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Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings Paperback – September 15, 1998
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"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
"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
"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 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
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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.
once and forever
we - knowingly - smile
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones is a beautiful work. There's no scholastic interference - just straight up Zen stories, koans, etc.
Unassuming and small, the size of the book betrays the depth of its message. Four books in one - 'Zen Stories' originally published in 1939, 'The Gateless Gate' originally published in 1934, '10 Bulls' originally published in 1935, and 'Centering' originally published in 1955.
'Centering' is the last work but of the most importance. It was born through Kasmir Saivism and, as Paul Reps and others feel, it is of the same spirit as Zen. It is a Tantric text, with 112 methods of meditation (which Paul Reps calls 'Centering'), otherwise known as Dharanas. The sanskrit word Dhyana, in its wandering, became Jhana in Pali, Ch'an in Chinese, and Zen in Japanese. Therefore, the last book of Zen Flesh, Zen Bones could be seen as a Zen manual for self-realization. Practicing its techniques while remaining mindful of the spirit of the Zen stories and koans elsewhere in the book will surely guide a sincere seeker home.
This book will stay by my side for years. Strongly recommended for those after a taste of Zen spirit.
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!
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.