This is a wonderful and important book that I unreservedly recommend to anyone who wants to understand the source and meaning of their pain, to be free of conflict, and to solve the puzzle of their life. I found this book to be full of wisdom and insight that is clearly distilled from the author's own life experience as a psychologist and practice of Zazen meditation.
The book fundamentally challenges how we traditionally view the world and our place within it. At it's heart is the notion of the ego as a defence mechanism designed to protect us from pain, yet it is this pain that we need to fully experience if we are to be free of it. The author discusses the many ways in which the ego puts up 'resistance' in an attempt at avoiding unwanted feelings, including by thought itself. He explains the danger inherent in applying meanings to things and events when those meanings may be based upon unreality and unreal belief systems.
In this way, the author proposes that most of us are living a dream that we experience as reality. Through meditation we exclude thought and ego so as to allow ourselves to completely experience physical sensations, increase our levels of awareness and perception, and to really live in the moment. Meditation is the act of facing ourselves as we really are, and not as we 'think' we are. It exposes the untruth and unreality of thought and ends it's dominance.
This book has taught me that thinking has never and will never solve the problem of pain in my life. I particularly found the chapter on the principles of power to be of use and it's discussion of how and why we deploy ultimately self-defeating strategies to exercise power over others.
This is one of those little gems of a book that you will always want to have available. It is written in a deceptively simple/economic/clear style with a series of short chapters interspersed with Zen parables. It's the sort of book that you will want to savour and return to again and again. Above all this is a compassionate book that espouses acceptance and love on a deep level. Highly recommended.