[EPUB] ✻ The Way of Zen Author Alan W. Watts – Cheapnikeshoes.co

In His Definitive Introduction To Zen Buddhism, Alan Watts Explains The Principles And Practices Of This Ancient Religion To Western Readers With A Rare Combination Of Freshness And Lucidity, He Delves Into The Origins And History Of Zen To Explain What It Means For The World Today With Incredible Clarity Watts Saw Zen As One Of The Most Precious Gifts Of Asia To The World, And In The Way Of Zen He Gives This Gift To Readers Everywhere

10 thoughts on “The Way of Zen

  1. says:

    There ought to be a special star green purple for books that meant something to you a long time ago, but which you know you would hate today.

  2. says:

    In The Way of Zen, Alan Watts introduces us to Zen Buddhism and to some extend Taoism to the average John and Jane The history and background of Zen and Taoism in part one helps us understand the cultural contexts behind these philosophies how Taoism developed in China, how Buddhism spread to China and how Zen developed in China and spread to Japan Watts explains Zen, to the extend that it can be explained, so that we can understand it, to the extend we should try to understand it Though Zen is a branch of Buddhism, it responds to the formal ritual of its progeny with spontaneous thoughts and actions The emptiness and silence of Zen contrast with our hectic everyday life amid rush hour traffic The preoccupation of the self as the one to think and feel and to act and improve, and the desire for enlightenment all hinder our spiritual walk ZenI particularly like the section on Zen and the arts Zen has influenced artwork and poetry in China and Japan Through Zen, we realize the white spaces in the paintings and the silence within the poems are as important as the brush strokes and the words And cha no yu, or the tea ceremony, is as much a spiritual experience as an aesthetic one Alan WattsIf you are curious about Zen, this is the book to start with Zen 101 for beginners.

  3. says:

    I see the Way of Zen not so much as an exposition of a secularized version of Zen Buddhism or Eastern thought generally , explained in a manner easily understood by Westerners which it is , but as an accoutrement to Eastern spiritual practices like meditation and other numinous experiences derived from Eastern thought This book is easily as good as anything I ve read on spirituality, and probably the very best It is important to read between the lines in this book if the full benefit of the spiritual practices of the East is to be had Whenever I read this book I am overcome by a profound feeling of the numinous, comparable to, but not quite reaching the highest hights of, the most profound spiritual experiences of my life The best work of Alan Watts I have read to date, this book is highly recommended for anybody interested in Eastern spirituality.

  4. says:

    In terms of immediate perception, when we look for things there is nothing but mind, and when we look for mind there is nothing but things For a moment we are paralyzed, because it seems that we have no basis for action, no ground under foot from which to take a jump But this is the way it always was, and in the next moment we find ourselves as free to act, speak, and think as ever, yet in a strange and miraculous new world from which self and other, mind and things have vanished In the words of Te shan Only when you have no thing in your mind and no mind in things are you vacant and spiritual, empty and marvelous. A detailed book that shows a thorough understanding of Zen The language is accessible so it s not an impediment for grasping most of the concepts which doesn t necessarily mean that anyone without an iota of knowledge about Zen will but the exhaustive analysis might be too much, even with the beautiful poems Watts included to illustrate each idea a break from this scholarly study It was a struggle at times I lost my interest at 62% and skipped Part II 3 but found myself captivated again in Part II 4, Zen in the arts because, as might be expected, it brims with poetry According to Watts, the soft spot that Zen masters had for short, gnomic poems at once laconic and direct like their answers to questions about Buddhism is naturally connected with haiku In Zen a man has no mind apart from what he knows and sees, and this is almost expressed by Gochiku in the haiku The long night The sound of the water Says what I think. And still directly The stars on the pond Again the winter shower Ruffles the water. Haiku and waka poems convey perhaps easily than painting the subtle differences between the four moods of sabi, wabi, aware, and yugen The quiet, thrilling loneliness of sabi is obvious in On a withered branch A crow is perched, In the autumn evening. But it is less obvious and therefore deeper in With the evening breeze, The water laps against The heron s legs. In the dark forest A berry drops The sound of the water. Sabi is, however, loneliness in the sense of Buddhist detachment, of seeing all things as happening by themselves in miraculous spontaneity With this goes that sense of deep, illimitable quietude which descends with a long fall of snow, swallowing all sounds in layer upon layer of softness Sleet falling Fathomless, infinite Loneliness. March 3, 19 Later on my blog.

