Afterzen: Experiences of a Zen Student Out on His Ear

Janwillem Van De Wetering
Janwillem van de Wetering is an extraordinary writer, as readers familiar with his works know, whether he is writing as a student of Zen or recounting the adventures of the distinctively different Amsterdam cops in his mystery novels. In Afterzen, the long-awaited follow-up to his insightful and delightful The Empty Mirror and A Glimpse of Nothingness, van de Wetering provides unorthodox solutions to a collection of classical koans found in Walter Nowick's The Wisteria Tangle. Van de Wetering give them his own distinctive touch of humor, down-to-earth reality, and tough spirituality in the context of meetings and adventures with personalities "collaged from bits and pieces of teachers and fellow students who kindly came my way." However, the dream or actual presence of his first teacher, Roshi, "a sage illuminated by humorous equanimity," is "as true to life as my malfunctioning keyboard dares to describe." As one interviewer puts it, van de Wetering "lost his childhood when World War II began." Most of the students in young Janwillem's private school in Rotterdam, where his father was a wealthy businessman, were Jewish and died in Treblinka. It was this and other harrowing wartime experiences that led to his seeking answers in directions as varied as joining a motorcycle gang and studying philosophy, and that would finally take him to Zen centers in several parts of the world. In this third book of the trilogy, van de Wetering is a his accessible, honest, funny and genuinely spiritual best.


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