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Eat Sleep Sit


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Table of Contents


PART ONE The End and the Beginning

Resolve 11
Jizo Cloister 17
Dragon Gate 25
Main Gate 29
Temporary Quarters 34
Lavatory 38
Facing the Wall 46
Buddha Bowl 47
Evening Service 53
Evening Meal 56
Night Sitting 61

PART TWO Etiquette is Zen

JMorning Service 69
JMorning Meal 74
JCleaning the Corridors 81
JDignified Dress 84
JWashing the Face 89
JVerses 96
JNoon 97
JStick 101

PART THREE Alone in the Freezing Dark

JEntering the Hall 111
JMonks' Hall 115
JCommon Quarters 120
JWake-up Bell 129
JBell Tower 133
JSelf-reflection 143
JFood Server 150
JMonks' Food 153
JShaving the Head 159
JDaikan 164
JHunger 169

PART FOUR The Passage of Time
JEscape 177
JRegistration Ceremony 180
JFirst Bath 185
JBeginning Intensive Training 189
JManual Labor 195
JPenance 201
JMain Lecture 207
JTransfer 211

PART FIVE The Source of the Warmth of Life
JNew Job 219
JSales 223
JDistribution of Goods 229
JGuest Pavilion 233
JInspection 238
JWashrags 242
JEnding Intensive Training & 247

PART SIX The Colors of the Peak, the Echo in the Valley
JAttendant to the Director 253
JConference Room & 256
JIn Attendance 259
JMorning Session 263
JIncense Bearer & 267
JPreparations for Winter 271
JIntensive Sitting 275
JYear-end Cleaning 280
JNew Year's Day 283
JNew Arrivals 286
JJust Sit 290
JDeparture Survey 294
J Leaving 300

Afterword to the Japanese First Edition 311
Afterword to the Japanese Paperback Edition 315
Notes 323

About the Author

Born in 1959, Kaoru Nonomura traveled widely in Asia as a university student, and upon graduation began to work as a designer in Tokyo. At the age of thirty, he decided to put his career on hold to spend a year as a trainee monk at Eiheiji, a monastery famed for its rigid discipline. Twelve months later, he returned to his design job, and it was during his daily commute on a crowded train that he began to jot down his recollections of his Eiheiji experience. These notes eventually became Eat Sleep Sit, the author's only book.


"Here is an unusually fine translation of a most unusual best-seller. . . We sometimes have the odd idea that Zen means simply sitting around until satori happens. . . . It is much more, as novice Nonomura discovered when he joined the beginners at Eijeiji, one of the most rigorous temples in Japan. . . . a boot camp of a place that would make even brave marines quail. . . .Nonumura stood the strain. He stayed a year. . . . This painful route, then, is the true Zen path. . . . Almost as painful must have been the translation of this book with its extraordinary width of styles - from the arcane Zen tracts of Dogen and others, to the diary-like grumbles of the clueless young Nonomura. Here, translator Juliet Carpenter not only stays the course, she defines it....here is a particularly felicitous translation, especially in the handling of the colloquial within the religious context." -DONALD RICHIE, in The Japan Times

"It is difficult to adequately praise this book. To begin with, Kaoru Nonomura is a great writer. The description of his experiences Is precise, detailed and unsparingly honest, yet giving sudden glimpses of the heart and soul of a poet and mystic. The translation is superb. The story is riveting. . . . a treasure for anyone on any spiritual path." - Light of Consciousness

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