Books: Waking Up in Kyoto

THE EMPTY MIRROR

by JANWILLEM VAN DE WETERING

145 pages. Houghton Mifflin. $5.95.

This small and admirable memoir records the experiences of a young Dutch student who spent a year and a half as a novice monk in a Japanese Zen Buddhist monastery. As might be expected, the author shows a deep respect for the teachings of Zen. What makes his account extraordinary, how ever, is that the book contains none of the convert's irritating certitude, and no suggestion that the reader rush to follow the author's example.

Janwillem van de Wetering sailed for Japan by freighter in the summer of 1958. He...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!