Customer Review

306 of 315 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the only Zen book you'll ever need., August 29, 2001
This review is from: The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment (Paperback)
I guess that most people getting interested in Zen without having a competent roshi within reach are facing the living hell of Zen books. At least that was the situation in my case. So, I was picking up all sorts of books on Zen from authors of unknown or doubtful competence. Some aren't really worth the paper they are printed on. This process turned out to be quite time and money consuming without getting closer to the results one is expecting.
Even after reading books from known authorities like D.T. Suzuki I found out that my own progress was still slow, because many of these kind of books are pretty academic, barely touching the most important practice and heart of Zen--the practice of Zazen.
"The Three Pillars of Zen" is the first book in a fairly long line of Zen books I read that approaches Zen in a practical way that enables Westerners to get started with Zen right away, without having a teacher. Roshi Kapleau wrote a well structured and personal book, reporting from his own development under various Zen masters in Japan back in the 1950s. In the chapters of "The Three Pillars of Zen" Kapleau lets his own teachers speak. This approach gives a unique insight into Zen practice in Japan, the traps and pitfalls and how to avoid them. It also explains what Zazen and dokusan are all about as well as the important role of the koan, its proper use (and misuse).
This book really sets back the majority of Zen books I read so far by at least 2 stars (Amazon.com rating). If I'd be forced to pick only one book about Zen, this would be the one.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 5, 2008 10:12:30 AM PDT
Good news

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 5:11:49 AM PDT
Well worth re-reading.
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