With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Shozan Jack Haubner is a Zen Buddhist priest and author of Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk. His writing has appeared in Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, and the Best Buddhist Writing series. He once worked as a script analyst for director Ridley Scott and now spends hours a day on a round black cushion following his breath — a greater adventure than all his time in Hollywood. He lives in Los Angeles and can be found on Twitter.
My earliest Zen teachers were failure and my father, in that order. The first thing I failed at was being physically big. This wasn’t my fault, of course, but kids always feel directly responsible for how they look. And how I looked was small.
A Zen Buddhist monk in my tradition gets exactly one week off a year. This time is specifically designated for a “family visit.” I always take my week at Thanksgiving, and every year I prove right that old Zen adage: Think you’re getting closer to enlightenment? Try spending a week with your parents.