Enter your mobile number 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.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $12.95
  • Save: $3.12 (24%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
What Is Zen? has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: It has good pages, a good binding. There is wear on the covers and some bent pages in back. Otherwise, the book is in very good condition, with no writing or highlighting! 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to Thousands of happy customers. FAST SHIPPING! Ships direct from Amazon. Free shipping on orders over $35! And Free 2nd day shipping on orders over $49! Tracking number and Amazon customer service provided with every order.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

What Is Zen? Paperback – October 5, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.83
$5.76 $0.04

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$9.83 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • What Is Zen?
  • +
  • What Is Tao?
  • +
  • The Way of Zen
Total price: $26.88
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alan Watts, was instrumental in introducing Eastern thought to Western civilization. He held both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, and is best known as an interpreter of Indian and Chinese philosophy and Zen Buddhism. He was the author of hundreds of articles on philosophy and religion, and 33 books that have been translated into eleven languages.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library (September 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577311671
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577311676
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #913,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Enns on March 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is another in a series of great books that are compilations of lectures of the late Alan Watts by his son Mark. It is an excellent introduction to Zen, and it is also a very good synopsis for those who have studied Zen in detail for many years. With his typical genius for getting to the heart of the matter, Dr. Watts describes exactly what is the essence of Zen in the first chapter. Later on he even gives a tip for understanding the sometimes puzzling behavior of that unique species of human beings, the Zen master. Watts stresses the need for us to set up an environment where we can stop thinking or talking to ourselves, which is meditation, and he clearly describes a good technique for doing this. The state of mind that is a result of this suspension of thought is not a blank mind, but rather a mind that is deeply aware of the world as it is. Finally, Watts sums it all up by showing us how the Zen mind is not only a mind that can most effectively deal with those infamous Zen koans, but also with all of life's situations.
I recommend this book to the beginner as well as the seasoned veteran of Zen studies. It is short, to the point, and a brilliant expression of the essence of Zen.
Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This book is another in a series of great books that are compilations of lectures of the late Alan Watts by his son Mark. It is an excellent introduction to Zen, and it is also a very good synopsis for those who have studied Zen in detail for many years. With his typical genius for getting to the heart of the matter, Dr. Watts describes exactly what is the essence of Zen in the first chapter. Later on he even gives a tip for understanding the sometimes puzzling behavior of that unique species of human beings, the Zen master. Watts stresses the need for us to set up an environment where we can stop thinking or talking to ourselves, which is meditation, and he clearly describes a good technique for doing this. The state of mind that is a result of this suspension of thought is not a blank mind, but rather a mind that is deeply aware of the world as it is. Finally, Watts sums it all up by showing us how the Zen mind is not only a mind that can most effectively deal with those infamous Zen koans, but also with all of life's situations.
I recommend this book to the beginner as well as the seasoned veteran of Zen studies. It is short, to the point, and a brilliant expression of the essence of Zen.
1 Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A broad basic overview of the principals of Zen...The book explains the basics well enough, although I think there are a few better alternative books for those that wish to delve much deeper in exploring the philosophy, methods and paths of Zen. All in all, this is still a decent book on the principals of Zen.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Alan is my favourite author on Zen and Taoism, and this book certainly maintains his standard! Paradoxically, he says that such subjects can't be written or spoken about to convey their true nature, yet after reading him I find my way of thinking had become changed without me being able to identify why! Sort of like having an audience with a Zen Master I suppose, not that I have! Somehow things are conveyed and absorbed by 'osmosis'!
This book is so relatively cheap that if you are at all interested in the subject, I advise giving it a try; I'm sure you'll want more from Alan!
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The best book I have found to introduce me to Buddhism is Mindfulness in Plain English: 20th Anniversary Edition. Another good one is Buddhism Plain and Simple.

However, What is Zen? is also a good book, even if a little abstract. With this book, I recommend that you read the last chapter first. That chapter, "Zen Mind," is the best explanation of Zen I've found - I've read a few other books, but after this chapter I now feel I have a clear idea of what Zen is.

The previous chapters are good, but as I read them I kept thinking, "When is he going to tell me what Zen really is?" Now that I have read the final chapter, I will have to read the first ones again.

This book is apparently a compilation of lectures. Each "chapter" is a different lecture, I assume. The chapters have the informal feel of lectures before a small group, rather than essays or usual chapters in a book.

I've just begun to study Zen. People will tell you that Zen is not something you can put into a book, but "sazen" lectures like this are surely helpful to point you in the right direction.

The book's language is simple and plain, which I appreciate as I'm trying to learn about Zen. This book is a short, easy read. I read it in probably three hours.

If you want a much more in-depth book about Zen, I recommend The Way of Zen by the same author. I'm halfway through it so far, but can already recommend it wholeheartedly.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this rating because the author was able to describe Zen in a clear and understandable way that I could relate to. I knew of Zen and Buddhism for a long time now, but never took the time to try to further my understanding of what it's really all about. This book brought home the foundation of what Zen is all about for me with inspiration to want to learn and know more.

I also liked the book because the author had so much real life experience to know what he was writing about. Also, unlike me, the author's ability to convey his thoughts and ideas through written words on a subject matter so inconceivable was truly stimulating.

If you've always found yourself a liken to Zen Buddha sayings and teachings, but really (honestly) only knew of them superciliously through TV, movies, books, Facebook, etc... then this book is for you. If you are at all inclined to want to know more about Zen without delving into a large quantity of minutia that would turn the scholar away from studying their subject matter, then this book is for you (too).

There is so much more I could say, but that would only detract from the experience one can only achieve on your own. May you always find your way in life that is the way for you.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

What Is Zen?
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: What Is Zen?

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: zen