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Writer and longtime Zen student Lawrence Shainberg joins Tricycle Editor and Publisher James Shaheen to discuss his new book, Four Men Shaking: Searching for Sanity with Samuel Beckett, Norman Mailer, and My Perfect Zen Teacher. They talk about Shainberg’s struggles as a practitioner and an author and how he brings them together in his new memoir, which recounts his conversations with his literary heroes, Samuel Beckett and Norman Mailer, along with his teacher, Roshi Kyudo Nakagawa.

Through these reflections, he grapples with what he considers an inherent incompatibility between his religion and his craft: Zen emphasizes the unadorned present while memoir writing preoccupies itself with the overthought complexities of the past. The solution to his dilemma is elusive—if it exists at all—but he has some great stories about two of the last century’s most renowned writers, their thoughts, and misunderstandings. about Buddhism. 

You can read an excerpt from Four Men Shaking in our Fall 2019 issue.

Tricycle Talks is a podcast series featuring leading voices in the contemporary Buddhist world. You can listen to more Tricycle Talks on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio.

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