Zen is sharp. It’s hot and a way to wake up to the true reality of things. In most Asian countries Zen focuses primarily on monks and nuns, while in the US a great deal of Zen is used by the common guy and gal on the street. Zen meditation groups seem to be popping up all over the US. And while Zen meditation takes some courage to muster, breathing from the belly and taming the ‘monkey mind’ is important to find what we’re all after: peace and happiness. These traits are explained in the book after the reader is introduced to a husky character called Hiram Smith. He got into Zen Buddhism while serving time in prison.
A short passage from the book:
Besides his office off the lobby, Hiram had an office on the top floor of The Inn. It was a corner suite, but more importantly, it was his home. Right now he had to do some Zazen and try and settle down. Hiram smacked the door as he came into the room. Zazen? He walked into the kitchen and grabbed a cold beer. How’d he ever learn that word? Why couldn’t he say meditate like a normal guy? And why’d he get so hooked up with this Buddhist crap to begin with?
Images of Kody Mills rattled his brain. He should have told Kody to shove it when the man first threw out those weird words: Zen, Zazen, and Tonglen.
Hiram sucked down some beer.
Inmates at Angola Prison weren’t your average criminals. They were hardcore racketeers and murderers. No one did meditation or bowed to a fuckin’ Buddha except one ironbird, Kody Mills. The guy was a lifer. He didn’t have any friends in the joint. He spent most of the time in the hold, deep in solitary confinement, ’cause he was always slapping other cons that pissed him off, and just about everyone pissed Kody off.
Oh yeah, Kody was off the wall.
One day Hiram was walking back from the yard when he passed Kody’s cell. He stopped dead in his tracks. What the–what was that racketman doing?
Kody was sitting on the floor of his cell with his back pressed straight against the wall. His shoes were neatly placed to the side of him, and they were spit-shined for God’s sake. His legs were crossed, eyes closed, and his forefingers and thumbs formed loose ovals. Definitely weird. But somehow he interested Hiram. They became friends in an odd sort of way. It probably had something to do with Hiram’s thick neck and knuckles, more than his Carolina personality.
Before long Kody got talking about Zen and inner peace. Kody said he couldn’t do half the things the Buddha dished out, but as far as he knew, just hearing abut the wisdom in Buddhism gave him courage.
Once Hiram heard about insecurities and fears, and the way to let go of those can of worms, it gave him courage too.