bad reviews

Who reads a good review? I usually seek out at least one bad review when I am investigating a new product. I mean, a bad review is often a heck of a lot more informative than a good review. Not only that, but every once in a while a bad review turns out to be a really good read and usually for all the wrong reasons! ...Ahh crazy person, you can be so entertaining when you are not sharing the seat next to me on the bus.

Zen Master Bunny Rabbit.

Dear Mr. Rabbit,

I have been meditating for more than two years.

Two of the monks at the monastery have told me that I am very spiritually advanced. I was telling them about your book this week during our weekly dinner at the Sizzler Steak House and they insisted I share my insights with you. It is a nice change for me to be around people I can really talk to, these monks are very advanced. I don't often get to spend time with people who understand my depth.

Don’t get me wrong, I can talk to just about anyone, but with the monks I don’t have to dumb things down as much as I have to with other people. One of the oldest monks tells me I am very spiritually advanced, but I correct him and explain that I am just a regular guy who enjoys helping people whenever he can. It is really not such a big deal for me to spend thirty or forty dollars for their dinner, so why not? I guess you could say I am one of the lucky ones!

Here are my comments and insights.

With effort and forgiveness, I was able to overlook the four inappropriate appearances of the word “fuck” in your Takes Violin Lessons book. However, the twenty-four appearances of the above mentioned word in your Gives Violin Lessons book clearly places both you and your book well beyond the pale. The use of the word “fuck” and related words is gratuitous. It adds nothing, and will turn some people off to the point that they would dismiss both you and your book. That would be unfortunate, since your book has some important things to say. Also, it gives a young reader the impression that the use of such language is normal and acceptable. It isn’t.

Furthermore, why do you feel the need to include a drawing of naked breasts in your book about Zen? There are those who might think the inclusion of such a drawing calls into question your understanding of higher spiritual development. In addition to this, I know some people might be uncomfortable with your “pin-up poster girl”. It is for good reason “women of a certain age” value their modesty, even in warm climates. A lot of people could be embarrassed with this sort of thing, and a compassionate man avoids the unnecessary embarrassment of others.

Them’s my thoughts and insights.

You can count me as a true friend, I am on your side, I am not like those people. I can appreciate the beauty in modern art. I am just telling you how people think. No need to shoot the messenger!

From one man of Zen to another,

Mr. John Underwood

I have a very hard time describing my own books. If I had figured out how to condense or reduce my books down to a few words or a few sentences or even a few paragraphs, I would not have bothered writing anything more than a few words, a few sentences or a few paragraphs. So when someone asks me "What is your book about?", I can only reply "I have written an entire book to answer your question."

And THAT, is exactly why I am including the following two reviews. No, it is not that the reviewer manages or even tries to condense the books down to a few sentences, rather, I am including them because I see something in the reviews which I think will be of even greater value to you. Instead of the reviewer telling you what the books are about, the reviewer reveals whether or not it was worth their time to discover that for them-self. And no, I guess these are not exactly "bad reviews".

Zen Master Bunny Rabbit

Review of Zen Master Avatar Prem Anadi Bunny Rabbit The Third
Gives Violin Lessons:

An Unusual, Easygoing Approach to Meditation and Truth

First of all, I was fortunate to have been given this book. It's probably not the kind of thing I would have looked for or found on my own - in part because what it is, is less than clear from the title. What we have here is a book of dialogs between the Zen Master and assorted music students. The author teaches violin and viola, but these dialogs are only superficially about that subject. What really happens is that his students learn about meditation. They also learn about the nature of reality.

The author has a very unusual writing style in that the he asks his students questions, but the response(s) are replaced by "... ..." so that we don't know what the student said. Instead, we are invited to add our own internal monologue to the discussion. This unusual style might seem off-putting at first, yet I found that it draws the reader into the stories. At least, that's how it went for me: My first reaction was, "Wow, this is weird." But as I read on, I found that I loved it. You'll have to try it for yourself and see....

The discussions/dialogs start with elements of musicianship, composition, and/or practice - but diverge off into meditation. The nice thing about all of this is that it avoids the esoteric, pedantic style that you find it pretty much all books about zen and meditation, opting instead for a sort of backdoor approach where you learn things almost by accident. In my opinion, this is where this book really shines: Where other zen teachers seem determined to impress you with how smart and learned they are - and end up leaving you more confused than when you started, Zen Master Bunny Rabbit takes an approach that is as soft and non-threatening as ...well, as a bunny rabbit! This results in learning things almost before you realize that you have learned something.

As to the meditation instructions, I found the very first suggested technique, The "Yes" mediation, to be most helpful for everyday practice. In addition, I (and my friend who read this book) also found helpful "This is what it is like to be Here, Right Now." This mindfulness meditation technique is a literal lifesaver when dealing with stressful situations, such as difficult customers or an obtuse spouse. I would highly recommend both. The book contains detailed dialogues about several techniques, though, and you might find other techniques that are even more helpful for you.

This book manages to entertain and enlighten without being pedantic. Like many things, I suppose, what you get out of this book will depend greatly on what you bring with you. You might read this book and find that it is little more than a collection of helpful advice on how to be a better musician, but if you do that you will have missed the real point. For me, I can honestly say that the teachings reflected in this book changed my life. Maybe you will get similar results. Maybe not. Bottom line: If you're tired of self-help gurus who want to impress you with their knowledge of Sutras rather than help you; if you're looking for simple zen that leads to a better, more stress-free life, you should read this book.

DoctorObvious ( username)

Review of Zen Master Avatar Prem Anadi Bunny Rabbit The Third
Takes Violin Lessons:

The Beginnings of Wisdom

This book is about music and musicianship - except it isn't. What we have here is a metaphor for exploration of truth and True Nature. Using one-sided dialog, Zen Master Bunny Rabbit tells some stories - and he has a gift for storytelling. To me, this is very important because when one seeks truth, seeks enlightenment, one is bombarded by a plethora of books, videos and audio tracks of zen teachers droning on in the most obfuscatory and obscurantist ways possible. Not Zen Master Bunny Rabbit. Instead, this zen master tells a story, and in the telling you learn things, sort of by accident. That's an amazing thing!

Now, I read the second book, Zen Master Avatar Prem Anadi Bunny Rabbit The Third Gives Violin Lessons first, and I'd recommend that you do the same, I suppose. I liked the second book even better, and i felt it contained more teachings - but some of that may be based on personal experience so your results may vary. Oh, and this book COULD be read as a guide to excellence in any endeavor ...including learning to play the violin. So I would say, take from it what you need and leave the rest.

DoctorObvious ( username)