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1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
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2. Osho Zen Tarot : The Transcendental
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3. Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental
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4. Buddhism Plain and Simple
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5. Zen in the Art of Archery (Vintage
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6. The Complete Idiot's Guide to
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7. An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
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8. Cinema Nirvana : Enlightenment
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9. The Way of Zen (Vintage Spiritual
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10. Waking Up to What You Do : A Zen
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11. The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching,
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12. Bring Me the Rhinoceros : And
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13. Zen and the Art of Poker: Timeless
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14. Words of My Perfect Teacher, Revised
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16. The Zen of Eating: Ancient Answers
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17. Dropping Ashes on the Buddha:
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18. Everyday Zen: Love & Work
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19. Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding
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20. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Shambhala

1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
by Robert M. Pirsig
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060958324
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 2463
Average Customer Review: 4.01 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The modern epic that transformed a generation and continues to inspire millions -- a penetrating examination of how we live and how to live better.

A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning, the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life.

This new edition is updated with important typographical changes, a penetrating new introduction, and a Reader's Guide that includes an interview with Pirsig and letters and documents detailing how this extraordinary book came to be.

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Reviews (394)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buried treasure
Read this book. Talk about it. Share it with your friends. This book is more important than one thinks at first glance. I have read it 5 times over the past 25 years, first as a teenager thinking it was about motorcycles, next as a Philosophy major at Harvard, and each time I have gotten something new out of it. It is more than a travel adventure. It is more than a father/son reconciliation story. It is more than an autobiographical odyssey of psychological redemption. It is even more than an "inquiry into values." This book reveals the greatest crime perpetrated against intellectual history. While Pirsig is concerned with a synthesis of Eastern and Western philosophical traditions, he points us to the violence done by Plato in his attack on the Sophists. Until Plato, Philosophy was a part of the common life. Sophists wandered the Greek world offering instruction (for pay) in rhetoric and Philosophy, and this was deemed the normal course of life. Even Plato's revered Socrates conducted his discourses in the marketplace, the agora. The aristocratic and elitist Plato's crime (in my view) was to whisk philosophical discussion away from the agora and put it in the acadamy, where it has remained gathering dust for 25 centuries. His Theory of Forms tells us that few, if any other than himself, can see things as they "really are." The Republic tells us that only the philosopher-king (Plato himself being the leading candidate) is fit to rule. If all of Philosophy is a "response to Plato" as A.N. Whitehead put it, then we are debating with a traitor to humanity. Nothing is more relevant than a synthesis of the Philosophical and the Practical ways of being, as well as Eastern and Western ways of thinking. I have devoted my life to dragging the philosophical debate back from the academy into the agora where it belongs and where it can be of the greatest good to the greatest number of people. Reading and sharing this book with friends is a wonderful way to begin that pilgrimage yourself. I just wish someone would make a film of it. Can't you just see William Hurt in the lead?

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth Rereading Many Times
I first read ZAMM as a sociology class assignment in 1979. I hated it! I wondered why a sociology professor would want us to read this book. I bought the book second-hand, paying $.95 for it. What a DEAL! I still have it, full of my notes from my first reading.

In 1987, an interest in Zen caused me to pull the book off the shelf and reread it. I discovered something the second time around...this is a GREAT BOOK.

The relationship between the narrator and his son Chris evolves into something wonderful. The author's search for his former identity (pre electro-convulsive shock treatment) is a mystery tale unfolding. And the quest for the meaning of Quality hits home for me in my search for that inner peace that comes from "caring."

You've got to care. Quality is about caring.

You can see it at the supermarket when a checker really "cares." Most of the time, however, you see the uncaring. Ask the checker how he/she is doing, the answer you get is likely, "I'll be doing great when I get off." There's no heart...there's no caring. And so, Quality of service suffers.

ZAMM gives timeless tips on how to get the "caring" back into the things you do. My life has been greatly changed by following some of the tips. It became evident in a statement that came to mind a few months ago... "Work is a state of mind we engage in when we feel we have no other choice." We always have a choice. It's only work if you don't enjoy what you're doing. The choice is clear...either change what you're doing, or change how you feel about what you're doing.

Peace of mind comes with caring about what you're doing. All "work", every job, in some way or fashion, makes the world a better place. Find meaning in that. Find out how what you do makes the world a better place, and dwell on that contribution, rather than the short-term goal of getting off work.

By the way, I'm on my 12th rereading of ZAMM. And every time I read it, I gain some new little insight.


2-0 out of 5 stars ADD and the art of motorcycle maintenance
Ugh. This book can't decide what it wants to be. Every time you get interested in a topic (and this book does contain some interesting topics from the travel narrative to some of the ideas expressed) it switches over to another topic before resolving anything. This is incredibly frustrating from the point of view of entertainment. Does this book want to be a novel and flow like one, or a middle-brow discussion of contemporary worldviews, or a amateur philosophy thesis? It suceeds only in being a very long and slow 400+ pages of several seperate books thrown together with minimal integration.

3-0 out of 5 stars like beating your head against a brick wall
I have never taken a philosophy course, so I will admit that having taken one might have better prepared me for this journey. It starts out very intriguing--both the physical motorcycle journey, and the narrarator's discussion of technology and art. Then, when we get up into "high country," I found myself completely lost. I have a bachelor's degree in English, so I think of myself as fairly intelligent. But perhaps it is like his analogy to reading Walden: you have to pause after every sentence and let it set in. It's just that if I did that, it would take me years to get through this book. Some wonderful ideas, but this book is definitely not light reading.

1-0 out of 5 stars didn't even make it through the book
I am an avid reader and consider myself fairly intelligent. I was excited to receive this book as a present since I heard so many wonderful things about it. The person who gave it to me said I would find myself referring back to it every 5 years of my life.

Maybe it is me, but this book did not enlighten me. I made through 60 pages and realized it was just not the book for me. I found it long winded and I kept asking myself why I felt the need to go on.

I finally had to good sense to stop. I felt like I was reading something written by an insane person that was projecting his own reality onto the world. ... Read more

2. Osho Zen Tarot : The Transcendental Game Of Zen
by Osho
list price: $24.95
our price: $17.46
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Asin: 0312117337
Catlog: Book (1995-04-15)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Sales Rank: 14280
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When life seems to be full of doubt and uncertainty we tend to look for a source of inspiration: what will happen in the future? What about my health, the children? What will happen if I make this decision and not that one? This is how the traditional tarot is often used, to satisfy a longing to know about the past and future. This Osho Zen Tarot focuses instead on gaining an understanding of the here and now. It is a system based on the wisdom of Zen, a wisdom that says events in the outer world simply reflect in the outer world simply reflect our own thoughts and feelings, even though we ourselves might be unclear about what those thoughts and feelings are. So it helps us to turn our attention away from outside events so we can find a new clarity of understanding in our innermost hearts. The conditions and states of mind portrayed by the contemporary images on the cards are all shown as being essentially transitional and transformative. The text in the accompanying book helps to interpret and understand the images in the simple, straightforward and down to earth language of Zen.
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Reviews (65)

5-0 out of 5 stars I own over 100 decks and this one gives the best readings!
I have collected and read tarot for about 25 years. I have held and studied some of the oldest cards that are in the British Museum. I own over 100 decks. This deck was going to be just part of the collection -- until I read from it. I couldn't believe the insight and how well it fit with today's world and issues. It was like an epiphany. Most of my tarot reading friends have purchansed it after seeing me read from it. A friend who had been trying to read the tarot for years, but said she just couldn't get it, can read from this deck. The wonderful colors and imagery of the deck and the poetic language of the book trigger one's intuition into full gear before realizing it. Readers of other decks can quickly use it as it follows the traditional pattern but in an innovative way. New readers can also begin using it quickly as the deck and book are inspirational. I highly recommend this book/deck combination!

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but very, very subtle
I bought this package some-odd years ago as my first Tarot deck and was both delighted and disappointed. The Zen approach to card interpretation makes it very easy to begin readings, but leaves you with only a vague idea of what the combination of cards means. Most people want a hint to help make a decision, not a self-help recommendation. But I agree with the book in that "all answers lie within." Unfortunately, the meanings of many cards are subtle enough that I have to have the book at hand to derive an interpretation and they're all quite large, even for my 'palm-a-basketball' hands, and don't shuffle easily. The artwork is very "transcendental" rather than invoking intense emotions. I'm happy I bought this as my first deck and I use it off and on for issues that bother me, but I'd find a more entertaining deck to give readings with.

