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Samurai Zen: The Warrior Koans Hardcover – 20 Mar 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (20 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415284643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415284646
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,319,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Trevor Leggett was the former head of Japanese Service of the BBC in the UK

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 14 July 2005
Format: Paperback
This book on the samurai koans is an interesting read to all those interested in bushido and zen buddhism. I am however slightly disappointed with its layout- I am a firm believer in the law of parsimony, keeping things simple, and feel that a brief introduction followed by the koans themselves would have worked well. As it stands the books content is mildly intimidating, which is a shame because the topic of zen and its simplicity should not make you feel this way.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Maybe too Genius? 8 Jun. 2009
By Ronin - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a book of deep contemplation. Picking it up pretty much negates any chance of a lean reading night. I have been through this book twice and the Koans still make my head hurt. Nevertheless, my lack of understanding does not detract from the brilliance of this large collection.

I suggest before attempting this, be sure to read John Steven's, "The Sword of No-Sword: Life of the Master Warrior Tesshu". Tesshu was known to pull Koans out on the spot, and to spend long periods working on Koans offered to him by various monks. Aside from being an amazing book, it may help people new to Koans to put them in context.

Two laps through this is hardly enough. In fact, this is not a fast read, you really need to take your time, literally 1-Koan at a time and work through them. Be prepared for a major undertaking. If you're game, I highly recommend it. Here's one of my favorites:

(1) Using the divine powers of the Way, manifest the snake body and the woman form.
(2) How is it when you meet the dragon?
(3) Show the scales before my eyes.

If you're totally baffled, don't worry. Fortunately the book helps put the Koans in context, for whatever that's worth. Good luck.....and enjoy!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This book is heavy! Take your time reading it. 6 Jun. 2004
By isala - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are a lot of books on martial arts, and how to use zen, martial arts, I Ching, Sun Tzu, and other even more esoteric Asian wisodm for everyday living. Some are very shallow, some are good, some are classics. The there is Samurai Zen: The Warrior Koans. This book is for the serious scholar. The first part is just forewords, telling the background of the Warrior Koans, how they were used, and how to use them in the present day. It also explains that it will take years for the dedicated reader to get through the book, and that I agree with!
What I like with this book is that it does not promise a quick fix. It clearly states that it takes time and dedication. Long time and serious dedication. I am not through it yet. I can also see that the very process of going through the book and understanding the koans will create a certain peace of mind.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Book Not For Everyone 24 July 2008
By J. Barr - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Trevor Leggett does his usual outstanding job. But the book is not for everyone. If you are looking for an introductory book to Zen meditation steer clear! This is hard core stuff. Samuari Zen is especially good for those like myself who found their path in Zen via bujutsu, but if you come from another perspective don't let that stop you from considering it. Like most koans, you could be on this book all of your life. If you use koans in meditation this is a great source with lots of background up front in the text. There are a few books I'd give $100 to own....This is one of them.
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