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Thank You and OK! home page * Suzuki basics   DC Misc 

Thank You and OK!: an American Zen Failure in Japan
by David Chadwick
ISBN 978-1-59030-470-9 / May 2007

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Now a Shambhala Publications book

Comments on this book
from writers, critics, teachers
(These quotes are from 1994, a year or two later in a few cases, unless otherwise noted.)

"The Catch 22 of Zen" --Taigen Dan Leighton, Dogen’s Extensive Record, Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression, Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi. the Kyoto Journal

"Thank You & OK is one of the great classics of American Zen, and one of the most astute books about Japan ever written by a foreigner." – Taigen Dan Leighton – Correspondence, March 2006

"As richly constructed as a good novel, it steals its way into the reader's heart." --Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones, The Long Quiet Highway, and The Great Failure.

"Thank you and ok is one of my favorite books. it's listed in the back of thunder and lightening as one of the works that walk with me and has supported my life. It's a great read and deeply moving and true. I tell my students it is a must for this life. Thank you David Chadwick , you are okay." - Natalie Goldberg – Correspondence, March, 2006

"Asked why Zen was brought from India to China, master Zhao Zhou replied, 'The oak tree in the garden.' This is exactly what Chadwick gives us here--no grand sweeping statements about the 'real' nature of Zen or Japan--just specific experience rendered with a peculiar intensity that lingers in your memory. The writing is excellent. The artistic integrity is the very finest." --Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Lila.

"Zen isn't it. The question is it, the doubt, the curiosity, the adventure, the what did we get ourselves into? A fine book, something, at last, to recommend in the way of Zen literature." --Janwillem Van de Wetering, author of A Glimpse of Nothingness, The Empty Mirror, Afterzen and much more.

"A unique unromanticized view of Japan and Japanese and American Zen. One leaves this book with a sense of our shared humanity and a confidence that we can work it out. No collection of contemporary books on Zen or Japan should be without THANK YOU AND OK!"--Shin Yoshifuku--Japan's preeminent writer and translator of books on transpersonal psychology.

"What else is emptiness but the ultimate failure? I love this book!"--Ken Wilber, author of The Spectrum of Consciousness, No Boundary, Grace and Grit.

"The famous 'punk monk' has given a sense of Zen, a sense of Japan, and a sense of himself as seeker and wanderer which is sweet, full of good information, and.... funky. Thank You and OK!"--Herbert Gold, Bohemia

"The results of Chadwick's cultural collision with Japan are funny, insightful, revelatory and intriguing as hell. Don't let the fantastic cover fool you - this is a ripe book that goes to the core. The irreverence was also a friggin relief." -- Peter Coyote, actor and writer, in The Whole Earth Review

"Well written with an accurate description of the Zen monastic atmosphere. Chadwick likes Japan and the Japanese and refrains from the often snide and self-congratulatory criticism that so often infect books on Japan...a splendid book."--Philip Yampolsky, The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch.

"Written with a fine edge of crazy wisdom detail -- this book is a treasure house of insight and humor. It's so accessible -- Chadwick really knows how to invite the reader in." --Joan Halifax, The Fruitful Darkness

"Totally delightful - fantastic couch potato Zen. Chadwick saves you the trouble of going to Japan by making all the mistakes for you." --Jack Kornfield, Path of the Heart.

"David Chadwick's THANK YOU AND OK! is a breath of fresh air let in to the artsy, abstract confines of the Zen cloister. It's breezy, immediate, a joy to read and a journey to join in that can open your eyes, touch your feelings, and by its end change at least a little how you understand the way you have come." --Steve Tipton --co-author of Habits of the Heart and The Good Society

"I loved this book--touching, funny, knowing--I couldn't put it down." --Robert Whiting, You Gotta Have Wa.

