Eat Sleep Sit

Eat Sleep Sit : My Year at Japan's Most Rigorous Zen Temple

4.03 (260 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

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At the age of 30, Kaoru Nonomura left his family, his girlfriend, and his job as a designer in Tokyo to undertake a year of ascetic training at Eiheiji, one of the most rigorous Zen training temples in Japan. This book is Nonomura's recollection of his experiences. After writing Eat Sleep Sit, Kaoru Nonomura returned to his normal life as a designer, but his book has maintained its popularity in Japan, selling more than 100,000 copies since its first printing in 1996. Beautifully written, and offering fascinating insight into this culture.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 127 x 191 x 22.86mm | 336g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1568365659
  • 9781568365657
  • 250,605

Table of contents


PART ONE    The End and the Beginning

    Resolve   11
    Jizo Cloister   17
    Dragon Gate   25
    Main Gate   29
    Temporary Quarters   34
    Lavatory   38
    Facing the Wall   46
    Buddha Bowl   47
    Evening Service   53
    Evening Meal   56
    Night Sitting   61

PART TWO    Etiquette is Zen

    JMorning Service   69
    JMorning Meal   74
    JCleaning the Corridors   81
    JDignified Dress   84
    JWashing the Face   89
    JVerses   96
    JNoon  97
    JStick   101

PART THREE    Alone in the Freezing Dark

    JEntering the Hall   111
    JMonks’ Hall   115
    JCommon Quarters   120
    JWake-up Bell   129
    JBell Tower   133
    JSelf-reflection   143
    JFood Server   150
    JMonks’ Food   153
    JShaving the Head   159
    JDaikan   164
    JHunger  169

PART FOUR    The Passage of Time
    JEscape   177
    JRegistration Ceremony   180
    JFirst Bath   185
    JBeginning Intensive Training   189
    JManual Labor   195
    JPenance   201
    JMain Lecture   207
    JTransfer   211

PART FIVE    The Source of the Warmth of Life
    JNew Job   219
    JSales   223
    JDistribution of Goods   229
    JGuest Pavilion   233
    JInspection   238
    JWashrags   242
    JEnding Intensive Training &  247

PART SIX    The Colors of the Peak, the Echo in the Valley
    JAttendant to the Director   253
    JConference Room &  256
    JIn Attendance   259
    JMorning Session   263
    JIncense Bearer &  267
    JPreparations for Winter   271
    JIntensive Sitting   275
    JYear-end Cleaning   280
    JNew Year’s Day   283
    JNew Arrivals   286
    JJust Sit   290
    JDeparture Survey   294
    J Leaving   300

Afterword to the Japanese First Edition   311
Afterword to the Japanese Paperback Edition   315
Notes   323
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Review quote

"Here is an unusually fine translation of a most unusual best-seller. . . We sometimes have the odd idea that Zen means simply sitting around until satori happens. . . . It is much more, as novice Nonomura discovered when he joined the beginners at Eijeiji, one of the most rigorous temples in Japan. . . . a boot camp of a place that would make even brave marines quail. . . .Nonumura stood the strain. He stayed a year. . . . This painful route, then, is the true Zen path. . . . Almost as painful must have been the translation of this book with its extraordinary width of styles - from the arcane Zen tracts of Dogen and others, to the diary-like grumbles of the clueless young Nonomura. Here, translator Juliet Carpenter not only stays the course, she defines is a particularly felicitous translation, especially in the handling of the colloquial within the religious context." -DONALD RICHIE, in The Japan Times
"It is difficult to adequately praise this book. To begin with, Kaoru Nonomura is a great writer. The description of his experiences Is precise, detailed and unsparingly honest, yet giving sudden glimpses of the heart and soul of a poet and mystic. The translation is superb. The story is riveting. . . . a treasure for anyone on any spiritual path." - Light of Consciousness
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About Kaoru Nonomura

Born in 1959, Kaoru Nonomura traveled widely in Asia as a university student, and upon graduation began to work as a designer in Tokyo. At the age of thirty, he decided to put his career on hold to spend a year as a trainee monk at Eiheiji, a monastery famed for its rigid discipline. Twelve months later, he returned to his design job, and it was during his daily commute on a crowded train that he began to jot down his recollections of his Eiheiji experience. These notes eventually became Eat Sleep Sit, the author's only book.
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Rating details

260 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 33% (85)
4 42% (109)
3 22% (58)
2 3% (7)
1 0% (1)
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