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Zen Art for Meditation Mass Market Paperback – December 15, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stewart W. Holmes has made extensive forays--via general semantics and Zen--into the realm of nonverbal experience. As an officer of the Cambridge Buddhist Association, he was well acquainted with its former president, the eminent Zen scholar Daisetz Suzuki. Dr. Shinichi Hisamatsu, the founder of the Association, was his first Zen master. Among his other publications are Meaning in Language and articles for a number of journals. At present Dr. Holmes, who holds a Ph.D. in English from Yale University, is on the English faculty of Castleton State College, Vermont.

Chimyo Horioka, who is responsible for the nonverbal aspects of this volume, is Far Eastern Librarian in the Asiatic Department of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and author of many articles on Buddhist art. A priest of the Shingon sect and graduate of Koyasan University, he also studied philosophy at Hamburg and Koenigsberg universities. He has been president of the Cambridge Buddhist Association since the death of Dr. Daisetz Suzuki in 1966.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; F First Printing edition (December 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804812551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804812559
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.3 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By whiltz@mindspring.com on January 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought my copy of this small treasure fifteen years ago, and few books have ever worn so well. It is as fresh and beautiful for me today as when I first read it. The book is divided into fifteen chapters, each devoted to a central tenet of Zen Buddhism, which is then elaborated upon through the presentation of several Chinese or Japanese paintings and a number of haiku, all of which are masterfully related to the tenet through a simple prose explantion. The tone is often light and playful, but the insights are profound, and the various parts of the book flow together flawlessly. It is a true pleasure to have and to read. You can't go wrong here.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One copy of this elegant book lives in my backpack. On a 15-day walk through Wales, I used the 15 tenets -- around which the book is organized -- one each day, as the focus for that day's experiences. Holmes's Zen tenets enriched this hike immeasurably. The insights connecting text, art, and haiku are freshly realized with each meditative dip into this timeless book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tadasana on January 8, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a treasure for the reasons described by the other favorable reviewers. However, the images are all printed in black-and-white and the reproduction quality is poor, especially because the images are reduced to fit in a small book. All of this really works against the author's recommendations for using the book.

The author narrates a guided journey through the image, highlighting details that reflect each chapter's Zen tenet. Unfortunately, I often have to squint to find those details--or give up and just take the author's word for it.

The author also suggests that you keep the book open nearby as you meditate in order to view the image during your practice. But here again the book itself doesn't cooperate: it doesn't lay flat and it's too small to keep the image realistically visible even if you place it on the floor near your meditation cushion. I wedge the book beneath my knees and glance down at the image but clearly this could be a much more satisfying experience with a larger-format book.

I'd love to see this book re-printed in a larger form that could be rolled like a scroll (for backpackers and such).

Meanwhile, I also suggest that fellow novices interested in meditating with Zen art do this: go ahead and buy this book--it's affordable, concise, accessible, and thoughtful. Practice its approach, but also purchase a large, full-color printing of some Zen-inspired artworks by, for example, some of the haiku poets used in this one.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A wonderful little book, for those intertested in zen and haiku and Asian art. We in introduced to the inter-connectedness of the haiku poets and the paintings, which reflect the spirt of enlightenment. Contains many of the great haiku of the past. An excellent starter book for someone who is curious about zen, and also a fine refresher course for the long-time student of Eastern thought. I've bought many copies as gifts for friends. Highly recommended
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though I have been interested in haiku and Asian art for more than thirty years, I had never read this book until recently. I love the unique approach the author uses, combining Asian art and haiku from the great masters of the past to create lessons in Zen meditation.

This text covers fifteen Zen tenets, with each section showing an Asian piece of art along with several haiku. I really enjoyed the detailed explanation of each drawing and how it related to the specific Zen tenet.

In conclusion, this is a book for anyone interested in Asian art, Japanese haiku and Zen meditation.

Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Season of the Warrior: A poetic tribute to warriors).
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