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on August 20, 2010
My introduction to Buddhism came through the Eckhard Tolle books. I looked at this free book to better understand what Tolle talks about and I ended up submerged in an wealth of explanations (understandings) such as, where did the name Zen come from, what are the basic tenets, how is it different from others. The book reads as if written today except for the occasional dated grammar.

The book goes much beyond the roots of Zen. I spent the last hour reading the discussion on the nature of man. Is man fundamentally good, fundamentally bad? The book explores four options and then moves to explore the relationship of man to nature (the universe in my terminology). Wonderful and easy to read.
59 helpful votes
60 helpful votes
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on May 31, 2017
Just as described, the way it should be.
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on October 28, 2017
Great classic story.
1 helpful vote
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on October 23, 2017
deleted it. Was not expecting a history book with nothing but dates and names
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on March 26, 2013
I discovered The Religion of the Samurai via D.T. Suzuki's book Essays in Zen Buddhism. It is an excellent companion book to the Essays and includes a fairly detailed history of Buddhism from earliest times to the present, with useful explanations of practical observance and terminology. It also clarifies the differences between Indian, Chinese and Japanese understanding and application of this timeless repository of wisdom. A most useful reference book.
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on December 29, 2010
This FREE e-book from Kindle represents my first Kindle purchase . . . Essentially a dry run into the Kindle universe. On the technical side, I did not like the e-formatting of the book. Otherwise, this is a charming, though dated, brief history of Zen Buddhism in China and Japan, first published in 1913.

A previous reviewer says that the book was confusing. I can understand why. With its late Nineteenth Century prose style and constructions ("To-Day," "Shakya Muni"), it reads very unlike present day books on Zen. When this book was written, Zen was virtually unheard of in America and Europe. The first Zen teacher to come to America, Soyen Shaku, had arrived in Chicago for the World Congress of Religions in 1893, only two decades earlier, and his direct impact in transmitting the Dharma had been miniscule; but Soyen's disciple, D.T. Suzuki, was to have a major impact on Zen in America over many decades.

It's important to realize that, more than likely, a forgotten hard copy of this book sits dustily on the shelves of the Library of Congress, untouched since before World War I, except for this scanning. This is very literally THE introductory volume of Zen in the West. There are better, more modern ones that are far more accessible to the 21st Century student of Zen. Still, for a serious student of Zen, this is a must have book if only because it is so obscure.
20 helpful votes
21 helpful votes
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on April 18, 2013
I had never really connected Zen with Samurai before reading this book. Taught me a lot about how they related.
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on September 29, 2015
History, history, history in view of a perspective.
I enjoy histories and read what I can even if I do not agree with the authors upon the actual perspective implied or decreed.
1 helpful vote
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on September 25, 2013
I really tried to enjoy the authors perspective on a subject that is NOT new to me. The writer seemed very non Zen based on many of his remarks. It appears that anything that was not don't exactly like his school of thought is inferior. Instead of sounding like an enlighted person, he sounded like a typical Western Christian!
1 helpful vote
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on May 18, 2016
Most comprehensive, scholastic work on the topic I've seen, and I've studied the topic for several decades.
1 helpful vote
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