Jan Chozen Bays

February 26, 2002

Post #1456 – 20020226

Dear D.Manus Pinkwater,

I am a Zen Buddhist teacher, as is my husband, and we are long time fans of your books (we don’t listen to the radio much so have only heard you on NPR a few times). We are in the process of buying an old elementary school in the small town of Clatskanie, Oregon as the new site for our Zen monastery. In the library of the old school we found several DMP books, which we brought home to read to our Zen students in residence, having made the amazing discovery that they had never heard of you!

Our morning schedule includes 2 hours of meditation, followed by temple cleaning and breakfast, with a reading after ten minutes of silent eating meditation. Usually we read straight Zen/Buddhist stuff, but, needing something a little less severe in the midst of the chaos of the move, and with the serendipitous discovery of the books, this week we have switched to The Last Guru.

Here’s our question. Has anyone ever held a D. Manus Pinkwater festival?

We are interested in the idea of a D. Manus Pinkwater festival to be held (after we get moved and settled in) in Clatskanie, Oregon, to include a dramatic presentation of the Last Guru. We have miscellaneous skills among us and could assemble into a passable cast. We have several students who are good jugglers, one who is learning to ride the unicycle, one who won awards in Alaska in high school for twirling and we all play marimba some. We have lots of practice chanting.

We hope you will consider this possibility.

Thank you,

Jan Chozen Bays

(I am not kidding. You can look up our website at zendust.org )

Daniel replies:

Hello. I became a member of the First Zen Institute of America, in New York City, in 1963. In 1967 I went to Engaku-ji Monastery in Kyoto, and immediately ran away. This was the first time I experienced enlightenment. I took the Bullet Train to Tokyo. Another time I experienced enlightenment was at the defunct Suizen-ji Monastery, in Kamakura. And another time was on 30th Street, in New York, around Christmas of 1969.

The Last Guru has less to do with Zen than many other books of mine. Borgel, which can be found second-hand, or in the inexepensive paperback, 4 Fantastic Novels, might be more like a Zen book. In some respects. Young Adult Novel, which can be found in another paperback, 5 Novels, might be a Zen book too. I am sure people have had Pinkwater festivals. I know I have. I am very interested in silent eating meditation.