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Zen Buddhism [Paperback]

Daisetz T. Suzuki , William Barrett
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Book Description

July 1 1996
No other figure in history has played a bigger part in opening the West to Buddhism than the eminent Zen author, D.T. Suzuki, and in this reissue of his best work readers are given the very heart of Zen teaching. Zen Buddhism, which sold more than 125,000 as an Anchor paperback after its publication in 1956, includes a basic historical background as well as a thorough overview of the techniques for Zen practice. Concepts and terminology such as satori, zazen, and koans, as well as the various elements of this philosophy are all given clear explanations. But while Suzuki takes nothing for granted in the reader's understanding of the fundamentals, he does not give a merely rudimentary overview. Each of the essays included here, particularly those on the unconscious mind and the relation of Zen to Western philosophy, go far beyond other sources for their penetrating insights and timeless wisdom.



What is most important about D.T. Suzuki's work, however--and what comes across so powerfully in these selections--is his unparalleled ability to communicate the experiential aspect of Zen. The intensity here with which Zen philosophy comes to life is without parallel in the canon of Buddhist literature. Suzuki stands apart from all teachers before or since because of his exceptional ability to eloquently capture in words the seemingly inexpressible essence of Zen.

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The premier metaphysician of the 20th century, Martin Heidegger, once said in regard to D. T. Suzuki, "If I understand this man correctly, this is what I have been trying to say in all my writings." Roman Catholic writer Thomas Merton, analytical psychologist Carl Jung, social psychologist Erich Fromm, avant-garde musician John Cage, writer and social critic Alan Watts, poet Gary Snyder -- all influential in their own rights, claim a debt to Mr. Suzuki and his writings, the most representative of which are gathered here in Zen Buddhism. An intellectual understanding of Zen begins with this book.

From the Publisher

No other figure in history has played a bigger part in opening the West to Buddhism than the eminent Zen author, D.T. Suzuki, and in this reissue of his best work readers are given the very heart of Zen teaching. Zen Buddhism, which sold more than 125,000 as an Anchor paperback after its publication in 1956, includes a basic historical background as well as a thorough overview of the techniques for Zen practice. Concepts and terminology such as satori, zazen, and koans, as well as the various elements of this philosophy are all given clear explanations. But while Suzuki takes nothing for granted in the reader's understanding of the fundamentals, he does not give a merely rudimentary overview. Each of the essays included here, particularly those on the unconscious mind and the relation of Zen to Western philosophy, go far beyond other sources for their penetrating insights and timeless wisdom.

What is most important about D.T. Suzuki's work, however--and what comes across so powerfully in these selections--is his unparalleled ability to communicate the experiential aspect of Zen. The intensity here with which Zen philosophy comes to life is without parallel in the canon of Buddhist literature. Suzuki stands apart from all teachers before or since because of his exceptional ability to eloquently capture in words the seemingly inexpressible essence of Zen.


