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The Zen Experience (A Plume book) Paperback – April 1, 1980


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Product Details

  • Series: A Plume book
  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (April 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452252288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452252288
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,649,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Not a fast read for me but a good read.
Raine Castle
I also intend to purchase the hard copy because I love the cover so much.
Michelle
Excellent reading for the history buff who is interested in Buddhism.
Ronald W Ferguson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on November 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An absolute gem of a book. And it's free!

I have to admit, I sort of held that against it at first (if it's free how good can it be? but I was low on cash, wanted something to read and am interested in Zen Buddhism).

The book is a history of Buddhism in China and Japan. It should be required reading for any zen enthusiast. Starts off a bit slow but keep going. It's interesting, educational and thoroughly enjoyable.

I also intend to purchase the hard copy because I love the cover so much.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Raine Castle on January 28, 2012
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I'm digesting this one a little more slowly than I would have liked.

I thought I was getting a general overview of Zen and not a concise history text book. However the humor in it keeps me coming back to it. I Am studying all forms of Buddhism to help my clients. This is all you ever need to know about Zen and more. There are things in this reading that have brought flashes of insight. Not a fast read for me but a good read. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know how Zen evolved and the way it can be practiced. Listed are the many monks that contributed to this evolution and their often strange and wonderful ways of helping people, "get it"
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dan Welsch on January 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is so good, I can't believe it's free! The whole history of Zen Buddhism is contained in it, told in a friendly style with lots of those typical Zen anecdotes. I would easily pay money for something this good! Thanks to the author for taking the time and effort to write it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John S Mishasek on August 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wanting to learn more about Zen philosophy, I bought this book based on other reviews. I found the book to be somewhat more detailed than I expected. And ultimately I became somewhat feeling like Zen followers may not be that different than other religious followers, i.e. "my version of Zen is right, yours is wrong". I think I was hoping to find information that would lead me to a better place in the world. The book may be useful for its historical coverage of Zen followers but not as a tool to reach the Zen belief systems as the history can be off-putting at times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By f.kwan on April 7, 2013
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The Zen Experience is one of the best books on Buddhism I've ever read. I never heard of Mr Hoover, who appears to be a thriller writer, not a member of the Buddhist Establishment. This might be why his book is so lucid and accessible. Buddhism, the greatest and cheapest psychological treatment ever devised, needs to be disseminated to as many people as possible. Indeed, one of its tenets is that all beings wake up and smell the rich coffee of existence. The Mahayana sect even vows to return to endless lifetimes until all beings are enlightened.

But I digress. Mr Hoover has written a book which explains head-scratching concepts such as enlightenment, mind to mind transmission, emptiness in terms most people on any path can understand. Furthermore, while doing so he provides an entire survey course on the history of Zen and its major teachers which provides enough examples of their work to both entertain the reader and to invite curiosity to investigate further. (Unfortunately many of the works cited are not yet on Kindle.) There are extensive notes and a bibliography. My only quibble is that none of the notes are linked, which requires a time-consuming search for both the note number and a keyword, which may appear more than once.

If I ran the planet, this book would be required reading in every comparative religion and Asian Studies course extant. Certainly any practicing Buddhist can learn from it, even if their practice is not Zen. It's an enticing trip to the other side of the spiritual street.

It's on my list of favorites, at least.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John on June 23, 2012
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This is the first book I've read on enlightenment and I am very happy about it. If a person wants information relatively straight from the masters, this is the right book. I can't imagine a better book to begin with. And it's easy to read. The author's writing style is natural. His research is voluminous.

This books presents a pure Zen approach. The best feature (IMO) is it's reinforcement that Zen is nonjudgemental, all things are one, no difference between good and evil, etc. Other authors describe a Zen that pushes a moral aspect, be good to your neighbor, etc. Seems good, but that isn't Zen. I would'nt have picked up on it if I hadn't read this book first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Phil Calandra on April 27, 2014
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This is an excellent resource book which chronicles Zen in Indian Buddhism and Chinese Taoism through its development in China and migration to Japan. The book includes the biography of several Chinese and Japanese Masters who helped to shape Zen. Although this is a very detailed and informative book, it is somewhat dry and difficult to get through. Also, the book gets very little into the mechanics of Zen and the living of a Zen life. However, for all those readers interested in Eastern Philosophy, this is an excellent resource book that can be referred to again and again and is indispensable to have in one's library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Conrad Neil on April 23, 2013
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For a student who wishes to learn about the roots and background of Zen Buddhism and gain a grasp of the philosophy, this book is an excellent resource.
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