5-0 out of 5 stars Provides Clarity in a Crazy World
I've picked up the Zen Tarot numerous times in the last few years, mainly to understand what is going on in my life, what attitude would serve me when confronted with unknown situations and unpredictable people ...
I was first exposed to it in a virtual Dream Work class where we conclude every dream with a "reading" from Osho (or Rumi). What I most appreciate is the clarity and humor in this guidance. I've laughed a lot and always recognized ego's expressions in the material world. Anyone ready to grow and change will tremendously benefit from this. The illustrations by Ma Deva Padma are simply divine. Enjoy.

4-0 out of 5 stars An offbeat and highly intuitive deck.
As soon as I unwrapped and shuffled this set, I did a "Celtic Cross" reading and was pretty amazed. For this first quickie "out of the box" reading, and without having read any of the commentary on the individual cards, I was gifted with a very insightful reading on my general situation at the time. It took all of five minutes. Very intuitive indeed!

The card symbolism is fresh but the artwork is, for me at least, a bit variable in quality. As far as general "feel" goes, I can only gauge by the other decks I've tried, which aren't many. The readings do seem "softer" than my work with the Rider-Waite deck -- which seems to take a pretty clear-eyed, hard-edged view of things -- and certainly less dramatic than my William Blake deck.

But while perhaps somewhat softer in atmosphere and feel than many decks, Osho Zen Tarot doesn't gloss over the hard questions. I receive quieter but still tough responses from these cards, if the situation demands it. Given its intuitiveness and "measured" feel, this deck seems especially suited for my daily one-card reading.

Other decks may have a bit more depth to them in terms of symbolic complexity and intellectual appeal, but this isn't Tarot Lite by any means. I'm probably going to save my "bigger" inquiries for other decks, but as a quick and refreshing start to your day, I think Osho Zen Tarot would be hard to beat.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Path from Worshipping to BEING an Enlightened One
The wisdom of Osho contained in this illuminating book and card set transcends the ego's need to look for outer validation, to worship others, and instead will bring you the wisdom to become and integrate the wisdom and enlightenment that the Enlightened or "Awakened" ones have sought to teach humanity.

Osho Zen Tarot teaches us to be fully ALIVE and to live with joy, to interact with others in compassion, to shed the ego's domain of fear that seeks to control all elements that exist outside of us, and to embrace our child-like wonder to experience life completely in the here and now.

The path to freedom is written simply, and the wisdom profoundly applicable once you are open to its teachings. Osho's own words in this breathtaking book states: "It is the capacity not to worship buddhas but to BECOME a buddha, not to follow others, but to develop the awareness within that brings a quality of light and love to all that we do."

I HIGHLY recommend this book not only for the reading you can do, but for the divine and illuminated wisdom it will bring to you so that you may live your life with the peace and joy you deserve.
Barbara Rose, author of, 'Individual Power' and 'If God Was Like Man' ... Read more

3. Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game
by Joseph Parent
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385504462
Catlog: Book (2002-05-14)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 1618
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Vijay Singh, Masters and PGA Champion, says, "ZEN GOLF is the best book there is for connecting golf and the mind together. It's for everyone, and you're going to enjoy it. I keep it in my golf bag and take it with me everywhere." Charles Howell III says, "The techniques in ZEN GOLF for working with negative thoughts are better than any other psychological approach." In chapters such as "Never Keep More Than a Hundred Thoughts in Your Mind During Your Swing", "Isn't Where You Have to Play It From Punishment Enough?" and "How to Enjoy a Bad Round of Golf", the Dr. Joe Parent, a PGA TOUR Instructor, guides golfers with simple yet powerful techniques to prepare for, execute, and, equally important, respond to the results of any golf shot. The author draws on his teaching experience and sense of humor to offer special methods that have led to amazing improvements in the games of professionals and amateurs alike. By applying classic insights and stories from the Buddhist tradition to the challenges of golf, ZEN GOLF shows you how to make your mind an ally instead of an enemy: how to stay calm, clear the interference that leads to poor shots, and eliminate bad habits and mental mistakes.Clear, concise, and enlightening, this book introduces a unique perspective combining modern psychology, Buddhist wisdom and professional golf instruction. Zen Golf shapes ancient philosophies into new teachings, leading golfers to the effortless focus and unconditional confidence of being in "the zone." ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Once Is NOT enough!
I read Zen Golf and immediately thought that this was THE best book on how to improve your golf game and how you enjoy it. The book is NOT how to create the perfect golf swing. It is all about the mental side of the game and how you can improve your results by improving the way you think. Shortly after reading the book, I realized that reading it only once and expecting to achieve the intended results was simply not enough. The book must be read multiple times, use a hi-liter to mark the passages you want to improve on. There are so many wonderful mental suggestions that it is almost impossible to pick them all up the first time you read the book. I thought so much of the book, I purchased the book on CDs. I have read the book three times and listened to the CD's twice and will continue to read and listen until I have a clear picture of exactly what I want to accomplish. Since I only play on weekends, the time between rounds/practice tends to dull the lessons learned if you read it only once. Once is simply not enough! I know of no other book on golf I would recommend more. The principles also apply to life in general and sales specifically. The similarities between golf and sales are incredible!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Point
What's the point of golf? What are we trying to achieve while we're out there? Simply put, the point is to get the ball in the cup as quickly as possible and enjoy the process. I played a round early this summer, had an awful time, came off the course stressed and feeling bad about my behavior. I was literally hyperventalating over putts. Turns out I scored well. So something was amiss, right? This book has me enjoying the game again. Zen Golf is not a deep and difficult treatise of the deeper meaning of life and golf. It is closer to an instruction manual on how to play better golf and enjoy the game more. It addresses concepts like trust, confidence and positive thinking. I now enjoy those 3-iron punch shots out of the trees. I'm learning to enjoy those 5-footers. Every shot is an opportunity and there's no need for fear or negativity. My "evil caddie" seldom comes around, and when he does, I know what to do. This is simply the best golf book I've ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lowered my scores
Okay, I'm not ready to turn pro now, but I had never once shot below 90 prior to reading this. Then, one night I was bored and picked it up (quick read -- couple hours or so) and decided to zen out next time on the course. I followed just a few simple ideas from the book and shot an 84. It was the first time in a while that golf was fun again and not so dang frustrating. Loved it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Listening Prepares Your Head for Golf
Often I have a 30 minute drive or more to my favorite local daily fee course in the area that I live. As soon as I turn off the cell phone and head to the course I listen to several chapters (and sometimes I skip around) among 4 CDs to prepare my head for the day's round. I arrive at the course focused on golf. And that's where this CD excels. Dr. Parent has been able to pinpoint the various mentals games and thoughts that we serious golfers (even at a 20 handicap) think about and agonize over ever time we play. This books helps me to focus. I highly recommend it on CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Focus Focus Focus
not as bad as the title sounds...maybe 4 3/4 stars...trys to get you to focus on what is right and not what will continue to distract you...a guy gave me the book to read that used to throw clubs when he was unhappy...said it changed his whole approach to the game...i havent seen him throw a club in 6 months so i thought I'd try the book too.
I never threw clubs and now I figured out why....same indian shoots all the arrows...why be mad at myself..? ... Read more

4. Buddhism Plain and Simple
list price: $10.00
our price: $7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767903323
Catlog: Book (1998-12-29)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 4240
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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You might want to digest this book slowly, a few pages at a time. Although Zen teacher Steve Hagen has a knack for putting the philosophy of Buddhism in a "plain and simple" package, it may take a while to sink in. There is so much there. Seeing reality, realizing the wisdom of the self, breaking free of dualistic thinking--this is pretty heady stuff. Thankfully, Hagen passes it along in the form of examples from life, psychological tidbits, and stories from Buddhist teachers past and present. And when it clicks in, it can be life-transforming. Hagen explains this shift in outlook and how the fundamental way we look at the world affects everything we do. As an outline, Hagen follows the basic teachings of the Buddha, and we see that, rather than dogmatic truths, they are reminders for us as we reconsider the life we have taken for granted for so long. As it turns out, Buddhism is life, plain and simple. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (88)

Buddhism is no stranger to me since I have followed its philosophies for many, many years; however, the mere words contained in the title of this book (plain and simple)indicate it might be particularly insightful to those who are novices or beginners to Buddhism. While this book certainly contains basic knowledge, I question if someone who has little or no prior understanding of the subject could fully comprehend the rather complex philosophies of Buddhism as explained by Mr. Hagen. It is one thing to know the subject, it is quite another matter to be able to explain it in laymen's terms. Through its 159 pages, the book says a lot, but its explanation is often confusing. On the other hand, if you are an experienced follower of these principles, you will probably find the material very elementary indeed, lacking any in-depth substance and extremely repetitious of other similar books.

