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Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Shambhala Pocket Classics) Paperback – November 22, 1994
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"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Paul Reps, the compiler, was an American who lived in many countries, including India, Norway, and Japan, and studied many of man's efforts to find and realize his true spiritual stature. He was the author of several books of poems and prose. He once said that he felt "the equal of each grass blade and pebble and believe that it is possible to be happy though human and grown up."
Nyogen Senzaki, a Buddhist scholar of international character to whom Reps acknowledged a deep debt of gratitude, was born in Japan. Early in life he became a "homeless monk," wandering the land and studying from Buddhist monastery to monastery. His wanderings eventually took him to America, where for over 50 years he lived in California, with no connection with any sect, denomination, or cathedral, radiating the free and creative spirit of Zen upon all who cared to share his study, meditation, wisdom, and loving kindness. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
You 'could' look up their meanings through other resources, and others thoughts about each one, and this would be quite damaging.
They are meant for you to think about in solitude, and to come to the answers and meanings in the same way that a person "gets a joke". When you see through them, you just smile. To have it explained to you, you don't 'get' it at all, and your vision is blocked further even. It's probably the single best resource for Zen. Surprisingly (or not) there are many resources and experts that try to explain these in academic exercises and clearly don't really understand them at all, but still curiously have a sizable following.
Overall, anyone interested in Zen should get this book, and consult no one about it. Only read or listen to it, over and over again. You'll be surprised what comes to you.
A couple of days ago the question arose "how did I get into zen?" I looked for the book, half realizing I no longer had it (although I have other books on zen), and then searched Amazon for zen books and after looking at maybe 2 dozen titles saw it, and I'm not at all surprised that there are 50 some reviews and the average is 5 stars.
Edit: A month or so after writing this review I ordered a copy, received it yesterday. The cover is different, of course. It's interesting to see that on the cover there are testimonials by several very famous people attesting to the decades long impact this book has had on their lives.
This classic book subsumes them tall with cat heads, tea cups, ungrateful abbots on fire, and one-eyed monks looking for a fight. Without philosophizing or preaching, it encapsulates the essence of Zen and Buddhism in such an understated and humorous way it is amazing how profound and ultimately romantic it actually is - reminding us what a noble (non) pursuit enlightenment can be. The stories, koans, and meditations will stick with you years after the scepter-wielding ramblings of Alan Watts have faded from memory.
Here is the paradox of mystery composed of absolute clarity & purity, as expressed through often humorous, even (seemingly) ridiculous stories ... yet they make sense at a very deep level, one that bypasses rational, logical thought or conscious understanding. Behind the sometimes giggling face of the monk is a most rigorous, utterly focused mind, one that cuts preconceptions & ego to ribbons.
For anyone interested in the essence of Zen, for anyone wanting to step outside of the world of ten thousand shallow, mass-produced things, this book is indispensable. Most highly recommended!