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Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Paperback with Flaps edition (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804831866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804831864
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It has stayed with me for the last 30 years, a classic portraying Zen mind to our linear thinking." — Phil Jackson, Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls and author of Sacred Hoops

"This book was my introduction to Buddhism nearly thirty years ago. I am delighted to see this new edition of this wonderful classic." — Sylvia Boorstein, author of It's Easier Than You Think

"This book has been a steadfast portal through which millions in the West have peered to catch at the very least a glimpse of Zen mind at play in all its thought-shattering dialogue, humor, joy, and wisdom." — Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are

"Perhaps the first Dharma book I ever read, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, remains a classic, a gem, a gift to us all." — Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

From the Publisher

Here, in one volume are four original sources for Zen 101: Zen Stories, The Gateless Gate, Bulls, and Centering Together serve as a desirable volume of source readings for one already familiar with Zen. For the reader not familiar with Zen, this is an ideal introduction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This book can be read over and over.
Pierce
Of all books about Zen, this is most unassuming I've seen.
Giuseppe A. Paleologo
The book is well organized, and thus very easy to read.
Jeffrey P. Colin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Giuseppe A. Paleologo on February 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Of all books about Zen, this is most unassuming I've seen. There is no theory or abridged version of zen philosophy. The stories are carefully chosen and gracefully translated. They leave the reader in a state of wonder, curiosity and puzzlement. What I liked in this book is that it is not trying to educate the reader by teaching him a doctrine. It seems to me that it is true to the zen spirit in this respect. A little literary gem.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 12, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This may be the most beloved of all Zen books in English. It is a little volume to treasure, to reread and to ponder, to take delight in and to laugh at and laugh with. It is a compilation of four smaller books:

First there are 101 Zen stories. These are the best and most classic of the stories, many of them so familiar that they are now part of American culture as well as Zen culture. The stories constitute lessons in life, insights into our nature and ways to enlightenment or how one has wandered off the path--or better yet, how there is no path and no wandering. Unlike many Zen tales, which can be deeply mystifying to non-initiates, most of the ones presented here are luminous.

Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki, who are the transcribers, begin with the famous tale of Zen master Nan-in overflowing a visiting professor's tea cup to illustrate how filled the professor is with himself, so filled he cannot learn anything new. Included are two of my favorites, (1) that of Tanzan and Ekido, the former a monk who carried a pretty girl across a muddy road and his monastic friend who could not let go of her in his mind; and (2) the parable attributed to the Buddha about a man hanging over a cliff holding onto a vine being gnawed on by two mice (one black and one white--yin and yang, perhaps), with a tiger above and another below, and a luscious strawberry. How sweet it tasted indeed! By the way I have recently learned that a variant of this story comes from the Mahabharata as reported by Georg Feuerstein in The Essence of Yoga (1974). There the mice are rats (still black and white) and the man is hanging from a tree over a pit in which waits a giant serpent. He is drinking honey.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Gary Sprandel on July 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am sure the Zen masters of this book, would give me a whack on the side of my head, for writing a review, but here goes. The book brings together 4 original Zen sources. The first, 101 Zen stories, presents koans and parables. These can be confusing and amusing, such as the Sound of One Hand Clapping, and One-finger Zen. The Gateless Gate, by Mumonkan, further adds to the syncopation, by offering seemingly random arguments about some of the koans, and then concludes with a Zen students criticism of the rascal Mumonkan. So, the first two sections may be a multiple layered koan ... and one is left mildly uneasy about the use of words for teaching Zen. The 10 Bulls section and the Woodblock illustrations are beautiful poetry, more accessible, and metaphors for the stages of enlightenment. Finally, Centering, is a transcript of a pre-Zen document, 4000 years old from Kashmir. It is surprising Zen like, for example a favorite: "When in worldly activity, keep attentive between the two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days be born anew" . A great source book, without interpretation.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James Sheffield on July 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
To a student of Zen, it is unnecessary to introduce this book. For those folks reading about Zen for the first time, this is a collection of Zen and Pre-Zen writings. For the greater part, it allows you to explore with your own mind these great insights without a lot of left-brain interference. Oh yes, you get clues but no answers, because these must come from the fusion of the neurons in your own brain.
I will have to admit that I no longer lend this book to anyone. It never comes back. My copy is old and has notations on every page, thoughts that occurred to me. While I was reading it for the first time a few years back, I had a dream. In the dream, I entered an ancient house and walked down into the black basement. As I opened each of a series of doors in this darkness, I would reach for the light in the center of the room. Light after light popped on. I am sure I do not have to interpret this dream for you. That is exactly what happened to the darkness in my mind: light after light illuminated my world. I was so excited I could hardly breathe. It was the beginning of a long flight towards freedom.
The greatest part of this is you do not have to learn to meditate. Each teaching brings you closer and closer to solving the problem of your mind, that is, relating conscious to preconscious awareness, into your every day living. It offers the flesh and bones of Zen. The marrow is your discovery of yourself.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Damon Navas-Howard on October 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Okay kids, this would probably be my pick for desert island book. I forget exactly how I got this book and read it but I do remember the first time I read the "Zen Stories" section of this book and being tottaly blowned away. I have never laughed so hard and related so much to a story in my life. I read half the book in one sitting and ever since have been practicing and reading about Zen. For months, I carried this book with me everywhere and I read a couple pages atleast twice a day. My copy is ragged and I'll probably have to get a new copy soon. I still am always reading it and lending it to friends. "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" is a collection of famous Zen stories, Mumon's The Gateless Gate(a collection of koans), the famous 10 bulls Zen story & paintings, and a chapter that is called "Centering." The last section is great but doesn't really fit in the Zen Canon(I could be wrong?) The rest however fully express Zen as what it really is and not some philosophy or state you have to achieve but Buddha-nature and enlightment which you already have. If you read one book on Zen, this should be it.
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