For those who are just beginning their insightful journey to Buddhism and enlightenment, I highly recommend you begin with the book, "Awakening the Buddha Within," by Lama Surya Das. It is easily understood with Buddhist philosophies adapted to the Western World, and well written in laymen's terms. The book is lengthier and far more complete in subject matter than "Buddhism Plain and Simple". May you find the Buddha within and the spiritual path to enlightenment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple in nature, complex in context
What an insight!

The title, "Buddhism Plain and Simple," serves a-perhaps unintended-double meaning. First the content of the book itself is, for such a difficult subject to the 'western' mind, simplifying to the nature of Buddhism. In most of the so-called western world, Buddhism is another religion a kin to Hinduism and a slew of unnamed cast based worldviews. Hagen skillfully and logically reduces the original concepts preached by the Buddha as a way of seeing the world, a philosophy of sorts, and strips off the many colorful layers of lore and culture acquired through the religion's sweep into Indo-Tibet, thus presenting the most simplified form of Buddhist teaching available. The alternate understanding of the book's title is that Buddhism itself is, by nature, the idea of life as simplicity applied. While this concept may be difficult to grasp (especially for those who have not been raised with eastern philosophy) it is, nonetheless, simple. Get it?

Anyone (really, anyone) desiring to gain an applicable understanding of "Buddhist philosophy" (for lack of a better term) should start with this book. Take the time to read it carefully, reread it, mull it, and then see how it affects you. The least you can expect to gain from Hagen's work, is a better understanding of the simplicity that life has to offer to those willing to let go.

2-0 out of 5 stars Inaccessible
I have to agree with petersmaclean. I have no prior knowledge of Buddhism and picked up this book out of intellectual curiosity. I finished it, after having forced myself to get through it all. The book is written in a fluffy and nebulous way. The author talks of "seeing" (if I see that word in italics again I'm going to puke), and his explanations build off of weak analogies. When I put the book down, I felt I had no substantial knowledge of Buddhism, aside from some foggy notion of enlightenment. Towards the end, the book reads like a cult handbook. I got the feeling that it only makes sense once you've bought into it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books
This book cuts to the chase. Its not page after page of fluff and abstract as many Buddist books are. This book goes straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught and not all the "extras" that have been tacked on by various sects. Mr. Hagen has an excellent straight forward writing style and he doesnt complicate the teachings. I have read over 30 books on Buddism and this book is light years ahead of the rest. For those who need a lot of airy-fairy gobbly gook type stuff, this is not your book. For those who take being AWAKE wont find a better guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment without trying
I've read a number of books about Zen and Buddhism, and feel that this is about the best. Especially for someone like me with a basic understanding this was very helpful. Hagen sets out the history of Buddhism and with few words spells out how you and I can find peace of mind and gain wisdom through simple practices, and without the need of a "guru", "teacher", or "spiritual guide". The author has a clear writing style that gets directly to the point without trying to be too cute or complex. I would recommend this book to any friend. ... Read more

5. Zen in the Art of Archery (Vintage Spiritual Classics)
list price: $10.00
our price: $7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375705090
Catlog: Book (1999-01-26)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 10597
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An illuminating account of how to understand Zen through archery. ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent introduction to re-thinking your "techniques"
Several years ago I read Ray Bradbury's "Zen in the Art of Writing." In it, he said he was inspired by Herrigel's book, and said it was a must-read for writing students. That's what I was, so that's what I did.

Describing the whole Zen approach to, for example, art is something I will leave to the late Prof. Herrigel. My opinion is that this book is one of the three books that made me re-think my approach to writing and a few other of my life's objectives. There are some things which must be studied and analyzed in order to become more proficient/knowledgable (e.g., Scrabble, History, automotive repair, fly fishing), some things which transcend study and analysis and move into creativity and the subconscious (e.g., cooking, salesmanship, customer service), and then things which are about 5% mentally attentive study and 95% "Zen." Such things might be creative writing, dance, archery, target shooting, martial arts, and other fields of study where the practitioner occasionally does something terrific and says "How did I do that?!"

I will not try to sell the reader on the notion that this book will teach how to tap into some inner identity that, when allowed, takes over our conscious selves and brings us to greater performance. I will say, however, that it makes a convincing argument that the typically Western notion of the conscious mind being responsible for our abilities is very flawed. Every practitioner of a martial art will affirm the truism that after diligent study and hard work, your fists and feet will find their targets even before your eyes and your mind see them. Well, coarse as that might seem, that is the heart and soul of Zen. Humans have a strange dual nature; our rational/conscious minds are responsible for so much of our perception of the world, that we tend to overemphasize the value of attentive thought. Easterners have long known that, if you study carefully under a good instructor, some time down the road something takes over and brings you to new levels of proficiency. Easterners call this Zen.

Zen has so many proponents and pundits that I don't wish to insert myself here and presume to the reader that I am among them. I would like to say, however, that if you are interested in getting a well-written, intelligent and thought-provoking book (and a small one at that) which will introduce you to a new way of looking at your objectives and techniques for achieving them, "Zen in the Art of Archery" is a superb selection. It is not some silly, Anthony Robbins-esque promise-filled cookbook of personal growth. It is merely an introduction to a very old way of looking at ourselves and our performance at endeavors which call upon something more than conscious thought.

When you stop to consider the plethora of self-help garbage and personal growth tripe that springs out of Oprah and her idiot guru buddies, gems like this one come as a refreshing reminder that there still are some books worth reading for those of us who are inquisitive enough to pursue them.

5-0 out of 5 stars a classic study of a Westerner learning Zen

This brief book (81 pages) can be read in an hour or two, but it has become a classic in the literature about Zen, the inspiration for "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and other works. In the 1950s, German philosopher Eugen Herrigel traveled to Japan, studied under Buddhist monks, and wrote about the experience of a Westerner trying to comprehend Zen Buddhism.

Herrigel detailed his archery training at the hands of Buddhist monks, of not being allowed to draw a bow for months and months, and finally, in a scene worthy of a Hollywood movie, of being shown a demonstration of incredible archery skill by a monk in the dead of night.

3-0 out of 5 stars from AN ACTING STUDENT's point of view...
I thought the story as a whole could have been better. I recognize what Herrigel was attempting to do: not bring Zen to the reader, but rather let the reader discover it for himself - much like he had to allow himself to "be breathed" rather than breathing, and allow "It" to shoot the arrow rather than shooting it himself. But the way that he went about it served to confuse me rather than enlighten me. By the end of his story, I was still expecting to come to a complete comprehension of, well, Zen in the art of archery. Perhaps I was not open-minded enough, and therefore the understanding could not fully get through to me. But if that is so, I don't blame myself in the least. I think that Herrigel went into his lessons with a very set, pre-formed idea of what Zen and therefore kyudo was all about. Therefore I don't think that a book written by him is the best way to learn about the subjects. If I want to truly learn about Zen, kyudo, Buddhism, and other Japanese and Eastern concepts, I will go about it the way I always have - with skepticism regarding other people's accounts. I want to go to Japan and learn for myself, rather than place my learning experience in the hands of an author I'm not sure I completely trust.

I am inclined to think that the Master was right, and that anyone introduced to the Western concepts of philosophy will have a great deal of trouble adjusting to the Eastern concepts of Zen.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book that helped me play and teach piano better
I have played the piano for thirty-five years and taught it for over twenty. I have written a book on teaching piano that is in the Lincoln Center Library for Performing Arts. The ideas and examples in this book, along with my mentor, helped me achieve breakthroughs in music when many other methods failed. In a way, I owe much of my teaching success to this book.

The book's beauty lies in a westerner's desperate attempts to make logical sense of concepts that are irrational and experiential. For example, the master told the author to let go of the string but also to not let go... Let the spirit "It" pull the string from the hand. Gradually releasing it, the string should leave the hand as though passing through butter.

I can attest to this idea's power. In piano, achieving pleasant tone is a contradictory skill. On the one hand, you have to play with enough force to project tone, on the other hand, you have to attack the key gently to create a rounded sound. The solution I found is called the "controlled drop," where you must let the arm drop but catch it. Like letting go of a bowstring, letting go of my arm to make pleasant sound at the piano is a joint effort between conscious and unconscious will.

