Robert Pirsig

Robert Pirsig, dead at 88, I hear this morning, driving along a rutted back road.

I pilfered Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from my dad’s bookshelf when I was a teenager, intrigued by its title, lured by the lush fatness of reading material. Not that many years later, my dad showed me an article (in the Times Book Review section, maybe?) Pirsig had written about his son’s murder.

What I’ll always remember about that book is the high school teacher who told me the book saved his life. What higher complement to give a writer? And yet every time I think of Pirsig, I think of that essay, too…..

Sometimes I like to think about truth in the image of an old and wrathful Buddhist master who grabs us, shakes us, and shouts, ‘Drop it now!’ Truth can be wrathful.

– Anam Thubten, No Self, No Problem: Awakening to Our True Nature



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