Recently while browsing through a book store I cam across Stoep Zen* by Antony Osler. The sub-title was also intriguing - A zen Life in South Africa. Books about leading a life of simplicity and zen are common enough, but not from a local South African perspective. The pictures of the karoo and country life made this book all the more appealing.
What a gem of a book! Filled with anecdotes, observations and zen philosophy with a deeply South African flavour. Antony Osler is a South African former Zen monk, writer, teacher and if that is not enough he provides arbitration services too. He lives with his family on a farm in the Colesberg region.
There are many interesting viewpoints on facing life's challenges in South Africa. The author offers an approach that may help many of us release our attachment to certain negative beliefs and conditioning. Live in the moment, appreciate what is and have faith in our humanity. Osler certainly encountered strong viewpoints when he was involved in a Law Clinic in the old South Africa. No doubt his strong belief in truth and the good within all of us gave him much fortitude during difficult times.
It is however the cradle of the karoo that speaks so strongly through the author's words. It is a place that you can either accept for what it is or it will leave you broken. There is beauty and simplicity in its many facets. Here is also a glimpse into the lives of the people living in the karoo, often under harsh conditions.
For all of these reasons and more I can recommend this book.
Stoep Zen can be ordered from the author. For more details please visit www.stoepzen.co.za
The pale sun sets.
* Stoep means a porch or verandah