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Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy (Shambhala Classics) Paperback – September 13, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Written by a lay teacher with 60 years of experience in zazan, this book provides everyone from absolute beginner to experienced student with detailed, progressive information and discussion on breathing, posture, distraction, actions of mind, physiology, mood, laughter, kensho, and samadhi."—Library Journal



"An extraordinarily important book. It should be on the shelves of all libraries."—Choice



"[Sekida's] approach is radical in its attempt to define Zen practice in terms of Western physiology and phenomenology."—New Age Journal

"This book is a valuable work. Though physiologically technical, it remains personal and practical, focusing on the actual experience of zazen practice. Ultimately, however, it is the concentrated and serious spirit of the book that most tellingly establishes its value to those interested in Zen."—Philip Kapleau

About the Author

Katsuki Sekida (1893–1987) was by profession a high school teacher of English until his retirement in 1945. Zen, nevertheless, was his lifelong preoccupation. He began his Zen practice in 1915 and trained at Empuku-ji in Kyoto and Ryutaki-ji in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture. He taught at the Honolulu Zendo and Maui Zendo from 1963 to 1970 and at the London Zen Society from 1970 to 1972.
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Product Details

  • Series: Shambhala Classics
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590302834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590302835
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

In all, a very instructional book on the subject.
Mario G. Perez Fonseca
This book offers a very interesting account of the physiology of breathing during zazen practice and entering samahdi.
Kindle Customer
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the theory and practice of zen.
A. Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Zentao on November 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
There are a lot of books out there on zen; one may wander the aisles of any of the big book chains and see how the word has become a bit overused. However, if I were to suggest one book on zen that should be found on your shelf, this would be it. No fluff and/or preaching here, just solid information and discussion on the fundamentals of zazen.
I particularly like the fact that Sekida emphasizes breathing and energy flow from the tanden; for someone who practices Qigong this seems obvious but I think many who practice zazen take years to catch on. The sheer amount of practical advice in this book make it well worth the money and the discussion of three nen make it indispensible. In fact, I think this is a better place to start than many of the more esoteric zen books since really, this is all about the practice, not the theory.
Combine this with a book on Qigong, "Mindfulness in Plain English", and perhaps "Zen and the Brain" and then find a master; I don't think you'll ever regret the decision.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Miguel Suarez on May 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
For me, this book is the best book on zen I've read,because it deals with a topic that is essencial for learning zen, and that is not discussed in detail in most of the other books: how to practice zazen. It explains methods for breathing, diferent postures, what you should experience in zazen, and many other interesting things. I start practicing zazen a while ago under the direction of a zen monk, and I even went to a ten days sesshin (retreat), but I learned to breath in zazen through this book. I greatly recomend this book for anyone who is interested in zen, beginers and who has some knowledge alike.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A.C. Scott on June 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
The text is written by a laymen who taught high-school English and practiced/studied Zen in Japan. He later taught at several Zendos in Hawaii and in London.
There are several benefits of this text. First, the writer's cultural background bridges translation problems and he focuses on accurate translation of the ideas and concepts. Second, the writer is a laymen which may help the more cynical reader be more open to different ideas. Third, he discusses the fine points of meditation technique in a semi-scientific approach that appeals to a western mechanistic paradigm--we aren't caught up in flowery, artsy-fartsy instruction which does have a place but not for many Westerners interested in the actual practice methods. Fourth, I found the author has suggestions for improving that I haven't seen anywhere else. Fifth, the text describes practice that allows the practitioner to improve the technique to adapt to their special needs which I believe is realistic and very much in-line with the original intent of Siddartha--this is to help free the practitioner from the small inaccuracies always found in a mechanistic approach.
I recommend this as one of the best methods texts I have ever had the privlege to come across.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ron Grimes on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
There are Zen philosophers and Zen practitioners. This book is for the practitioner. After you have grown tired of the philosophical and intellectual musings of other authors, read this book to understand the absolute essentials behind Zen and why it works as no other approach does. Katsuki Sekida explains the three nens, and how the practice of Zazen breaks down our conditioning that keeps us in delusion. He goes on to explain the science of entering samadhi, and the role that posture, breath, and the Tan Tien play. With this understanding, it becomes much easier to bypass the chaos of rising thoughts and emotions, and quickly enter absolute samadhi. This book will help you, in weeks, to gain a depth of Zazen that might otherwise take years. You can take that quite literally; that is not an exaggeration or meant as hyperbole.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read many books on Zen, and this book is truly a unique treasure. It is beautifully written and translated and comes from a well regarded, long-time lay practitioner who also was a school teacher. What makes this book unique is the detail and clarity with which the author explains the techniques and theory of zazen. He integrates his knowledge of Zen with modern physiological principles producing explanations for what occurs in zazen that are satisfying spiritually as well as scientifically. I have not found this type of detail or several of the concepts and techniques described in any other source. Particularly for the student trying to develop a home practice without a teacher, this book will prove invaluable. There are also several excellent chapters about the philosophy and psychology of Zen, with nice connections to existentialism and depth psychology. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Zen practice. For a more rigorous and detailed physiological account of zazen, see Zen and the Brain by neurologist James Austin, an excellent companion book.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mario G. Perez Fonseca on January 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I've read on meditation, be it Zen of other. The author, a Japanese student of Zen, collected a seres of articles published in Hawaii on the topic of Zen Meditation, and published this great book. Starting from the very, very beginning, he will teach you how to breathe, how to sit correctly for meditation, how to count breaths and many techinques needed for correct achieval of Samadhi. He will also discuss spiritual and physical issues of Zen Meditation. In all, a very instructional book on the subject. Great for beginner or advanced meditators.
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