Illustrating the sometimes difficult ideas are great anecdotes and quotes in the book. Like when the author challenged the master to shoot blindfolded, thinking it would be a rhetorical request. Instead, the master did just that, hitting the bullseye and splitting the first arrow with a second. And like when the master said, when you make a good shot, do not celebrate, bow and thank the spirit It. You are not responsible.

Perhaps the quotes and stories in this book anger some students of kyudo because they are kind of movie cliches by now, but at the time, it was new. And more important than the sensational stories are the concepts and conundrums present in an entertaining, short memoir.

I have read it many times and will go back again. Perhaps it is not exactly what Zen masters are teaching nowadays, but it has the solid feel of strong, cogent ideas. And the reader works struggles to understand the ideas along with author in what seems like real time.

5-0 out of 5 stars What I took from this book...
was that when we use short cuts we cheat our inner development. There is a point in his training when Mr.Herrigel, begins to hit the target. As he does so the Master becomes suspicious and begins to watch his technique.

When the Master discovers that Mr.Herrigel has found a western solution to his learning difficulties, the Zen Master expels him immediately. Explaining to him that what Mr.Herrigel has done was create a hollow illusion of success. True connection with the target first happens in the mind's ey and heart.

Great lesson to be learned for anyone. Loved this book I attempted to use some of the principles to change the way I did archery. I don't think I succeeded with all of the philosophies, but it did change my perspective.

Good luck reading it. ... Read more

6. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Zen Living (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback))
by Gary McClain, Eve Adamson
list price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0028639588
Catlog: Book (2000-11-26)
Publisher: Alpha Books
Sales Rank: 50023
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As an adult who leads a busy life, you have to deal with the stresses of home, work, and family.The Buddhist idea of Zen seeks to help you reduce stress so that you can remain calm when conflicts arise.This book begins with the basics, telling you what Zen is and how you can use it to deal with the situations that come up in your fast-paced life. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book on applying zen to your everyday life
This book clearly explains many Zen principles and shows applications to everyday life. It is an excellent first book for people getting interested in Zen. For me (I've been practicing for about a year), it was also a good book to show more examples of applying Zen. It demystifies Zen, and discusses how things (like planning) that can seem contradictory to Zen really aren't a problem.

Finally, the title of the book is great: It shows that the authors really get Zen. It's NOT the guide to understanding zen, or to learning zen; it's the guide to Zen LIVING.

5-0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than Anticipated
Yes, I'm aware of the irony here of preconceived notions and Zen, although I've been pleasantly surprised with a good result.

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Zen Living is a great introduction to Zen. It's easy to read, entertaining and engaging. It also presents itself as a great follow through or next step as to living Zen.

Depending on what you're looking for regarding Zen. This book gives you an overview of Buddhism with a quick 5 cent tour and with wit, humor and a sense of familiarity introduces you to Zen, Zen terms, Zen thought and a Zen perspective regarding life, home, work and family.

Another reviewer had mentioned that so many other books on Zen don't really "explain" Zen in the Western sense of the word. I've notice that too - it's like you're not in on the inside joke - or something like that. This book explains Zen and explains it well without the sense of you not being in on the joke. It's not just a collection of koans or an illustration of Zen through stories. Don't misunderstand me; I'm not saying that those stories or illustrations through tales are bad. For me I find them difficult as an introduction and after reading this book I actually want to continue my Zen path through those very tales and stories.

I got a lot out of this book and enjoyed reading it. It's a great introduction to Zen and more.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent practical guide to Zen
Many books on Zen fall into one of two categories: the "jump on the cool buzzword bandwagon" books that really have nothing to do with Zen, and the very dry and overly rigid books that are filled with many words and yet very little that a person would find helpful in everyday life. I am pleased to say this book falls into neither of those categories, and instead fits into a more enjoyable one: the kind of book that helps you learn to live better.

This is not a book about Zen history, or extensive rules for how to "properly" meditate. As the title states, this is a book about Zen *living*. It is like a flash light, which you can shine into the darkest corners of your mind and use as a guide to simplifying the psychological and emotional clutter therein. The authors have filled this book with many practical examples of how a Zen perspective can ease your mental burden and allow you to get more out of each moment.

If you're looking for lots of dry, philosophical blather, this is not the book for you. But if you are genuinely interested in gaining a new perspective on life, and learning how simple it can be to live in a more satisfying way, you've definitely come to the right place. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to clean out the dusty attic of the mind.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great place to start.
This book is a great place to start for beginers of a Zen way of living. Its to the point. Zen living is covered for every aspect of your life. The authors put much time into making the basic understanding of Zen very easy to comprehend. Numerous ideas and excercises really put you into an understanding of what is wrong,why it's wrong and how to fix it through a Zen way of living. From work to creativity to just walking down the street this book will help.
Now I feel I can expand my Zen life style having learned the basic's. In the now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it, read it, burn it, live it
I have been studying Zen off and on for years but was continually frustrated by the relentless obscurantism. On several occasions I asked questions on Zen newsgroups and was disappointed when people would answer my questions with riddles. Also, when I asked a Zen Roshi to answer some questions (even offering to pay him for his time) I found myself railroaded into taking his beginner's course a second time! I began to suspect that there are a lot of people out there who are so attached to some FORM of Zen that they have lost the ability to communicate the essentials in a compelling manner. They asked me, in effect, to "just have faith", perhaps inspired by their reports of bliss.

Sorry, but I've been there, done that! If you can't explain your valuable insight without a modicum of understanding of who I am and what I can grasp, then I'm not interested.

That's why I found "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Zen Living" (hereinafter TCIGTZL), so very refreshing. While I'm sure that some Zen purists will scoff, I was happy to have some perplexing questions answered. For example, I once asked on a Zen newsgroup, "What is the benefit of Zen? Why should I entrust the next 20 years of my life to some teacher whose qualifications I'm not able to assess?" In response, I got a lot of Zentastic blathering. It was as if they were trying to teach somebody calculus before arithmetic.

TCIGTZL, on the other hand, lays out the benefits quite clearly. I fail to see the harm in that; the authors carefully explain the "goaless goal" aspect of Zen, so there should be little danger of readers striving to attain and cling to those benefits. (If I may draw an analogy: you can explain the advantages of learning to read without getting people fixated on the actual process once they acquire the skill.)

So, at last, a bit of clarity! While Zen has long appealed to me at a gut level, I was getting to the point where I was asking, "After hundreds of years, why hasn't Zen improved its method of introducing itself to neophytes?" Maybe that's not fair -- maybe I wasn't looking in the right places -- but until I found TCIGTZL I was starting to think that I'd been wrong about Zen all along.

TCIGTZL does include a lot of material that is perplexing. I expected that. I also expect to find my future exploration of Zen frustrating. Now, though, I've read an accessible overview. I won't keep the book -- that would be too "clingy" -- but at least I now have some validation of my initial (favourable) gut reaction to Zen. ... Read more

7. An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
by D. T. Suzuki
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802130550
Catlog: Book (1991-11-01)
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic
Sales Rank: 38336
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive, but clear, introduction to Zen
D.T. Suzuki (1870 - 1966) is usually credited with introducing Zen Buddhism to America, and in AN INTRODUCTION TO ZEN BUDDHISM he covers Zen in a scholastic and erudite fashion. Suzuki's use of English is extremely complex, but his style gets information across very well.

While expounding on the basics of Zen, Suzuki is always quick to respond to questions the reader might have. He dedicates an entire chapter to countering the oft-heard argument that Zen is nihilistic. The final chapter covers daily life for Zen monks, giving Westerners a glimpse of what is common knowledge for Japanese (or was several generations ago).

The book is not perfect, however. Suzuki covers only the Rinzai school of Japanese Buddhism, leaving the Soto school out in the cold. Also, like any Japanese Zen scholar, he tends to do a little Theravada bashing, claiming that it is "primitive" and unrefined.

D.T. Suzuki was a professor of Buddhist studies, and not a Zen adept himself, so it is important to also read an account of Zen from a personal and practical angle, to complement Suzuki's scholarly approach. For that, I recommend QUESTIONS TO A ZEN MASTER with Taisen Deshimaru.

5-0 out of 5 stars authoritative and concise
I don't know very much about Zen, but I can say that this book was very informative for the beginner. In the introduction, Jung characterizes Zen as the path to a new condition of consciousness wherein the conscious mind is allowed to rest so that elements from the unconscious mind can be brought to the surface. What rises out of the unconscious is dependent on what is needed to complete the conscious orientation. This characterization is very fascinating, though I think that Jung, being a psychologist/psychiatrist, naturally has a somewhat constructivist bias for the anti-metaphysical structure of Zen over other religious systems.