  5. says:

    It might be that I am a little too generous with my stars here, but this was the first book on Japanese and Chinese philosophy that I ever read I was very much taken with Watts attitude respect without too much enthusiasm, no effort to convert the reader into anything, but also no self inflicted distance that would view the subject matter entirely as a topic of purely academic interest Of course, Japanese studies have advanced considerably from those days, important texts have been translated, some even several times, and there are many competent introductions to the topic Kasulis, Zen Action Zen Person for example Nonetheless Watts deserves all the praise for this book, even if we should not forget that it has been written than half a century ago and under quite different circumstances.

  6. says:

    Great book for an introduction to Zen.

  7. says:

    I picked this up on a whim whilst searching for books on Buddhism at the library Actually, an online friend years ago had mentioned Watts among several other recommendations on the subject of Buddhism, so as I was searching this one immediately popped out I wasn t interested in reading about Zen specifically, but then it s not something I know a ton about and the book was a pretty reasonable length, so why not I m glad I got this book, because now I feel much knowledgeable and conversant on the subject of Zen, along with feeling a little confirmed on my opinion of Buddhism in the general sense What I like primarily is that Watts very clearly lays out a history of Buddhism, its historical foundations in Vedantic religion philosophy, and its travel through China to Japan He covers the influences of Confucianism and notably Taoism, from which Zen gets its emphasis on unfettered naturalness, and then moves on to the growth of Zen monastic tradition and related practice Like Zen itself, Watts s style is straightforward and unfettered by terminology He has a knack for translating sometimes difficult Eastern concepts into a Western context, showing the limitations of that context and highlighting the common mistranslation of said concepts He uses concrete metaphors and sometimes comparisons to Western philosophical religious concepts to clarify, which for someone like me is always the clearest and easiest approach.I didn t personally find the approach too meandering or overly prone to tangents or, if there were tangents, they seemed clearly enough related to the subject at hand to maintain focus interest He packs the text with lots of references and footnotes, and there s a nice thick bibliography I ll be scouring later tonight The last chapter on Zen aesthetics was mostly redux for me and will be for anyone who s studied Chinese and Japanese art in any depth I took a class on Japanese art in college and while we didn t go in too much depth with Zen, we did cover enough that I understood the basics He does go into some detail as well on haiku and Zen forms of poetry, which might be helpful for those trying to understand the forms better beyond simply construction and delve into the necessary philosophical underpinnings While he kinda hurries through the aesthetics to the conclusion, I nevertheless liked how he pulled it all together Overall, it s very effective at what it aims to do inform the reader in detail on Zen Buddhism , and it gave me exactly what I needed without any irritations or distractions There were a few instances where its age showed, being that this was written prior to the 60 s, with its explosion of interest in Eastern and alternative belief systems, but for the most part it has a timeless feel and seems as useful today as it must have been 50 years ago.

  8. says:

    Alan Watts The Way of Zen influenced me in my 20 s If there s nothing better out there, this is a useful book for everybody But you don t have to go from where you are to Zen Buddhism to find the Way Sufism includes a lot of Zen principles, especially the Mullah Nasr ad Din stories Also African folk tales like Ananse Tales, Ananse being a clever spider, with an upside down interpretation of things like a spider would naturally have I would think Jesus himself might have been influenced by a Zen philosopher who got off at the wrong airport In fact, I ve often wondered why our alternative culture types would rather travel to India to find themselves or join the Hare Krishnas dancing at airports rather than sit down and apply oneself to the task of studying the Bible with all its wisdom and the work of many ancient Jewish rabbis in the tradition of religious philosophers like Maimonides and Hillel the Elder In other words, Zen is at home if you look hard enough Uncle Remus, folk tales of The Old West, Native American myths How about ancient Greek myths plenty to draw on from there.

