12 Jan
Posted in: Books
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Can’t Put It Down

Last week I posted that I was starting to read Oxherding Tale by Charles Johnson. I had been reluctant to read it at first because as much as I was impressed and inspired by Johnson when he came to the CDL training retreat last fall, I wasn’t sure that I was really up for reading a “slave narrative,” no matter how intriguing the premise:

“One night in the antebellum South, a slave owner and his African-American butler stay up to all hours until, too drunk to face their wives, they switch places in each other’s beds. The result is a hilarious imbroglio and an offspring — Andrew Hawkins, whose life becomes Oxherding Tale.

Through sexual escapades, picaresque adventures, and philosophical inquiry, Hawkins navigates white and black worlds and comments wryly on human nature along the way. Told with pure genius, Oxherding Tale is a deliciously funny, bitterly ironic account of slavery, racism, and the human spirit; and it reveals the author as a great talent with even greater humanity.”

Anyway, I went ahead and started to read…and now I can’t put it down!

This is not “just” a slave narrative. As I posted earlier, it’s also based on the Zen Oxherding Pictures, which are a metaphor for the search for enlightenment, liberation — FREEDOM (thus, the “slave” narrative!)

I am loving this book. And I would love to discuss it with dharma practitioners.

I leave for a 2-month retreat on Jan 28, returning Mar 25. When I get  back, I’m going to pick a night for anyone who’s read the book to come to my house to discuss it. It’ll be in April. If you’re interested….read the book! (And send me an email here, if you want me to notify you of the date.)

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