DT Suzuki himself presents the material with authority and concision. I've not read his "essays" but this work is much shorter, and would serve as preliminary reading. Topics include defining Zen (or rather, saying what it is not), the koan, satori, the monk's life, and the ralationship between Zen and logic (or rather, illogic).

5-0 out of 5 stars A Drink of Water for a Thirsty Man in the Desert
Amazingly my volume of this book was published in 1964 and looking at the preface, the book was created from articles written in Japan in 1914 ... The author states if he can lead the reader to study more of his work he has achieved his goal. This volume will serve to quench the thirst and hunger of any reader who is interested in Zen and it will lead one to try to understand more of the concepts associated with this experience.

The introduction is written by Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, who tells us, that the oriental concepts of Tao, satori, and the Buddhist concept of kamma are so different from Western ideas that it is difficult to translate. Yet he gives his highest recommendations to this volume -- no small matter, from one such as he is... a world famous psychiatrist and psychologist. The Zen texts say "enlightenment" is a natural occurence, and that it is a state of insight into the nature of self. Jung tells us it is a state of "spiritual reality", that 'satori' is a psychic occurence. It is a state of 'seeing things differently', a state of "consciousness of the consciousness" ... It is associated with "becoming whole" ... a spiritual experience that is part of consciousness ... but more expansive. Jung considers it is duty to tell Westerners -- it is "the longest of roads" -- "difficulties strew the path" -- "trodden by only a few of our great men" -- it remains for most -- "a beacon on a high mountain, shining out in a haze future". [p.27]

D.T. Suzuki in his "Preliminary" describes the two paths of Buddhism, the Lesser Vehicle and Higher Vehicle. "Personal experience is everything in Zen." [p.33]"No amount of meditation will keep Zen in one place." [p.41] He provides chapters on "nihilistic zen", "illogical zen", and "zen a higher affirmation". Practical zen, koans, and acquiring '"satori" or a new viewpoint' are well documented with fine examples. For a book of *only* 132 pages the breadth, width and depth of detail is astonishing. The author proves to be a master of his subject, indeed, no one else can whet the appetite of a beginner and have them searching to know more. This is the best gift a writer can provide -- this author provides us his *very* *best*. Erika Borsos (erikab93)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Satori" Experiences from a Rinzai Master
D.T.Suzuki is an excellent author and philosopher. This book certainly conveys that fact. Suzuki has a style of treating his readers as intellectuals. As a result, eventhough some of the chapers contain very difficult Zen (especially related to eastern philosophy) ideas and concepts, you can follow them easily. Suzuki is an excellent teacher and this book is worth buying if you are into Zen or Buddhism in general.
One quick note, the print is bad and ugly. Didn't make a pleasant reading experience, I thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most basic material on Zen
Zen Buddhism was systemically introduced to the West by Zen master Suzuki. He wrote several books on Zen in plain English and those books are still counted as basic materials to understand Zen. This book cites numerous anecdotes of the heyday of Zen Buddhism, Tang dynasty. This is the typical style of Zen primer.
Buddha attacked the Hinduist concept of atman. Atman is similar to the Platonic forms, that is, all phenomenons have their substance. This way of thought is deeply ingrained in our language. For example, ¡®I¡¯ am always ¡®I¡¯. When I was 5 years old, when I was 20 years old, and when I will be 60 years. And that, we think, with no questioning, those ¡®I¡¯s should have the same identity. And our friends should be so. But those ¡®I¡¯ and she/he could not be the same ones. What always is there is only the name we give. You could know it with no being lost in thought. Buddha taught that the object that our attention is directed lacks the substance and what we really recognize is only the name. The enlightenment, the ultimate goal of Buddhism, is just breaking through the boundaries of that kind of mundane thought. But achieving such breaking is near-impossible. We could understand what Buddha said but knowing is not doing.
Mahayana Buddhism built up heady mountain of scriptures. By the 12 c., it amounted to 160 thousands pages in total. Zen suspected that the enlightenment couldn¡¯t be achieved with reading scripts and meditation. It is best reached not by the study of scripture, the practice of good deeds, rites and ceremonies, or worship of images, but by shaking up ordinary inertia. Zen Buddhism employed Koans to do it. Koan is a brief paradoxical statement or question used as a discipline in meditation. The effort to solve a koan is designed to exhaust the analytic intellect and the will, leaving the mind open for response on an intuitive level. There are about 1,700 traditional koans, which are based on anecdotes from ancient Zen masters. They include the well-known example "When both hands are clapped a sound is produced; listen to the sound of one hand clapping." This should sound the at best illogical at worst babble. But koan is the typical way to reach to the enlightenment in Zen Buddhism. And it is inevitable to write the history of Zen Buddhism is to write the list of koans. This book is no exception. But each koan had its own situation. So each koan should be introduced with its own locale. And this determines the writing style of the Zen primers: almost all Zen primers take the form of storytelling. And Zen master Suzuki is an excellent raconteur.
But Suzuki restrains himself to storyteller, not interpreter of each koan. So you should guess the meaning of koans by yourself. This is the very tradition of Zen-related books. Suzuki could put the meaning of koans in words. But such wording can¡¯t catch the very essence of koan. You should realize it by yourself. All the cues are in this book. ... Read more

8. Cinema Nirvana : Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400049741
Catlog: Book (2005-02-22)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 82801
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating
Thoroughly enjoyable capture of the nuggets of dharma illustrated in film.This was a grand gift of a book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific book and a way fun read!
Cinema Nirvana is a terrific book and a way fun read. I want to go over some of it again because it is quite thought provoking for me. I got a non-New-Age-Oh-Wow-How-Cosmic-Dude look at roots of some of my own beliefs and practices. Completely unexpected, and pleasantly surprising.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blissful
A lot of spiritual writing succumbs to the platitudes of new-asge mush. Not so with this book. Cinema Nirvana is extraordinarily well written, creative and insightful. Basically, Sluyter does an analysis of cinema in terms of Buddhist teaching. Each analysis made me think again about the movies I had taken at face value - I even ended up reading some of them twice. I have definitely reconsidered the way I approach popular culture as a result of Sluyter's critical technique. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Buddhist philosophy, wants to steer clear of the new age drivel, and enjoys well wrought, intellectually stimulating critical writing. Even those who don't have much knowledge of buddhist philosophy, but want fresh crticial insight into cinema should give this book a reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Jokester Sage at the Movies
After searching through the Spirituality section of my local Barnes & Noble, I finally found this book shelved under Film, keeping company with the Marilyn bios and Leonard Maltin guides. That sort of makes sense. Like Certs ("It's a breath mint AND a candy mint!"), "Cinema Nirvana" is an oddball but well-informed romp through the world of classic American film, as well as a savvy guide to meditation and spiritual growth. Sluyter writes like someone who's been around both of those blocks more than once. He excels at noticing the overlooked (the shark in "Jaws" has been terrorizing the beach, but the three heroes illogically hunt it down in deep water, out of sight of land) and squeezing epiphanies out of it (the ocean represents the deep waters of the infinite, where familiar moorings are left behind). Sluyter's brand of spirituality is mostly - but not dogmatically - Buddhist, with the plain-spoken, common-sense approach of the best Buddhist writers. His writing is extremely clear and often very funny. His wit and his skillful use of personal stories (his saga of involvement with a cultlike group in the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" chapter, or his account of the psychedelic 60's in "Easy Rider") make for top-notch entertainment. But what's most entertaining is watching him make astonishing connections - his cosmic interpretation of the lyrics of "Jailhouse Rocks" will blow your socks off.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Way of Film
Cinema is an art form that combines still photography, motion, and sound on a grand scale.The combination of the sheer number of individual stills, the technology of light, and the magic of sound (the first element of creation in the secular model) is sheer wonder.It is no accident that this miracle of creative intelligence happens in large interior spaces, darkened, and viewed in the presence of many other souls focusing their attention to a single location at the front of such chambers.For nearly a century, such temples of light, motion, and sound have reached into the interior spaces of individual viewers not unlike the model of Self versus self found in Eastern traditions.The form has become a tool of persuasion, propaganda, and profit effectively used and replacing reality itself--"live" events are no longer complete without a simultaneous broadcast on it derivative technology--television.

So, Dean Sluyter makes explicit what has been implicit in the technology and the form.Sort of like Hero's steam engine that opened the doors to the Egyptian idol, so too does the cinema make possible the worship of our secular religious values.When we look at cinema, we must learn to see beyond the image, the motion, the sound, the thrill--we must learn to see the screen and the light--we must learn to recognize the structures of our own self and creative intelligence that connects us, the viewer, with that of the director/producer.Actors and props are the doors of the idols, but the vision of the director/producer is the Hero.

