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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 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
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
First there are 101 Zen stories. These are the best and most classic of the stories, many of them so familiar that they are now part of American culture as well as Zen culture. The stories constitute lessons in life, insights into our nature and ways to enlightenment or how one has wandered off the path--or better yet, how there is no path and no wandering. Unlike many Zen tales, which can be deeply mystifying to non-initiates, most of the ones presented here are luminous.
Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki, who are the transcribers, begin with the famous tale of Zen master Nan-in overflowing a visiting professor's tea cup to illustrate how filled the professor is with himself, so filled he cannot learn anything new. Included are two of my favorites, (1) that of Tanzan and Ekido, the former a monk who carried a pretty girl across a muddy road and his monastic friend who could not let go of her in his mind; and (2) the parable attributed to the Buddha about a man hanging over a cliff holding onto a vine being gnawed on by two mice (one black and one white--yin and yang, perhaps), with a tiger above and another below, and a luscious strawberry. How sweet it tasted indeed! By the way I have recently learned that a variant of this story comes from the Mahabharata as reported by Georg Feuerstein in The Essence of Yoga (1974). There the mice are rats (still black and white) and the man is hanging from a tree over a pit in which waits a giant serpent. He is drinking honey.Read more ›
To a student of Zen, it is unnecessary to introduce this book. For those folks reading about Zen for the first time, this is a collection of Zen and Pre-Zen writings. For the greater part, it allows you to explore with your own mind these great insights without a lot of left-brain interference. Oh yes, you get clues but no answers, because these must come from the fusion of the neurons in your own brain.
I will have to admit that I no longer lend this book to anyone. It never comes back. My copy is old and has notations on every page, thoughts that occurred to me. While I was reading it for the first time a few years back, I had a dream. In the dream, I entered an ancient house and walked down into the black basement. As I opened each of a series of doors in this darkness, I would reach for the light in the center of the room. Light after light popped on. I am sure I do not have to interpret this dream for you. That is exactly what happened to the darkness in my mind: light after light illuminated my world. I was so excited I could hardly breathe. It was the beginning of a long flight towards freedom.
The greatest part of this is you do not have to learn to meditate. Each teaching brings you closer and closer to solving the problem of your mind, that is, relating conscious to preconscious awareness, into your every day living. It offers the flesh and bones of Zen. The marrow is your discovery of yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a classic, as fresh now as ever. Zen wisdom never fades. The stories are enlightening and wonderful.Published 8 days ago by Richard
This is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in Zen.Published 26 days ago by Gary Horton
I have read and used this wonderful book for decades. I often give it as a gift. Such is the reason I bought this copy.Published 2 months ago by Mary Matvy
Wonderful book, to the point, pure enlightenment useful verses.Published 3 months ago by marie-paule Grenham
Just one of those books you can read over and over and it makes for a nice gift!Published 3 months ago by Rebecca MacMillan