Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Elements of Zen Hardcover – 1997
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
After an introduction in which the authors explain that "Zen is first and foremost the experience which the student must recognize in his or her own life," the book charts the history of Zen from the birth of the Buddha in sixth century BC India, through its arrival in China in AD 520 and Japan in the 1200s, and concluding with its growing popularity in the West. The book also covers the basic differences between the Rinzai and Soto schools, the former of which emphasizes practice toward enlightenment while the latter emphasizes practice as enlightenment itself.
The next few sections cover za-zen, or the practice of Zen meditation, with explanations, tips, and illustrations, also briefly describing monastic life and the inner workings of a Buddhist temple. There follows a section on "Zen in Daily Life," including the Four Noble Truths (in short: suffering is caused by clinging to desires) and the Eightfold Path (in short, how to find liberation from worldly desire), and interesting discussions of Zen cooking and the martial arts. Concluding the book is a Q & A section, which answered most of my immediate questions, and a collection of sutras.
All in all, a good introduction.