"Blessed with compassionate humor, few preconceptions and a deep spirit of 'not knowing,' Chadwick offers a fresh inside view of a too much idealized spiritual tradition." --Alan Senauke, National Coordinator of Buddhist Peace Fellowship

"This is Thomas Merton meets Jack Kerouac in the rural Japanese countryside. But it could also be subtitled 'Access to Japan for normal human beings.' Chadwick's unpretentious prose underlines the importance of gentleness. This book will be very useful to anyone planning to visit Japan." --John Sumser: editor of and from the Whole Earth Review

"An affectionate glimpse at the worlds of Japan and Zen. ... Vivid, lighthearted, and unselfconsciously profound." --KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Chadwick may be a 'Zen failure," but his book is a rousing success, a stirring document pervaded by the wisdom and goodness of the great Zen masters..." --YOGA JOURNAL

"'Thank you and OK!' is part irreverent spiritual memoir, part insightful travel book. By turns poignant, charming and insouciant..." -SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"Hats off to newcomer Chadwick for his engaging account of a... stay in a rural Buddhist temple and subsequent adventures in Japan." --PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

"The author's experiences are written down with good humor and keen observations...rollicking...good entertainment." --LIBRARY JOURNAL

"Honest, heartfelt, searching book that instructs by inference and example and that, if as widely read, as it should be, will help create the day when followers of American Buddhism will turn to their Japanese elders and say, "Thank You and OK!" --TRICYCLE: The Buddhist Review

"Succeeds wonderfully, offering humor, warmth and insight for first-time Japan travelers and old Japan hands alike." -- THE JAPAN TIMES

"Provides readers and writers alike with a glowing example of what an author's first book should be. ...eye opening as well as entertaining." -THE DAILY TEXAN (newspaper of the University of Texas in Austin)

"Chadwick's rollicking (never rambling) chronicle of his adventures and misadventures in Japan was well crafted, clever, inspiring and educational... abundant in humor both zany and subtle." --NORTHWEST EVENTS AND LIFESTYLE REVIEW (Bellingham, WA)

"If you want to spend a few hours with a delightful companion who lived in Japan, a Japanese monastery, and its surroundings, here is the perfect book for you. ...(Chadwick's) infectious charm makes this book a pure pleasure." -THE ASIA BOOK CLUB

"Reads like letters from an old and very good friend... Thank You and OK has a large heart and a clear eye and a warm and forgiving soul. The book is a delight to read. It made me laugh. I don't know about you, but I can't ask for anything better." --PACIFIC SUN (Marin County, CA)

"Chadwick keeps us amused throughout. Highly recommended as memoir of classical Zen training in contemporary Japan and as pure American numbskullry." --THE READER'S REVIEW

"The wisdom, good humor, and generosity that have resulted from those years of practice are evident on every page. The book itself is a great success." --LOST AND ALONE (Tokyo).

"Provides a light, fresh, rich look at Japanese lifestyle, Buddhism and human nature..." --ASIAN WEEK

"It was impossible for me not to love reading [Thank You and OK!]. ...This is a book that instructs as well as delights. ...provides a fascinating introduction to the "Japanese way" for the uninitiated reader, as well as a thick description that rings true even for the most stalwart of gaijin Japanophiles." --INDIANA REVIEW

"Absorbing and intriguing... Don’t start this book at bedtime--it’s awfully hard to put down." -- NAPRA TRADE JOURNAL

"I loved it. stink of piety." --Tofu Roshi, TURNING WHEEL

"It's good to learn that David Chadwick's Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan is to be republished. I used this book in two of my courses on Zen Buddhism and discovered it was one that my students not only remembered but found unforgettable--which is not the same thing. Most simply loved Chadwick's irreverent approach to some of the sacred cows of Zen Buddhism: priests, monks, temple life and practice, and the "mystical" exploration of one's self. The ultimate student testimony was that they planned to keep the book at the end of the semester, and not resell it to their campus bookstore!

"I chose the book for its disarming honesty, humor, ethnographic insights on Japanese culture and society in general, and of course its rendition of Zen Buddhism in an institutional setting. When first published, there were very few "kiss-and-tell" type analyses of Buddhist temple life, so it was revelatory for the students (and, I think, instructors as well who lack direct experience in Japan) to see the kinds of people (both Japanese and foreigners) who are attracted to and make a profession of Buddhism in Japan. Although there have been a number of books published in this guise, most deal with North American Zen settings." - John Nelson, associate professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Francisco – Correspondence, 3/9/2006

"So if you were a Zen failure, how would you know?" --question asked by an alert person at a book signing.

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