38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2002
Of the many books I have read concerning the subject of Zen Buddhism, none can be considered more lucid, succint, and enthralling than this book. Herrigel's knack for brevity will be more than welcome to the Occidental who has searched for such a book. Authors such as Alan Watts, and especially D.T. Suzuki have no qualms about making the claim that Zen eschews verbosity and does not espouse any sort of philosophy, and that it lacks the abstraction of Westerners. However, after reading these works, my head reeled with the constant paradoxes set forth by Suzuki who consistently and simultaneously reminded me that I wouldn't understand such subjects until enlightened. This led me to wonder...then why have you written you a 300 page book describing such an experience? No matter though; what THIS book is is a wonderful account of the changes and insights that happen to a person willing to give himself to the path that Zen offers.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 1999
For anyone who's ever been attracted by the tranquility and equanimity of Zen, yet put off by the massive tomes written on it, this book, in its lyrical simplicity, will allow you to feel zen.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2012
I have been a practicing zen buddhist for over 27 years, including spending time in a zen monastery, and have never found a book (excluding his first, "zen in the art of archery", also a must read) that more completely captured the essence of zen (and life).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2015
Herrigels' assessment of Zen is wonderful for the time period in which it was rendered. There is, however, an obvious Westerner's "worship" of the Eastern Zen practitioner which colors the objectivity of Herrigel's observations. His personal participation allowed him to experience the practice "first hand" but also tends to inject a bias into the account. Tough to accomplish both objectives!