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To Meet the Real Dragon Paperback – August 3, 2009
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Gudo Nishijima is a Zen master who has held a full time job in a Japanese company for many years. This fact impresses me in that I am able to relate to him better than other teachers who have spent the majority of their time in cloistered monastic environs. Not meant as a knock on monastic Buddhism which has its role to play for sure, but it is refreshing to know that this teacher knows what it's like to grind it out in the modern rat race with the rest of us. He also has an impressive knowledge of western philosophy and history that he uses to great effect to clarify the presentation of Buddhism here. His appreciation for science is very refreshing as well.
This is not a book that I would recommend to someone who is looking for an orthodox academic presentation of Buddhism that might be used as a textbook for a class, that would be "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula. This book deconstructs Buddhism down to its essence and presents it logically without all the obscurity and "long windedness" found in many other books. This is one you can really take something from, it has inspired me to stop just reading about Zen and actually start practicing on daily basis.
Sitting is the core of Buddhism and this book is the written expression of this most excellent Master's lifetime of practice.
Another chapter contains a novel (to me at least) interpetation of the Four Noble Truths, based upon Gudo's readings of the Sutras and the writings of Dogen. He unabashadley reveres Dogen. Whether his interpretations of Dogen's writings is right or wrong is up for grabs, but it's thought-provoking nonetheless.
Those looking for another guidebook on practicing Zen might find this a disappointing read. Gudo is interested in the place of Zen in the world of thought, not just cheerleading for those who need inspiration for their practice. There's enough of that, as well, but what makes this book stand out is Gudo's willingness to examine Zen's broader implications. He might be right or he might be wrong, but you'll be forced to grapple with a new look at Zen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
GREAT intro to Japanese Zen. Nishijima is the real thing, he will make you laugh with some of his language but the wisdom is deep and the instructions are simple and clear.Published 4 months ago by Jake Kosinski
I find myself returning to this book again and again. On a difficult day, it is a balm to my troubled mind. Bluntly, it is not evident why this book would have a soothing effect. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Foolish Perfectionist
possibly the best book i've ever read. so comprehensive, revolutionary, intelligent, practical.Published 17 months ago by Sean
This is a book of philosophy, mostly dealing with western philosophical history and then moving to Buddhism which the author seems to think is a cure for the faults of western... Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by Walker
In To Meet the Real Dragon, Gudo Nishijima, Zen priest and translator of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, writes a deceptively simple guide for the Western student of Buddhism. Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Wintu1
Gives a very in depth understanding of various ideologies . Do not take this as a typical buddist book , this has theories more than that .Published on April 8, 2013 by Ravindra Uttaravalli
Very well written and clear. I am a 15 year practitioner and this made me think.I wish I'd found it earlier in my practice - I think it would be great for beginners to this... Read morePublished on January 11, 2013 by Anne V. Weisbrod
This is what the sages and patriarchs warned about when they stated:"Great doubt great enlightenment, small doubt small enlightenment". Read morePublished on January 1, 2013 by Master Jason Argos
This book and along with Kosho Uchiyama's "Opening the Hand of Thought" (in my opinion) are the only 2 books one has to read to truly understand Zen. Read morePublished on October 17, 2012 by Tony H.