Dean takes us through this process.He ignores the obvious selecting the obscure in order to make clear how the underlying principles of intelligence and self are expressed to us in current symbols.He is not DE-constructing--he is IN--structing.Dean is our needle and we are his thread, to borrow the image of teacher and student used by the 17th century mystic and warrior, Miyamoto Musashi.He pulls us through the warp and the woof of the cosmic fabric of our mind to help us see old themes in new insight.Snow White is discussed in Sashimi terms of Asian enlightenment and expansion versus the ponderous fatty sausage of Germanic Grimm or a Yorkshire Pudding Campbell.We are treated to a pastiche of the soul's yearning to find fullness of Self.Marlow represents a Light Warrior girding his loins to vanquish the forces of ignorance driven by passions and the senses.

But more than an exercise in the new American idiom of enlightenment, I am drawn to the volume as a document, a testament, of a generation's contribution to the growing richness of the American Mind and Spiritual Capital.Dean, like his subject, is telling us about things he himself is struggling to express.Like all of us, Dean is reassessing and revising his own experience of reality and our American experience with respect to his own consciousness.We are brought inside his awareness and witness his meditation.We have a theme, a mantra (a mental device with which to transcend and each person's is unique--mine is different than yours--besides it does not matter what it is--only that you return to it) that comes and goes.In between are thoughts--Marlow, Brando, Pod People, "we blew it."Dean shows how to do it through his own process.

And this brings us to the ultimate lesson--it does not matter if you agree with Dean or his choice in movies or even his take on the thematic underlying principles of creative intelligence--art or science--it makes no difference.The TEACHER is not imparting content--only pointing to process.We must have our own experiences.RATHER, the TEACHER wants us to REFLECT and meditate on our experience of the same object of experience.I do not like his take on the GODFATHER--so, what.What matters is that I have written my own short essay on why I disagree with him.I roared at the moon over JAWS--Where is the analogy of the whale; of MOBY DICK--it matters ONLY that I have been worked up about it for weeks.Dean has stirred my soul--THAT has helped me shake of years of rust from the lack of proper use of my own creative process.

Here, the force of the book is powerful--like a proper samurai's cut, or the perfect cherry blossom falling in the spring air.It is the whiteness of the page, the space between the letters, that connects with the direction of Dean's tutorial.

This book is instruction.It must be practiced often.He is an excellent teacher from whom there is much to be learned.

Read it and be well; these are the words of an exponent of reality. ... Read more

9. The Way of Zen (Vintage Spiritual Classics)
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375705104
Catlog: Book (1999-01-26)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 32399
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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After D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts stands as the godfather of Zen in America. Often taken to task for inspiring the flimsy spontaneity of Beat Zen, Watts had an undeniably keen understanding of his subject. Nowhere is this more evident than in his 1957 classic The Way of Zen, which has been reissued. Watts takes the reader back to the philosophical foundations of Zen in the conceptual world of Hinduism, follows Buddhism's course through the development of the early Mahayana school, the birth of Zen from Buddhism's marriage with Chinese Taoism, and on to Zen's unique expression in Japanese art and life. As a Westerner, Watts anticipates the stumbling blocks encountered with such concepts as emptiness and no-mind, then illustrates with flawlessly apt examples. Many popular books have been written on Zen since Watts' time, but few have been able to muster the rare combination of erudition and clarity that have kept The Way of Zen in readers' hands decade after decade. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece!
Alan Watts has always had the most amazing ability to speak the unspeakable, and in The Way of Zen you will feel the true essence of Zen as long as you don't get hung up on the words.To get the point, one must read without "reading" because Zen itself can never be put into words. But as you are taken through Zen's conception, birth, growth, and finally into the arts - you will notice that: "this ain't just literature." I have adored Alan's style of writing for over 25 years now, and I must say that this is one his best books, and surely the best ever writen on the subject ( with the one possible exception of D.T. Susuki's writings.) However, I have always found Watts to be more enjoyable, because he understands the western mind and the complications we will inevitably encounter while trying to understand something so completely Chinese as Zen. As you read, you will notice an intimacy develope between author and reader, master and student, or master and master. This book is not only for the serious student of Zen, but for anyone who enjoys eastern thought and "mysticism."

5-0 out of 5 stars Alan Watts at his best.
Watts is a scholar, first and foremost, and a brilliant writer. In this book, you'll learn where Zen came from. It has its origins in India, where Buddhism was created, and then became as fresh as a gust of wind on its way through China and Chinese Taoism. Zen reached its full fruition after it arrived in Japan.

The book is separated into two sections. The first tells the history of Zen. The second describes the practice of Zen. But all the while, Watts opens your mind and you get the real FEEL of Zen. I'm the author of the book, Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I can tell you that Watts' way of writing works: It will change the way you look at the world. This book is very much worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Watts enlightens
It is unfortunate in my view that the word Zen gets attached to the most frivolous things. You see books with titles such as "The Zen of Motorcycle Repair" or "The Zen of Making Big Fat Wads of Cash". As Lao Tzu says, "Those who speak do not know; those who know do not speak". With that in mind, it's clear that the modern fad of Zen-everything is not really the way of Zen. Which raises the question - what is the way of Zen? Alan Watts recognises the difficulty in explaining the concept of Zen to the West, and freely admits he's not the world's foremost expert on the subject. However humble he may have been, Watts certainly seems to know what he's talking about. "The Way of Zen" traces the origins of this non-religion/philosophy/ideology from ancient China and India, to its uptake in the rest of Asia (notably Japan). There's even a few chapters on Zen in the Arts, discussing the idea of haiku and how it aspires to be Zen-in-motion. Watts is lucid in his approach, and always takes the time to explain even the most perplexing concepts. Overall if you want to get one step closer to understanding the inscrutable Zen, let Watts enlighten you (pun intended).

5-0 out of 5 stars this is the heart of Zen
if you are a seeker and wish to achieve satori; stop seeking and let go of that wish...

this book is about dis-learning. YOU cannot learn anything from this great source. Alan Watts says "AWAKENING IS NOT NOT TO KNOW WHAT REALITY IS, AWAKENING IS TO KNOW WHAT REALITY IS NOT"

Alan W. Watts says "to Tia, Mark and Richard who will understand it all the better. for not being able to read it"

but know that if there's a book about Zen, this is it...

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best on Zen
As most of us know, Watts is historically one of the most significant writer's introducing the West to Eastern thought. Although "The Book" may speak to a wider audience, this is the best English book on Eastern thought in terms of accesibility and comprehensiveness. It provides us a nice historical overview of the evolution of this type of consciousness and explains the main messages of various "Eastern" schools of thought in a way that most of us Western minds can comprehend. Because of this, I use this as a book as one of the texts in my class of Eastern philosophy. Another book I use for this class is a book called "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato. It is an excellent book that provides a nice bridge between Western thought and Eastern thought in a way that students can understand and appreciate. If you are truly interested in Eastern thought, I believe that these two books are two pieces of essential reading. ... Read more

10. Waking Up to What You Do : A Zen Practice for Meeting Every Situation with Intelligence and Compassion
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590301811
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 46261
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11. The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment
by Philip Kapleau Roshi
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385260938
Catlog: Book (1989-02-27)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 26341
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Advice-Boring Read
I hate saying it, because Philip Kapleau is so full of the good teachings that helped Zen "take" here in the USA, but this book was very boring. I understand many of his students perhaps have written the reviews here and such, and that Roshi Kapleau is in fact, a very good teacher. As for being a good writer, he is not. That said, the words on each page are accurate and concise. It is the delivery that leaves much to be desired.

Let us keep in mind that when this book was published, the West didn't really know much about Zen. It was considered, largely, to be a "philosophy" that is to be understood academically. Every author writes for his or her audience, that is, any writer that wants to write another book does. This work reminds you of, though not entirely, the flavor that Daisetz Suzuki wrote with. The scholarly, intellectual route. Which, like I said, was necessary to pave way for the many teachings we would find later in the USA as a result. Roshi Kapleau paved the way for Zen, but as for this book, it simply is not "attractive" enough for many students of Zen today. If you want an entertaining read that provides insight, this is not really your book. If you are looking for insight, and don't care much one way or the other about the "entertainment" aspect-then this book is for you. All this said, I recommend the book. The oddest recommendation I have given to date.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Pillar Of Zen literature in the West
The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment
by Philip Kapleau

Now in a 35th Anniversary edition, The Three Pillars of Zen is generally regarded as the "classic" introduction to Zen Buddhism, and along with Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, has probably helped more westerners begin Zen practice than any other book.

