Confessions of a Zen Novelist

In Buddhadharma Magazine, February 15, 2013, print and online editions.

‘You were such a nice writer,’ he said. “I was afraid Zen would wreck it for you. I’ve watched you getting so serious about your prac­tice, and I wanted to warn you. Practice will ruin everything! It will change you so you won’t be able to write in the same way anymore. Maybe you shouldn’t practice Zen so much.’ He was smiling when he said this, so I knew he was joking—sort of. He shrugged and continued, ‘But I knew it was hopeless; it was already too late. You were in too deep already, and besides, I knew you wouldn’t listen.’

If he said anything else, I didn’t hear it. All I could think of was this terrible question: Had Zen wrecked my writing?

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