Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
on 9 April 2004
Suzuki can be designated as the person responsible for bringing Zen to the West. In this vein, he can be considered a sort of modern-day Bodhidharma (who originally brought the ancestor of Zen-Buddhism to China).
It is not surprising that Suzuki convinced so many people of the worth of Zen; he is passionate about it down to the marrow. Being a highly educated and extremely well-documented scholar, he presents a quite technical treatise on various aspects of Zen in this volume, and the sheer technicality of the discussion can be somewhat trying for non-philosphers such as myself at times. On the other hand, his clarity, instructive repetitiveness and allround grip on the subject allow the strange combination of academic analysis and mystic reverence to work in beautiful and convincing ways.
It took me longer than anticipated to read through the volume, but I don't regret a single moment of the time spent.
The book is a warmly recommended read for the Zen enthousiast or sympathiser who has read a few things here and there, and is ready to take a plunge in some deeper water, yet if you are new to Zen and just want a taste, I would recommend Suzuki's 'Introduction to Zen Buddhism' as a first read. The 'Introduction' summarizes many of the essays presented in full in the 'Essays', and as such makes for a lighter read and slightly broader scope. If you like the 'Introduction' however, this (the 'Essays') will be your next buy! I know I'm going to purchase Volume Two and Three as soon as my cashflow allows :).