- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Doubleday Anchor (1961)
- ASIN: B001Q745TS
- Package Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: a Collection of Zen and pre-Zen Writings Mass Market Paperback – 1961
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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.
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.
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.
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!