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Ten Zen Questions 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Blackmore gives a direct personal account of her exploration of Ten "Zen" Questions; Am I conscious now?, What was I conscious of a moment ago?, Who is asking the question?, Where is this?, How does thought arise?, There is no time. What is memory?, When are you?, Are you here now?, What am I doing?, and, What happens next? Now, quite frankly, I don't know if her word by word report would be tedious to someone who hasn't tried to meditate, or who hasn't formerly asked these types of questions, but I was thoroughly fascinated. (And, this is not the whole of the book. Her transition from her story to exact descriptions, is...effortless).
Susan has a perfect blend between an account of "Zen", and what consciousness is from a psychological perspective. No one should be scared away by Zen in the title. She shares times alone meditating in her own garden as well as week long retreats with her Zen teacher and other students over many years. We see her progress, from her own understanding as well as acknowledgment, in certain respects, from her teacher.Read more ›
This is a more personal book. It's a bit self-indulgent as Blackmore takes us to her garden and her meditation shed and back through her Zen retreat experiences in a kind of experiential way without really coming to any more than a series of purely personal insights. The book also suffers from a failure to clearly define "consciousness." Perhaps Blackmore has defined consciousness so many times before and has grown weary of doing so again, or perhaps she thinks we all know what consciousness means more or less. Or, more likely, she believes that the meaning of consciousness will emerge through a reading of this book, the idea being that by asking these ten Zen questions one will be lead to an understanding of consciousness--or at least to an understanding of why consciousness is such a conundrum.
Blackmore graciously lets her Zen master, John Crook, have the last word in the form of a letter to her after he read a draft copy of her book. His response comes under the heading of what I like to call "sometimes it is best to just quote them."
The Zen questions themselves, e.g., "Am I conscious now?"; "Who is asking the question?"; "How does thought arise?" etc., become Zen koans as Blackmore grapples with them.Read more ›