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The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment Paperback – February 7, 1980


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Revised & Expanded edition (February 7, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385147864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385147866
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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When I was young, Zen seemed really cool.
John McFarlin
The book is a classic and many Zen teacher suggest this book as reading for their students.
Michael Palumbaro
I find myself pulling this book off my shelf every few years and re-reading it.
M. A. Ramos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
This unarguably authoritative book is absolutely

convincing in its easily readable exposition of Zen BR>
Buddhism, it's methods and goals. Practices of Japanese
Zen masters, both modern and historic,

are set forth as they were actually spoken to Zen classes
in Japanese temples.
It is easily the best book I have read on meditation generally or Zen specifically
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roland Barrett on May 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have read the "Three pillars of Zen" on a number of occasions including the anniversary edition. On each occasion I have found it to be more and more informative and revealing of ones own Zen practice. It is an excellent beginners book into the world of formal and not so formal Zen as well as for anybody who has an interest in "what is Zen anyways?". This book not only gives insight into the question "Zen?", but, also answers the how and why's.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos VINE VOICE on June 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first read Roshi Philip Kapleau book on the summer of 1980. I feel it is still one of the most informative books wriiten on Zen Buddhism. I am sure it must be considered a classic by now. I find myself pulling this book off my shelf every few years and re-reading it. I feel that it is one of the few books written that introduce westerner's to the journey along the road of zen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John McFarlin on June 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
When I was young, Zen seemed really cool. I learned a little about it, but not much. At some point in 1984 I read a book review or came across Kapleau's book title in an article, I don't remember which. I was 31. By that age I'd thought about these religious matters for a few years. I was a religious seeker in my youth. Americans tend to be rather zealous seekers. Who else would believe that after a few months of Zen practice one will become enlightened? Possible, but naive. I was pretty sure that I wanted to learn a lot more about Zen. It appeared to be the most life changing and life affirming choice, even if it had a reputation as a tough choice. So I ordered The Three Pillars of Zen. I never became a devotee of the religion of Zen, but Kapleau's wonderful book has had a significant influence on the past thirty years of my life. His advice on meditation has helped me find peace and strength many times. I've looked through different books on Zen. They often emphasize Buddhist terminology. There are books about the Zen of Christ and those kinds of things. Some of the books are interesting, but I always remember the take-away from Kapleau. I now think that it is the only Zen book that one needs to read. He gives you enough to get started with your Zen practice, and enough to satisfy your appetite for the history and nature of Zen. Then it's up to the individual to proceed. That's really the way it should be. In the end I didn't study Zen, I read Kapleau, and he opened a path that to one degree or another I have greatly enjoyed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Cohen on May 11, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition
This was the first book on zen I ever read and found it very moving and motivating. His own personal account of his despair as well as his wife's story and their passions to wake up made this very accessible to western minds. He was able to make a bride from the east to the west without losing the essence of the tradition. I also met him a long time ago at a 3 day retreat when he was in Rochester and found his presence and dedication very inspiring.
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