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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 :).
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on 6 September 2003
This book took me further than others I have read on Zen. However, much of it is just repeated in the introduction book. The best part is Suzuki's explanation of the Buddha's will to find enlightenment, rather than just his intelligence or mythical facade.
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on 4 February 1997
Suzuki's works offer a clear insight look at the often misunderstood world of zen. Suzuki gives the reader the ability to understand zen, rather than dictating what zen is. This work would be of benefit to any one wishing to see if zen is 'right' for them.
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on 12 February 2016
Suzuki allots most of the time in this book to the enigmatic quotes of the Zen Masters; to qotes that a are meaningless to those who are not contemporaneaus with the person quoted.
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on 20 January 2016
No words no labels!
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on 17 February 2010
This book has actually damaged zen more than it has helped. DT spoke of enlightenment advised westerners not to do meditation. But without meditation there is no zen and there never will be, just at talk about enlightenment only serves to muddle the issue.

contributed by a commenter:

You are correct in your criticism. I fail to understand DT Suzuki's assertion. He was a scholar rather than a practitioner. Yet his books, especially "Introduction To Zen Busshism" were instrumental in my own path, after disillusionment with Christianity.

Largely through reading his works, plus Garma Chang's much more enlightening "The Practice Of Zen", I entered the Path, ending up in a Zen monastery in Japan, where a handful of westerners practised meditation assiduously!

There is no other way to realisation than sitting practice, and westerners are perfectly capable of this. It is little known in the West that today Japanese monasteries contain a majority of monks who are not monks at all, but high-school graduates serving a three-year "college course" to learn the scriptures & rituals to enable them to succeed their father's lucrative business as local temple priest.

In my monastery, it was the WESTERNERS who sincerely practised zazen; these pseudo-monks avoided it at all costs!
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