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Miniatures of a Zen Master [Hardcover]

Robert Aitken , Nelson Foster

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2008
For more than four decades, Robert Aitken Roshi has taught thousands of people the Buddhist practice of Zen meditation, and has led hundreds through their practice of the study of traditional koans. He has authored more than a dozen books, including a celebrated appreciation of Basho's haiku; volumes of commentary on sacred texts; works on ethics, daily life, and social action; and one of the best-loved introductions to Zen Buddhism, Taking the Path of Zen. After a long and remarkable life-he will be 91 years old when this collection is published-Aitken Roshi offers a collection of 266 short texts. Some are clearly parables; others are simple stories, quotations, memories, and commentaries. Resembling Benjamin Franklin's Almanac or the epigrams of Chamfort as much as it does work from ancient sages, this collection of "miniatures" distills a life devoted to teaching and awareness. Any person living a considered life, whether secular humanist or religious seeker, will find this a book of rich inspiration.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (Sept. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582434417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582434414
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,643,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"As an author, intellectual, and historical figure, Aitken knows how important transmission of information can be."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad but... Jan. 3 2010
By Hortense - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to admit to some disappointment in this book. Less about Zen than about random experiences that stuck Aitken Roshi as significant, its feels like random jottings from his journal that had no other platform for expression. On a note on Schiller's lyrics in Ode to Joy "his creator must have been very far away" or on Zen and Psychology, "many students and teachers think that Zen is a type of Psychology. This is like saying persimmons are a type of banana. The Zen Master is more like a flea than a psychologist. More like a cool breeze. More like a mountain peak. I am not exaggerating or being fanciful." Or, "Wallace Stevens ends his poem "the snow man" with the lines, 'the nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.' When I studied American Literature in college the instructor said, "this is a kind of nihilism. If so the definition of nihilism needs expanding." So many of his little quips leave me thinking, 'so what." could be my lack of imagination but I leave wanting more.
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Word Feb. 27 2013
By Margie Hughes - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is, in one sense, the last word on Zen from a great teacher. Personal, intimate, and inspiring, the teachings here are available to all.
5.0 out of 5 stars short form Feb. 11 2013
By Welle - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Read them and read them over and over again. These little texts never get old.
The late Aitken Roshi was full of wisdom. He does not boast and leaves everything to the reader to find his own!

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