Why did the richest, most influential, highest flying Zen center in America crash and burn in 1983? Novelist Michael Downing wondered the same thing, and after three years of interviewing members and poring over documents, hisShoes Outside the Doortells the story. Womanizing, BMW-driving Richard Baker was the abbot and visionary behind the rapid growth of the San Francisco Zen Center, but in many ways he was the antithesis of his teacher and predecessor, the inimitable and revered Shunryu Suzuki, who would choose the bruised apples out of compassion. After the early death of Suzuki, a blind and driven cult formed around Baker, seemingly filling the void until this "Dick Nixon of Zen" finally slept with his best friend's wife and brought his world crashing to the ground. Working with direct quotations from students and workers of the Center and its many enterprises, Downing delivers a page-turning exposé of a community that is as laudable as it is laughable. And as an outsider to both the community and Buddhism, he does it with wit and an even hand.--Brian Bruya--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What happens when idealism builds bureaucracy, ascetism invites affluence, and practice of Buddhism evolves into the palaces of real estate, prime Bay Area holdings backed by some of America's wealthiest scions? Richard Baker, abbot of the first monastery in history to be founded by Buddhists outside Asia, took over San Francisco's Zen Center at the height of the Aquarian dawn. I came to this with only a casual curiosity about how Green Gulch farm worked and a vague idea of misdeeds long ago. I … more