For the last year or more I've been trying to write an essay about the effect Zen had on my life, how I got interested in it and how it influenced the way I lived.
I probably don't have any right to write about Zen, certainly I never spent 7 years staring at a wall, but then I probably wouldn't look for advice from someone who had spent 7 years staring at a wall (unless I was buying wallpaper), though of course I'd be very interested to hear an honest account of his experiences.
So that's what I've tried to write, an honest account of my experiences, along with some of my ideas about what a Zen monastery might achieve on behalf of humanity but which as far as I can see, so far is failing to achieve. Nigel Henderson said to me once "the past is an absolute trap", and into this absolute trap most of what passes itself off as Buddhism has, it seems to me, fallen. How would you make a monastery, in the age of nuclear weapons and the Large Hadron Collider, which could function as a vibrant cultural centre rather than a repressive anachronism? Why would you want to?