Zen and the Beat Way Paperback – 19 Nov 1997
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About the Author
Alan Watts was born in England in 1915 and received his early education at King's School, Canterbury. He received a master's degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Illinois and an honorary doctorate of divinity from the University of Vermont. He wrote his first book, The Spirit of Zen, at the age of twenty and went on to write over twenty other books including The Way of Zen, The Book, and Tao: The Watercourse Way, which though never fully completed was published after the author's death and introduced thousands of readers to Taoist thought. In addition to being an acclaimed author and philosopher, Dr. Watts was also an Episcopalian minister, professor, graduate-school dean and reasearch fellow of Harvard University. By the early 1960s, he moved to Sausolito, California, and held seminars and lectures throughout the United States. Alan Watts died in 1973. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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At heart, Watts is reminding us of what we already know, even as we so often fail to follow through on it. That is, the world of endless production & consumption is not only an ever-shrinking serpent devouring its own tail, it's a way of life (or anti-life to be more accurate) that devours us as well. Everything we're raised to admire & aspire to -- success, wealth, the shiniest new things -- is turned on its head & shown to be our master rather than our reward.
He offers the examples of Taoism, Vedanta, and Zen as more truly rewarding paths to follow. Not as rigid, conformist disciplines that kill the spirit in order to maintain the letter of the law, but as alternative modes of experiencing the world, and experiencing ourselves in the world. He offers nothing less then the possibility of a more whole & spiritually healthy life, one that engages body, mind & soul, rather than constricting & crippling them in the name of a hierarchical power structure -- and if that isn't describing the Beats, or any other counter-cultural movement of the past couple of centuries, then nothing is!
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