The book is a collection of texts which describe Zen Buddhism as encountered by Philip Kapleau in Japan in the 1950's. Kapleau's transmission is Zen as it was taught in particular by Harada-Roshi and Yasutani-Roshi, a synthesis of both the Rinzai and Soto traditions. Harada's and Yasutani's school revitalized Zen in the twentieth century, and their teaching is particularly relevant to Americans as many American Zen teachers today are of their lineage.

The book is in three parts. Part One is titled "Teaching and Practice" and consists of Yasutani's Introductory Lectures on Zen Training (these alone are worth the price of the book), his Commentary (Teisho) on the Koan Mu, and records of his Private Encounters With Ten Westerners (in dokusan). These three sections provide the reader an idea of what Zen training is, how to begin, and hint at the flavor of the process as practiced in Yasutani's school. Part One concludes with a translation of a dharma talk and some letters by the 14th century Japanese master Bassui.

Part Two is titled "Enlightenment" and consists of first-person descriptions of 20th century enlightenment (kensho) experiences. These descriptions are unique and fascinating, and bring the concept of enlightenment a personal relevance - it's not just something that was attained by ancient masters. Of particular interest are the pieces by Kapleau himself, and Kyozo Yamada, both of whom became prominent Zen teachers.

Part Three is a collection of supplements to the text and consists of a brief and mystifying selection from Dogen's writings on "Being-Time", the famous "Ten Oxherding Pictures" with commentary and verse, and an extremely helpful section on sitting postures with common questions and answers.

The 35th Anniversary edition has a new afterward by Bodhin Kjolhede, Kapleau's successor at the Rochester Zen Center, and a terrific glossary of Zen vocabulary and Buddhist doctrine.

While no book can provide a complete in-depth view of the Zen tradition, The Three Pillars of Zen is a comprehensive look at Zen as practiced by a lineage that continues to have great influence in the West. The newcomer to Zen practice will come away from reading this book with clear guidelines about how to begin his or her practice, a fundamental understanding of Zen terminology, and at least a vague idea of what all this Zen talk is about.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I first ran across this book a while back, when I was involved in Buddhism in a sort of academic way. The Three Pillars of Zen was on the reading list for one of my classes, and I ended up reading it the way I read most academic texts - with an eyes towards extracting pithy quotes and supporting ideas for an eventual paper. At the time, it made little impression on me, although I think I may have footnoted it a couple times in assorted papers.

Then, about two years ago, I began to rediscover Buddhism (and, in particular Zen) not as an field of intellectual study, but as a practice and a way of life. I began regularly sitting - first five minutes a day, then ten, then half an hour - and occasionally sitting zazen and attending dharma talks at one of our local Zen centers.

But I still didn't really have a good grounding in some of the fundamentals. Yes, I knew the basic dharma, but I felt that I was missing something.

Enter The Three Pillars of Zen. I don't know why I happened to grab it, but it proved to be exactly what I was looking for - a good introduction to the fundamentals of Zen, with a particular emphasis on practice. Reading this gave my sitting practice something to take root in, and has offered me continual inspiration.

There's a lot here, and a lot to absorb, and I don't doubt that different parts of this book will speak to different people. For me, I found the depictions of assorted enlightenment experiences to be incredibly inspiring, but the real meat was in the collection of student-roshi interviews. I found every doubt, every question that I've had about my practice repeated, in some cases word-for-word, in this section - which was a nice thing to encounter, as a relative neophyte who is, admittedly, plagued with doubts as to virtually everything.

I would neccessarily reccommend this to someone who knows nothing of Buddhism or of the dharma, but I would reccommend it as an excellent introduction to Zen and the practice of Zen. It's a book that I return to every day, and that I find a continual source of inspiration.

4-0 out of 5 stars good stuff
a wise and wondrous accompaniment to the works of Alan Watts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book on Zen!
This is definitely one of the best books on Zen Buddhism ever written in English. It contains important historical and theoretical information and it is clearly written. The writing style is very inspiring and it contains practical advice regarding the practice of Zen itself. Being on a path of personal growth towards something close to enlightenment myself, I found this book very very educational. Although not exclusively on Zen, a general book concerning this path that is also an absolutely must read is "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato. I recommend these two books for anyone on the path. ... Read more

12. Bring Me the Rhinoceros : And Other Zen Koans to Bring You Joy
by John Tarrant
list price: $16.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400047641
Catlog: Book (2004-10-19)
Publisher: Harmony
Sales Rank: 16923
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13. Zen and the Art of Poker: Timeless Secrets to Transform Your Game
by Larry W. Phillips
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452281261
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 9821
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Inside the intriguing world of poker lies a fascinating exercise in strategy and extreme concentration--many of the same principles that underpin the one-thousand-year-old philosophy of Zen spirituality. Zen and the Art of Poker is the first book to apply Zen theories to America's most popular card game, presenting tips that readers can use to enhance their game. Among the more than one hundred rules that comprise this book, readers will learn to:

* Make peace with folding

* Use inaction as a weapon

* Make patience a central pillar of their strategy

* Pick their times of confrontation

Using a concise and spare style, in the tradition of Zen practices and rituals, Zen and the Art of Poker traces a parallel track connecting the two disciplines by giving comments and inspirational examples from the ancient Zen masters to the poker masters of today.
... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good enjoyable book ¿ Now Get to Playin
This was a very Enjoyable Book. It provided important and useful concepts about the game of Poker. I learned new concepts, which identified some leaks in my game. Leaks in your game can come from anywhere!!! Leaks can originate from lack of aggression, overcalling raises, misreading opponents and any other number of ways. So this book helps. Many people look at poker the wrong way. They think to win they need to do all of this super fancy plays and mindblowing stunts. Well folks...there are not that many options in fold, call or raise. So its really hard to do thinks that will just fool your opponents all the time. To win at poker it is mostly limiting your mistakes and getting all that you can from winning hands and minimizing losses on losing hands...that's it

Ive been playing for about 5 years now and love the game. Ive read many poker books and found this one to be very good. So I would suggest you buy this book and maybe a couple others and get to playing. There's really no excuse anymore - since anyone can access the internet.

If you are a new poker player and would like to start playing poker online at - make sure you use the bonus code: "AMAZON25" and you will receive $25 free on your first purchase at You can also use the Bonus Code "AMAZON100" and you will receive a 20% bonus up to $100! If you already play at PartyPoker, you can also play at Use the promotion code "100BONUS" and you will receive 20% up to $100

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing poker instructional book
Ever wonder how people like Howard Lederer win so much cash over the long haul in poker? It isn't that line he and other pros like Phil Hellmuth always give ("I see into the soul of the other player"). Poker pros say that as a standard defense just in case they ever run into you at the table, so they can intimidate you (hey, these pros aren't stupid, they realize psychology is a huge factor to Texas Hold-em)... The real key is patience (a simple, yet very difficult concept in poker). It is pretty well known that Lederer has gotten into Zen over the last year or so (and his game has soared to even higher levels then before). Don't worry, there is no chanting or other mystical weirdness in this book, just 100+ quality concepts of fundamental, intermediate and advanced poker techniques and tactics. The key is being able to implement them into your game. I would guess only 20% or so of you reading this have what it takes to do that (just human nature)... If you can implement these techniques, there is no doubt you will win consistantly, whether you play on the internet or in traditional card rooms. I would imagine those who wrote bad reviews for this book are the aggresive type players who are unable to play a quality "thinking man's" or "woman's" game. The bottom line is, do you want to win cash or do you want to be a maverick who may hit a lucky big pot here and there, but ultimately give all their chips away to guys like Lederer, Dan Harrington, Erik Seidel and Andy Bloch. Yeah, I know, those are not the most flashy players around, but they are guys who probably have the most cash in their bank accounts. The truth is, grinders win. And this book should be part of any personal poker instructional library (the format of it is also great as it lends itself to not only cover-to-cover analysis, but quick reference as well).

3-0 out of 5 stars Not your typical poker book!
You wont learn funky plays with this books, which is more focused on keeping your emotions under control, and avoiding the costly "steaming" sessions. As mentioned by another reviewer, the principles in this book are also interesting for traders.
Two main criticisms:
1. Poker players know they must keep their cool, avoid steaming, manage their expectations... Still, anger is a human thing, and I think the book does not give good tricks in terms of implementing the methods advised (which is the difficult part rreally...)
2. Poker is a game of agression: trying to implement "Zen Poker" puts your usual poker at risk, as playing Zen/agressive really is tough.
Overall this book is interesting because it takes a different view to poker, but all in all it wont revolutionize your play.

