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...