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Zen in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one's own being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen authority? May 12 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Suzuki is considered to be the foremost authority on Zen Buddhism. Suzuki brought Zen thought to America. The best of D.T. Suzuki is included here. I've read quite a bit on the subject and I believe Suzuki has the best grasp of Zen. The reading is difficult, but so is the topic. I highly recommend this book if you really want to get deep into Zen. Another slightly easier book to understand, 'Living Zen' by Robert Linssen uses Suzuki's material quite extensively.
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Format:Paperback
this is the second book that i have read by dt suzuki. i started with 'introduction to zen...' where 'introduction' was just that, and introduction to many of the ideas of zen, this book extracts from several other writings to focus in greater detail on different subjects in zen. one chapter that i was excited (but later left feeling wanting for more) about was a comparison of zen with existentialism. furthermore, i feel as though i got enough out of the 'introduction...' that much of this book was superfluous. however, that which i did appreciate were the chapters on the history and development of zen that was lacking in the 'introduction...'
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Selection from an Excellent Writer Jan. 3 2001
Format:Paperback
This was the first book I ever read on Zen, and it remains, in my mind, one of the best. D.T Suzuki is thorough and imaginative, linking the principles of Zen to the culture and history of Japan, as well as to Western philosophy. Suzuki has a well-deserved reputation as the 20th century's foremost authority on Japanese Zen. While perhaps more of a scholar's book than a practitioner's book, this selection of essays from Suzuki's Zen and Japanese Culture do a wonderful job of conveying the spirit and rich history of Japanese Zen, and its roots in Chinese Ch'an. Faced with a complex topic that by its very nature does not lend itself to written accounts, Suzuki manages to neither over-analyze the topic nor sidestep the issues by refusing comment. The essays selected give a good taste of the complex spectrum of Zen, and its many cultural and historical manifestations, without swamping the reader with material. A fine and complex work by a well-respected figure of the Zen tradition.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It takes a while to understand, but Suzuki really knew what he was talking about. It provides a very good understanding of his take on Zen Buddhism.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Selection from an Excellent Writer Jan. 2 2001
By Smerdyakov - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was the first book I ever read on Zen, and it remains, in my mind, one of the best. D.T Suzuki is thorough and imaginative, linking the principles of Zen to the culture and history of Japan, as well as to Western philosophy. Suzuki has a well-deserved reputation as the 20th century's foremost authority on Japanese Zen. While perhaps more of a scholar's book than a practitioner's book, this selection of essays from Suzuki's Zen and Japanese Culture do a wonderful job of conveying the spirit and rich history of Japanese Zen, and its roots in Chinese Ch'an. Faced with a complex topic that by its very nature does not lend itself to written accounts, Suzuki manages to neither over-analyze the topic nor sidestep the issues by refusing comment. The essays selected give a good taste of the complex spectrum of Zen, and its many cultural and historical manifestations, without swamping the reader with material. A fine and complex work by a well-respected figure of the Zen tradition.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for anyone and essential for Zen students June 13 2008
By Ted Biringer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
DT Suzuki is one of the most influential writers/philosophers on Zen and Buddhist teachings in the western world. Whether they agree with all of his positions or not, nobody in the western Zen community would deny the importance of Suzuki's role on bringing Zen to awareness in the West.

William Barrett has done an extraordinary job in compiling and introducing Dr. Suzuki's writings in this book, which is a veritable horn of plenty when it comes to the classic teachings of Zen Buddhism. Barrett's introduction alone (around 100 pages) is massive treatise on the core teachings of Zen.

A great read for all! Zen students that have not yet tackled the massive corpus of D.T. Suzuki's writings would be well advised to start with this superb collection which presents the essential teachings of Zen, and the heart of Suzuki's message in a wonderful format for all.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Academic, not practical March 20 2012
By The Ancient - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I will receive flak for writing this review, but as a warning to those seeking practical instruction on meditation, breathing and a concise teaching of the core principles, you will not find it here. This is not a bad book, if you are looking for an in depth analytical look into Zen's history, but be warned you must come into it with already some knowledge of names and terms. Suzuki never explains these and it is assumed you should already know them. As one of the first to bring these teachings to the West, this is to be expected and as such will seem quite dated. For those looking for a way to apply the teachings of Buddhism and Zen to their lives, I recommend instead Zen Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, as well as books by Alan Watts (The Way of Zen) and Thich Naht Hanh (The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching). I am a Westerner and quite frankly I do not care about the dogma and terms spoken in another tongue, this does not apply to me in my life in any practical manner. It is not the word or term that matters, or rote memorization of koans.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen authority? May 12 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Suzuki is considered to be the foremost authority on Zen Buddhism. Suzuki brought Zen thought to America. The best of D.T. Suzuki is included here. I've read quite a bit on the subject and I believe Suzuki has the best grasp of Zen. The reading is difficult, but so is the topic. I highly recommend this book if you really want to get deep into Zen. Another slightly easier book to understand, `Living Zen' by Robert Linssen uses Suzuki's material quite extensively.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beganning of ZEN July 30 2009
By stepaheda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of my doctor's suggested that I look into understanding the practice of ZEN Meditation in healing from Cancer. And because I knew very little on this subject, my boyfriend suggested that I order this book, it was just the one that I need to give me an overview on the subject. I truly have a better understanding on the subject because of this book. I would encouage anyone who is interested in getting a better understanding and greater benefit from their yoga, tai chi, meditation practice to read this book. A must have for you library.
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