view movie - 3.8
a quote from Thich Naht Hahn on this website,
I go see
Thomas speak at
Elliott Bay Books.
(It's nice to be in a place where authors come and read for free. I've
also seen Andrei Codrescu and
Schaeffer read there.) Claude AnShin Thomas did not read directly from
At Hell's Gate, but rather summarized his experiences
as a soldier in VietNam, his disappointing homecoming (people cursed at and
spat on him), and subsequent discovery of zen buddhism via the teachings
of Thich Naht Hahn.
I didn't know if it was proper or polite to take pictures of a buddhist monk,
but I shot one short film
anyway, certain that it would be perfect in the sense that it would be what
it would be. The film depicts AnShin describing his walk through Pennsylvania.
(It just happens that he was born, suffered, and studied in Pennsylvania,
so perhaps when he says "it's complicated getting through Pennsylvania" there's
more to it than meets the ear.) After his talk, he invited his friend
Johnson onto the stage and the two fielded a range of questions from
the audience, interrupted periodically by AnShin's German-born assistant
whose spiritual discipline consists of ringing a bell at precise intervals.
When she did, the room became very still and everyone focused on the sweet
singing of metal. It was a welcome practice, one which reminded me of
Poet-O, may he--and all of us--know