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Introduction to Zen Buddhism [Paperback]

Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1964
This reissued introduction presents the nature, technique and practice of Zen. A Japanese Zen master, Dr Suzuki taught regularly in the USA and Europe.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Introduction to Zen Buddhism + Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind + Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen
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Product details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Grove P.; Reissue edition (Dec 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802130550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802130556
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
BUDDHISM in its course of development has completed a form which distinguishes itself from its so-called primitive or original type-so greatly, indeed, that we are justified in emphasizing its historical division into two schools, Hinayana and Mahayana, or the Lesser Vehicle and the Greater Vehicle of salvation. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treat of a treatise. 18 Nov 2003
By lnnrt
Zen is possibly one of the most difficult things to describe in words, yet Suzuki manages to do just that. The texts are thoroughly enlightening, well-structured and thought-provoking. The introduction by C.G. Jung to me seems superfluous and awkward and I still cannot understand why it is there; skip it the first time you read the book, and as I am sure you'll return to this book after a while, you can glance over it while re-reading the book. Then you'll understand why I think it is totally out of place in this otherwise magnificent book.
My overall advice is simple: if you are reading this review, you care enough about Zen to buy a book about it. This is the one you should be going for.
And trust me: you'll learn why you care about Zen.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and eloquent 14 Sep 2003
This is a short (Suzuki's part of the book is almost exactly 100 pages) collection of essays which first appeared during the First World War. The age of the collection may put some people off - more hip and contemporary writers are, of course, far more attractive to us modern readers, despite the fact that what Suzuki is writing about extends back hundreds of years. To disregard this book on those grounds would be a mistake. Suzuki's style is excellent, he writes clearly, simply and eloquently and there is plenty of freshness in what he has to say.
The essays themselves are all fascinating and certain to interest any serious student of Zen, as well as being a good introduction to many Zen principles for the less dedicated reader. Suzuki addresses familiar questions - "What is Zen?" and "Is Zen Nihilistic?", for example - and also expounds on practical Zen and the essential aim of Zen ("to acquire a new viewpoint"), among other things. His longest essay is devoted to an excellent discussion of the koan and there is a short but fascinating article on the traditional Zen meditation hall and the life of a monk.
Suzuki's contribution to the book, then, is a beautiful one, and I would say an excellent and accessible introduction to his works. What makes the book that little bit different for me, however, is the foreword, a 20-page essay by Carl Jung. In this, Jung writes "Great as is the value of Zen Buddhism...its use among Western people is very improbable". I wonder what he would have to say if he could see the world today.
So, in a nutshell - rather short, but worth a look.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have if you want to know about Zen 1 Jan 2002
By A Customer
I was interested in Zen before I read this book and now I am fascinated by it. The book is clearly written by a good authority on the subject and for once by a practitioner of Zen! I found it an engrossing read as it manages to convey the spirit of what to many Westerners appears to be a completley mystifying philosophy. This is a must for those who are interested in Zen or have an intrest in Oriental philosophy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Zen Buddhism! 9 Sep 2011
By Castor
This is an outstanding book on the field. Suzuki's expounding of the discipline (if it could be called that) is marvellous and full of detail. He also draws on comparisons between Western Christian religion, Hinduism and other types of Buddhism, and Zen. His writing style is eloquent and elaborate thus I would suggest having a good dictionary next to you in order to understand some of his words and specialised language. Having said that, I did not find the book exhausting whatsoever yet interesting, nurturing and entertaining.

The only adverse thing I can say about this book, is the repetition of some ideas as if the author wanted to make absolutely crystal clear what Zen is and is not even though It could not be explained at all. The repetition, nonetheless, sometimes is useful as it keeps reminding us, comparable to reviewing your notes from school, about relevant aspects of Zen that we need to have in mind when analysing It in other contexts.

To conclude I would say that all in all is a great introduction from a highly knowledgeable and experienced man who lived through the monastic endeavour and who, in my opinion, was gifted with the art of transmission and narrative.
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