a valuable guide. He was my hero as a small girl, then my teacher and last but
certainly not least one of the best friends I have ever had. I will miss him.
His daughter,
Patty
 

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Jack Fitzwater is a Korean war vetran, who was damaged by the war as so many of our "Boys" were. Jack learned to medicate his pain with alcohol at a very early age. The only good thing he got while in Korea was a battle field enlightenment. He read his copy of the Bhagavad Gita until he had to keep it together with rubber bands.
Fitzwater came a long way from his Hillbilly roots. He was a janitor as he worked his way through Long Beach State and then to graduate school at UCLA in Anthropology where he met Carlos Casteneda… He worked in Aerospace, taught Anthropology at UNLV and Idaho State. He became a well known Archeologist as well. No one was as much fun as Jack especially going for a walk or bike ride in the desert. He always seemed to find an arrowhead or some sort of stone tool that no one else had ever noticed. He was full of insights, a good friend, and had a generous spirit. Jack was a natural born teacher.
All the while Jack studied Zen. He was a serious student of the Zen Koan. Jack sought to show the Zen Koan through his own American life. I think this book succeeds in helping us to realize an American Zen. Jack saw that when we let go of Dogma we find a form of natural Dharma within the American character. No one else seemed to notice that what we call common sense and Zen Buddhism are very much alike..
Jack has been pounded by several strokes lately and his ability to speak has been damaged. Right now he is experiencing what he calls the Carbuncle of Zen.
Read this book. It is amazing.
Jim Stanford
 

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Jack Fitzwater re:Nawari Koans
Jack was my teacher-is my friend
Rides his karma to the end
Anthropology man--hillbilly sage--victim of war
Not of age--small fame--charisma game--Dark side
Bad slide---mugged by self--the child as a child not child
I don't know! (Zen--not Zen)
Angry recipient--unkind---no insight--Wild
Apologies go on well into the night
Referred. Inferred, tacit, symbolic fight
Real sad--real glad--Demon Rum, Diablo Tequila
Medicated numb--Stands Alone---Read, Don't Read
Heed, Don't Heed. Fake Shaman, Yarn spinner
Now you see if! Now you don't!
So much less. So much more
We gotta go down to the grocery store
D.B. Holland
P.S. Take a chance--read the book....
 

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Save your money! This is the same nonsensical rambling I was forced to listen to for over ten years as the adopted child of this self-proclaimed "zen budhist." It's interesting that this book mentions that the author married and had a family, but no mention is made that he left his wife and five children and married my mother. It's interesting that in the acknowledgement he thanks wives, lovers and friends, but there is no mention of his six children (his natural 5 + me).
I wonder if his friends that participated in this book would think he was so enlightened if they knew he gave his son David his first beer at the age of 11, or if they knew of the beating David took when he forgot his boots in the desert.
I experienced Jack's enlightenment in many ways including, but not limited to: (1) being left in a mall because I was "running around like a piss ant."; (2) being blamed and punished for an auto-immune disorder - type 1 diabetes, that I had no control over, and him telling my mother to "drop me off in front of the hospital and call when I was better."
He also threatened to beat me up if I told my grandparents I was being hospitalized. I was always told frequently that I needed boot camp. I can't imagine what transgressions I had at the ripe age of 10 where I needed boot camp.
Yes, Jack is big on awareness and consciousness. This is a skill a child shouldn't have . . . I shouldn't have been able to tell by the way somebody walks through a door what type of night I'm going to have.
"Pantsing" was something he liked to do to me. This was where he would hold me down and tickle me until the pain was unbearable, and then pull my pants off, which would send me scurrying into the bathroom, humiliated.
As for his hero, Gate Chan, luckily my grandparents stopped him from "curing" my type 1 diabetes by making sure I never drank anything cold, never raised my head while sleeping, or wore a wet bathing suit. I only wish these things were made up. Jack needs to tell the truth; he came from a family of abusive alcoholics and became one himself. The Marines is NOT a child rearing model.
There is also no mention of the fact that two of his children are dead, supposedly of heart disease, but more likely their history of alcohol and drug abuse. When David came to Jack for help, he was told there would be no drinking; but Jack could drink as much as he wanted. In these photos, I don't see alcohol too far from Jack's hand. It's interesting that his mother, who threw a bucket at David, is seen as some sort of Zen teaching hero. I'm sure Jack has other Zen-like thoughts about his parents leaving him with strangers who were so poor they only had a dirt floor. Child abuse is neither Zen-like or meaningful, it's simply child abuse.
I'm sure Jack would have a litany of "zen" thoughts about this, but unlike his followers, I have been able to see through this mans BS since I was about 3 years old. He says these supposedly deep things and nobody is brave enough to question them, so everybody thinks he's a god. It's all a diversion from alcoholism disguized as Zen Budhism. That may not have been said eloquently or zen like . . why? Because sometimes the truth isn't so melodic.
Jack, with all his deep sayings, will never be able to replace my childhood or my self-esteem. I'm proud that I have not continued his legacy of abuse, and that my son has been raised in an environment of safety, knowing what to expect and not having to worry about living with an out of control, verbally abusive alcoholic.
In their defense, I'm sure the people who supported and encouraged this book never saw or heard of these things. I'm grateful for their presence in my life, only for the fact that when they were around the verbal abuse stopped, at least briefly.
This book has only served to speed up my desire to change my last name. I only wish that the psychological damage that has
 

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