  9. says:

    Written in Watts eminently readable attractive prose style, concise and provocative, The Way of Zen has annoyed American practitioners since its 1957 publication Philip Kapleau went out of his way to denounce it in the introduction to his Three Pillars of Zen for downplaying zazen Watts critique of zazen does in fact have merit, to the extent that Buddhadharma is reduced to sitting and nothing else The other very interesting point he makes in his chapter on meditation is the introduction of Tariki or Other Power, the way of Shin Buddhism He mentions Shinran Shonin founder of the Jodo Shin Shu sect and the myokonin Kichibei to show the possibility of another way to come to realization.

  10. says:

    It s amazing how many books have been written about Zen in the West, since almost all of them admit right off the bat that Zen cannot be explained, at least in words It might seem like a futile endeavor, and yet we can t help both writing and reading them But if Zen, and Buddhism in general is about avoiding extremes, then it s not the heresy it appears to be We just have to remember that a book, like anything else, is not the thing itself It s a measurement, an aspect of conventional wisdom as Watts puts it, and not the wisdom of the Tao or Dharma.Watts is well aware of this, which is why his work is especially valuable Being a westerner himself, he knew the mindset we come from, and how to best overcome the obstacles it presents A key focus for him was our view of language our high regard for rigorous classification is a two edged sword On the one hand it makes scientific and rational inquiry possible, on the other it tends to overwhelm our sense of the big picture Even the idea of two ness itself is from language Now classification is precisely maya The word is derived from the Sanskrit root natr , to measure, form, build, or lay out a plan, the root from which we obtain such Greco Latin words as meter, matrix, material, and matter The fundamental process of measurement is division, whether by drawing a line with the finger, by marking off or by enclosing circles with the span of the hand or dividers, or by sorting grain or liquids into measures cups Thus the Sanskrit root dva from which we get the word divide is also the root of the Latin duo two and the English dual To say, then, that the world of facts and events is maya is to say that facts and events are terms of measurement rather than realities of nature We must, however, expand the concept of measurement to include setting bounds of all kinds, whether by descriptive classification or selective screening It will thus be easy be easy to see that facts and events are as abstract as lines of latitude or as feet and inches Consider for a moment that it is impossible to isolate a single fact, all by itself Facts come in pairs at the very least, for a single body is inconceivable apart from a space in which it hangs Definition, setting bounds, delineation these are always acts of division and thus of duality, for as soon as a boundary is defined it has two sides Thoughts like this are echoed in the Perennial Philosophy, another book by a westerner deeply interested in the mystical and non rational There is a consistent thread within this tradition of the essential badness of division as Huxley put it As soon as you measure or mark off, you create an other This can lead to all kinds of linguistic conundrums, like the fist open hand parable Watts gives, but ultimately the real danger is something deeper confusing symbols, such as words, with whatever it is they are trying to describe The signifier becomes the signified So how do you avoid this trap If you start to feel a sense of panic at this point, you aren t alone Division is embedded in language itself, because what is a word if not a way of separating a thing from other things Watts points out that language is ultimately a convention society agrees upon It is complex and takes generations to build, but in the end the reason we call a tree a tree in English is because we have collectively decided that it is, and not boojum It could have been boojum, theoretically, because there is no such thing as a word that is inherently tree ish Here the Middle Path is again useful The trick is not to defy convention, but to understand it, or as Watts says to be free from convention is not to spurn it but not to be deceived by it It is to be able to use it as an instrument instead of being used by it Grasping this is a small step, but one on the path to liberation.