2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A rather disappointing coffee table book,
This review is from: The World of Zen (Hardcover)
A book written by someone who seems to have made a career of writing about Buddhism but unfortunately, Mr Hodge is not a Zen Buddhist and it shows. There are several errors in the book as a whole, such as one where the beginning Zen meditator is instructed to concentrate on a point just below the nose, when in fact concentration is traditionally placed in the area of the lower abdomen, the 'hara'. The publishers should also take responsibility for the photographs, some of which bear little relation to the text, or even contradict it. At one point, when describing how to set up a space for zazen (zen meditation), the use of a mat is described and how that should be of dark coloured material as light colours are too distracting, the photograph shows a nice bright cream coloured mat and cushion. This is both sloppy and irritating to the reader.
There are also several sections on such things as flower arranging, tea ceremony and the martial arts, that seem to have been more or less tacked on to fill out the book, that are well enough covered elsewhere and are probably of little interest to those in the west looking to learn more about Zen. All in all this is a mediocre book and should be left on the shelf where it belongs. Perhaps next time the publishers will take the time to get someone who actually knows about the Zen tradition to write such a book.