The Way of Zen Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD
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After D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts stands as the godfather of Zen in America. Often taken to task for inspiring the flimsy spontaneity of Beat Zen, Watts had an undeniably keen understanding of his subject. Nowhere is this more evident than in his 1957 classic The Way of Zen, which has been reissued. Watts takes the reader back to the philosophical foundations of Zen in the conceptual world of Hinduism, follows Buddhism's course through the development of the early Mahayana school, the birth of Zen from Buddhism's marriage with Chinese Taoism, and on to Zen's unique expression in Japanese art and life. As a Westerner, Watts anticipates the stumbling blocks encountered with such concepts as emptiness and no-mind, then illustrates with flawlessly apt examples. Many popular books have been written on Zen since Watts' time, but few have been able to muster the rare combination of erudition and clarity that have kept The Way of Zen in readers' hands decade after decade. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
“No one has given such a concise...introduction to the whole history of this Far Eastern development of Buddhist thought as Alan Watts.” ―Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand FacesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is divided into two parts, "Background and History" and Principles and Practice," each with four chapters. There is a bibliography also divided into two parts, the first referring to original sources and second to general works on Zen in European languages. There are 16 pages of Chinese Notes in calligraphy keyed to the text, and an Index.
"The Way" in the title refers to the "watercourse way" from Taoism, a philosophy to which Zen owes much, as Watts makes clear in the first two chapters, "The Philosophy of the Tao" and "The Origins of Buddhism." The first chapter is one of the best on Taoism that I have ever read, replete with insight and wisdom. Throughout, Watts expresses himself in an infectious style, even in the very scholarly chapters on the history of Buddhism where he traces Zen from its origin in India, through the Buddha under the Po tree, to Ch'an in China, and finally into Japan.Read more ›
which seemed to just ramble along. I am not really good at critiques, but I really enjoyed
this book. Easy to read. Some concepts are so foreign to my common sense way of
thinking that it sort of turns my thinking inside-out. The idea makes sense. I cannot find
fault with it. But regrettably, my mind snaps back to its usual way of thinking.
For example: We tend to think of our self as an independent being inside of a separate
world. But actually there exists no separate being or outside world. The two are opposite
ends of a spectrum and reality exists only between the two ends. Sort of seems to be the
main point. That who you think you are is a mental construction, sort of a caricature of
itself. your true self is the entire world. One of my favorite sayings is "everywhere is the
center." Everywhere is everything. you are everything. I am everything and so is my
computer. Our minds create symbols to stand for parts of the world and then we start to
think that the world is made of parts. It seems that liberation comes from dying to your
sense of self. from ceasing trying to grasp at life as though it were something "other" that
could be grasped.
I can remember some magical times in my life when instead of me acting in the world, I
let the world take me by the hand and everything just clicked. I find these things
fascinating, but for some reason impossible to share.
There are some Zen stories which I can't seem to make any sense of, and I dunno, maybe
the point is to watch your mind try to make sense of it. I really am running off at the
mouth now. Oh well.Read more ›
Some of this is also due to our warped interpretation of religion. Fundamentally, it has been a mass-based, irrelevant pursuit where the believers are the cherished and get to sack in heaven with angels and the damned will be burnt in hell. I mean, even religion is based on what happens to one's senses which has proven time and again to be misleading. All great wars have been fought over religion and the heap of dead from time-immemorial has had generous contributions from the business of religious warfare. And all this is supposedly presided over by a monarch(read God) who sits in the heavens and is neatly using a double accounting system to be sure of his assets(believers) and liabilities(the pagans).
It is in this background that an experience like Zen is extremely critical so that we just get up, see that the emperor is not wearing any clothes and get on with our lives. Watts is simply the best as far as Zen is concerned.
Zen or Dhyana Budhhism is against the use of words/ symbols to describe enlightenment but believes in going for the state of pure bliss itself. This point has been brought about in this brilliant book by Alan Watts.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Definitely some of Alan's more detailed analysis of eastern philosophy. This book does however feature his very accessible approach to the Tao, zen and Buddhism.Published 18 days ago by roderick pritchard
Having listened to many of Alan Watts lectures prior to reading the book I was not surprised at the clarity of Watts words. Read morePublished on March 12 2013 by Brandon Sider
What I did not realise when ordering this CD was that it is narrated by
Ralph Bloom whose voice is less than compelling, and who speaks far too quickly. Read more
if you are a seeker and wish to achieve satori; stop seeking and let go of that wish...
this book is about dis-learning. YOU cannot learn anything from this great source. Read more
As most of us know, Watts is historically one of the most significant writer's introducing the West to Eastern thought. Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2003
Over a period of time, we have mistaken the map for the territory as depicted in the sciences(Aristotle, Newton, Euclid did a great disservice to the human intellect through their... Read morePublished on Aug. 14 2002 by Malli
I have read Alan Watts now for many years. I used to listen to him on PBS in Berkeley. Watts has a fantastic and interesting style of speaking. Read morePublished on May 16 2002 by James R. Acker
The prolific Alan Watts explains the origin, growth, development, and philosophy of Buddhism in a readable and interesting way. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2002 by K. Johnson
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