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#84652 - 04/24/05 03:26 PM Zen for dummies ..?

Howdy folks,

This whole 'zen' idea is starting to appeal to me more and more, and I'd like to find a foothold on the workings of it. Is there any reading material you would specifically recommend for someone who has never done any research on the subject? (I.e. Zen for dummies!).

Granted, I don't plan on following it's ways, per se, but it's always nice to pick and choose to add to my own individual way of life.

Much appreciated.


#84653 - 04/24/05 05:15 PM Re: Zen for dummies ..?

Daisetz T. Suzuki is considered by many to be the lay authority on Zen in the West.

His book: An Introduction to Zen Buddhism may be a good start even though it is a bit of a difficult read.

He has written a few other books that may appeal to you as well.

Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams comes highly recommended by many martial artists. I found it a little shallow in places and didn't really like the book, but others seem to enjoy it.

I'm sure there is an abundance of material out there for you. Let us know if you find a gem.


#84654 - 04/24/05 08:06 PM Re: Zen for dummies ..?

The Way of Zen by Watts

#84655 - 04/24/05 08:41 PM Re: Zen for dummies ..?

there are many good web sites as well. one i love is called "leaves from the buddhas grove" (sorry im html illiterate youl have to cut and paste) iot has more info than you can imagine from how to sit zazen to the more esoteric teachings. may your seeking end your suffering


hmmm i guess this site is smarter than me! it made the link....tada!

[This message has been edited by wolfscalissi (edited 04-24-2005).]

#84656 - 04/24/05 11:18 PM Re: Zen for dummies ..?

I actually saw a book titled "Zen For Dummies" at Barnes and Nobles. I don't know how good it is, but you might want to read a few pages. If you do, let me know what you think.

#84657 - 04/25/05 06:48 AM Re: Zen for dummies ..?

The books that I have enjoyed are:

Zen flesh, Zen Bones, P. Reps and N. Senzaki
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, S. Suzuki
Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings of D.T. Suzuki, by William Barrett
The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, Trans. by John Blofeld

and something interesting to go with above:

The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

My take on meditation is: try it and get over it. Meditation without meditation is the ultimate goal.

[This message has been edited by harlan (edited 04-25-2005).]

#84658 - 04/25/05 09:41 AM Re: Zen for dummies ..?

Well, I don't plan on meditating, but I appreciate the thought. It's more along the lines of wanting to understand what you kats are talking about half the time ..I feel in the dark everytime I come on this particular forum, but philosophies of all kind have always appealled to me, and I'd like to learn more.

These books you all have mentioned they are all books that someone with no Zen knowledge whatsoever, could understand? They wont use words like "Zazen" and "Mushin" (for example) and not explain what the heck it means??

These are all books that could be purchased via, I'm guessing. Correct?

Thanks alot!


#84659 - 04/25/05 10:12 AM Re: Zen for dummies ..?

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ket:
Is there any reading material you would specifically recommend for someone who has never done any research on the subject? (I.e. Zen for dummies!).[/QUOTE]

The best book, in my opinion, is "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," by Shunryu Suzuki.

In fact, these are translations of the short talks he gave after students sat in zazen.

In context, zazen is the practice of sitting in a fixed position. As long as we move our bodies, it can be very difficult to recognize that our minds are also moving. If we stop the body, we quickly notice that something is still moving very actively. And that is the mind. The idea of sitting still is to allow the mind to settle, too. When it settles, it becomes very clear, but even that is tricky. Even thinking that the mind is still is a movement of the mind.

Suzuki talks about these things in very subtle messages. But remember that every word counts.

I was once discussing zazen with a friend and mentioned that I had read that you shouldn't try to do zazen every day because then it becomes a "thing that you do," an item on your schedule.

My friend firmly countered that he had read that you "should" do zazen every day.

I said, "Where did you read that?"

He said, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind."

We looked it up and it said you should "not" try to do zazen every day because it will become "doing" something and the very purpose of zazen is "not-doing."

It's a great book on Zen if you understand that sitting is the main practice. This explains why that is and how the effect works. I highly recommend it.


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