When I met Shantung Zuber, he was simply Dr. Shantung Zuber, III. Now, he is the Reverend Dr. Shantung Zuber, III, Abbot of the Temple of Tao Ministries. He is fairly obscure (despite his ever expanding appellations), but I include him as a prime example of someone who talks the talk of enlightenment and nothing else.

A friend discovered Zuber's book, The Underlying Roots of Consciousness, and I must say it was impressive. It was a classic account of an experience of Everythingness and Nothingness. A profound case of Enlightenment, if I ever read one. By an amazing coincidence, shortly after reading his book, I had the opportunity to housesit for friends in Florida near Zuber. Surely this was a sign of providence.

Despite repeated phone calls, I was not allowed to talk with Dr. Zuber. His secretary (wife?) told me I could make an appointment for his medical practice for $75 if I wanted to talk. After another call, I was told I could attend a talk the next week for $20. Zuber's unwillingness to talk with me, even on the phone, unless it involved money, gave me a bad feeling.

I drove an hour to the talk only to first have to suffer through a fellow (who was as white as the driven snow) expound on Native American practices. Finally, Dr. Zuber took the stage only to ramble for 45 minutes about nutrition and martial arts. The climax of his talk was his striking his chest with a machete to demonstrate his "iron coat." Not once did he even mention enlightenment or the spiritual search. Grasping for a last thread of hope, I wondered if he saved the esoteric discussions for more astute audiences (like my self, of course). Alas, I was disappointed again. I cornered the good doctor after the lecture to ask him about his enlightenment. From his squirming, you would think I gave him the fourth degree.

He was quite reluctant to talk to me. He did say he had several enlightenment experiences and there were practices that could lead to enlightenment. Enlightenment wasn't all that important, though. He was more eager to talk to the heart patient who wanted to make an appointment for the good doctor's practice. Shantung turned from me to more lucrative business and I left shortly after.

My theory is Shantung Zuber first tried making a buck posing as an enlightened spiritual teacher. Next, he tried his hand at medicine. Finally, failing to make a splash at either profession, he's become a reverend. Good luck Shantung! If nothing else, he is persistent.

2008 Update: I haven't seen a word about Shantung on the web for three or four years. Any information would be appreciated.

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