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10 Reviews
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant introduction to Zen and far-eastern thought., 9 April 2000
By A Customer
This book delivers a lucid and detailed insight into the development of Zen Buddhism and the development of far-eastern philosophy as a whole, as well as describing its continued practice today and the influence it has had upon Japenese Culture.
Although written in the 50s, this book is still valid and worth reading today, it is a great introduction into the subject but at the same time contains enough facts and figures about the great masters of Zen to still make it useful to the already serious student.
Occasionally hard going to follow, especially when it details the philosophical conundrums which lie at the heart of Zen, it is nevertheless a very rewarding read and I recommend it to any one who is a fan of the author or has an interest in Eastern thought.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on Zen Buddhism, 27 April 2010
By 
R. K. Yeoman "Beginner" (England) - See all my reviews
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Easy to read with excellent background information on the origins of Zen. The best book I have come across for a westerner to get a handle on Zen Buddhism.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction, 7 April 2011
By 
David (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way of Zen (Audio CD)
I know very little about Zen or Buddhism, so I can't comment on the accuracy, but I do feel I know significantly more than before, and I found the style very friendly and approachable. I thought it made a good introduction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard going in parts, 6 Dec 2011
Like most books on Buddhism it can be a little hard going in parts. The first 2 chapters are a fairly easy read but as soon as you hit chapter 3 (Mahayana Buddhism) you may get bogged down unless you're already hot on this topic.

There are lists and lists of references to historical Zen practitioners/masters which maybe got in the way a little of my aim to understand 'The way of Zen'.

I still haven't fathomed out the 'koan' principle. Maybe I'm not supposed to?

My fascination with Buddhism and Alan Watts tells me it deserves a second read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, 7 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Way of Zen (Kindle Edition)
A peace inducing book written by Alan Watts, one of my favourite authors on the topic of Buddhism and Zen. I am an amateur when it comes to this way of life, but I do feel attracted to what it teaches, so this book was a very good way to start my journey towards a calmer mind and a more detached approach to life. The topics approached are clearly and simply presented and they help you understand that most of our troubles stem from our ego, our attachment to our thoughts and to our fears. But, as Alan watts says, we should get closer to our consciousness, to the stillness of the mind that can be found underneath all these layers of chaotic and loud thoughts and learn to separate the thoughts from the energy within.

Even though I am far from putting these teachings into practice, the fact that they ring true is a very important first step, because I understand them with my gut, not with my reason and so soon enough I hope that through meditation I will be able to reach at least a tenth of Alan Watt's wisdom and peace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent explanation of Zen for the Western reader, 13 Jan 2013
By 
Ankur Banerjee (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Way of Zen (Kindle Edition)
"Zen is like YOLO for pretentious people" is what I found myself thinking - as a joke - when reading this book. I'm being flippant here, but I think that thought captures the joyous celebration of spontaneity that Zen indulges in while at the same the negative connotations that "YOLO" has in Western culture also succinctly captures how spontaneity or "action without thought" is looked down upon in Western culture.

In that sense, Alan Watt's book is excellent, because what many other books on Buddhism from Eastern Buddhist masters forget is that a person brought up in the West (or with Western cultural values) has fundamentally different basic beliefs regardless of their religious orientation that someone who lives in the East. Much of the subtleties that other Buddhist books try to teach can thus either be lost in dense terminology or a lack of proper cultural background.

Watts excels in giving a proper cultural background in Indian and Chinese / Japanese values wherever needed, especially giving attention to explaining the subtle differences in the meaning of terms that don't quite translate exactly into the English language. The book traces the journey of Buddhism from its Indian roots, to a deeper study of how Zen evolved as we know it in China and Japan, with fascinating chapters on how Zen has influenced literature and art too. Throughout the book, he employs the use of analogies to clarify dense concepts.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, 28 Feb 2013
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For anyone interested in Zen and the history of Buddhism. Comprehensive, interesting and full of wisdom. Five stars, I very much recommend it to anyone, those with an interest in Buddhism already, and those without.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Way of Zen, 12 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Way of Zen (Kindle Edition)
The Way of Zen, this a classic and an important way to gain insite in to how you can progress, not only as a person but how to help those around you. An extremelly important piece of work
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way of Zen, 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Way of Zen (Kindle Edition)
This is a great book and i'd say anyone with an interest in Zen should read this. Watts includes a brief history of Zen. Then goes onto some of the main teachings including many philosophical aspects as well as the practice of zazen and koans.

I will certainly be reading this again.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied, 24 Jan 2012
Arrived in the condition I was expecting and on time. I have one last chapter until I'm done and I definately will pick it up again at some point. :)
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The Way of Zen (Vintage Spiritual Classics)
The Way of Zen (Vintage Spiritual Classics) by Alan Watts (Paperback - 1 Feb 1999)
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