5-0 out of 5 stars Become a poker warrior
"Zen and the Art of Poker" teaches lessons essential for anyone who wants to better understand the emotional element of the poker game. I consider this text to be the most useful thing I have ever read on poker (and card playing in general). Any success I have had since reading this book is the direct result of the lessons contained in its pages, as I have transformed myself from a sloppy gunslinger to a cold-blooded pot-dragger.

Success at the tables can be owed to three things. The first is luck, which can't be taught. Next is a player's mathematical understanding of the statistics of the game, which is the subject of almost every other poker book written. Finally, the overlooked element of successful poker play concerns self discipline at the table. This book outlines Buddhist philosophies that can be applied in a poker game, helping a player better understand how their mental approach to the game is as important as the cards they are dealt.

This book is not for the average poker player. A person needs to be prepared to do some serious self analysis and abandon old tricks, habits and superstitions that have no real practical purpose in the game. If an open-minded player does "buy-in" to the lessons of this book, they will learn to focus, remain calm and dominate weaker-minded opponents.

2-0 out of 5 stars good idea
But the writer hasn't really pulled it off. Far from essential for poker players. ... Read more

14. Words of My Perfect Teacher, Revised Edition (Sacred Literature Series)
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570624127
Catlog: Book (1998-10-27)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 51471
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure bliss in written form!
I was lucky enough to have received oral commentary on this text from H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche a few years ago. Ever since then, I knew that this text was a jewel just needing to be read!
Patrul Rinpoche's personality and heart instructions really come through in this text. It is both poetic yet earthly and never gets preachy at all. The stories, poems, and teachings listed throughout are simply perfect and fit each topic he is discussing. He writes this in regards to listening to your teacher giving instructions:

"Put your hands together palm to palm and listen,

every pore on your body tingling and your eyes wet with tears,

never letting any other thought get in the way." (Pg.11)

Simple, but direct, The Words of My Perfect teacher is a text to study for life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Translation
I wanted to write quick rebuttal to the reviewer who questions the quality of this translation. I've read both the original Tibetan text (kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) and the translation, and I'm very impressed with the work the translators have done. The Tibetan text has been rendered into excellent, clear and grammatical English prose without sacrificing the literal meaning of the original. In addition, the book is clearly footnoted with commentary from high lamas, alternate translations and references.

5-0 out of 5 stars Patrul Rinpoche wakes us up
Wonderful Patrul Rinpoche has written a good book which no doubt has stood the test of time.

The book covers the general and specific premliminaries of Vajrayana, spiced up with lovely stories and anecdotes. Patrul Rinpoches straightfoward and sometimes blunt way of expressing things is very releiving and inspiring. Some of what he writes may be provoking to modern (western) readers. He is striking towards hipocracy in all directions.

There are detailed explanations on the Four Mind Changings, Refuge and Bodhicitta, Vajrasattva practice, Mandala offering, Guru Yoga and many other thigs.

The book is a great read from cover to cover as well as a good reference book with its good index.

Reading this book will certainly dispel lots of ignorance and doubt regarding the buddhist path. So read it, again and again!

5-0 out of 5 stars don't miss the point
this is one of my all-time favorite books in the universe. i recommend it to all of my friends (even though most have read it!) and would love for everyone interested in tibetan buddhism as a real-life practice to own and read this book. and reread it. it starts at the beginning and goes all the way to the end. if i may offer a primer: in tibet there were (are?) four main schools. the oldest of them is called "nyingma," or "old ones." within the nyingma's thousands of sub-lineages by far one of the most widely practiced is that begun by a man named jigmed lingpa. his student's student's student (i believe i have that right) wrote this text as a record of his master's oral instructions on the so-called "preliminary practices" (tib. ngondro). however, as many lamas will tell you, the use of the word "preliminary" must be taken with a grain of salt. these practices embody the essence of the dharma, and the joy of this book is that it helps to bring that truth to light. the translation was done by a committee of tibetan language scholars and lineage-holding masters. so intent were they to provide a true translation, a few years after the first edition they republished it with the adjustments they had developed as the text was being used and studied. and it is precisely this use and study that is the point of this text. what more could you ask for?

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential text for those interested in Tibetan Buddhism
Patrul Rinpoche's classic and powerful text contains essential instructions and expositions for those already familiar with, and may be practicing, Tibetan Buddhism. It cuts at the root of our misunderstandings and misery. What more can we ask for? For Buddhists of other lineage traditions, the text still contains many valuable insights and meditations. For newcomers to Tibetan Buddhism, however, other introductory texts would be more appropriate (e.g. selected works by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Thubten Chodron, Alan Wallace, Robert Thurman). ... Read more

by Philip Toshio Sudo
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 068483877X
Catlog: Book (1998-03-24)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 41280
Average Customer Review: 4.23 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book Really helped me !
This is a great book ! I reccomend this book to any guitar player beginner or advanced ! Even if you play a diffrent instrument other than guitar it will still teach you about you and your instrument. I DON'T reccomend this book to anybody that does NOT play any kind of musical instrument ! This book really teaches you about the physical art of playing guitar and it helps inspire you of the way you play your music. I wont ever forget this book its so good i've read it alot more times than once. I must have read this book more than 10X's. So I think its a GREAT BOOK ! I give it two thumbs up and 5 stars. I hope this reveiw helped you. Thank you

5-0 out of 5 stars Guitar Instruction for the Soul
"Zen Guitar" is one of the best instructional books that I have found for the guitar. Although this book will not teach you how to make a 7b5 chord or how to play a Mixolydian scale it is not any less important. "Zen Guitar" teaches the way of the guitar, the mental aspect needed to play the guitar. There are so very few souls that are born to play the guitar. Many may have the technical ability to play like Stevie Ray Vaughan, but few could ever hope to radiate music like he did without help.

Philip Toshio Sudo provides that help by exploring Eastern philosophies in respect to playing guitar and making music. There are over sixty lessons contained in this book, each short and containing only one point so the simple meaning is not lost in the explanation. Many guitarists become hung up on stupid, meaningless things that prevent one from fulfilling their guitar ability. The lessons that Sudo teaches point out these hang ups and explain the mental attitude that is required to reach your full potential.

Not only will Sudo's work help a guitarist to see the light, but the lessons that he teaches can be used in every day life. He has done a good job in distilling the complicated thoughts of the Taoism so a Western mind can readily understand this foreign way of thinking. Every guitarist who ever talks about becoming better, or hack that just "doodles" on the fretboard, should buy this book and take the lessons to heart. "Zen Guitar" will open your mind and let guitar flow from your heart. You will become a better player, and if you take Sudo's teachings to heart, you will notice improvement outside the realm of guitar as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars To the spirit of guitar playing
If you can only play one string - then play it! That is the spirit of this book. it connects the basics of guitar playing to spiritual development. Start with the basics, play what you enjoy, do what you are good at. Such easy advice, yet so difficult to embrace. To really understand the book the reader needs to go through it several times, and really ponder what the author means. All chapters start with a quote from famous guitarists, people who know, and is worth listening to.

2-0 out of 5 stars Great title... lousy book
Who can't be attracted to this book: great title, short 'n easy to read...? Only problem is that's all there is to it: this book HAD to be written... but they could have really explored zen and it's application to guitar in exquisite detail.

Instead we get some garbage about "white belt" vs. "black belt" and a few zen sound bytes, but nothing altogether interesting to anybody who actually knows anything about zen. For instance, white and black belts have to do with karate... not zen: I've read entire books on zen that say nothing whatsoever about the martial arts. Sheesh!

If you know nothing of zen and are hitting roadblocks trying to learn guitar, and you have an open mind, by all means buy it: you may like it, as several other reviewers have... I'm in the camp of those who disliked it, though: I play guitar and I dig zen... unfortunately, knowing a lot about both guitar and zen allows me to see just what a stupid marketing ploy this book really is... they could have done a LOT better.

5-0 out of 5 stars There is an approach to anything you do in life in this book
Someone who is a great guitar player recommended this book to me. I study art and very interested in philosophical interpretation of music, art, life etc.

Once I started to read it, I could not believe how many great thoughts it had. This book has SO many valuable sayings written in such a simple language! Take for instance couple of these, "if you can't play what you hear, then hear what you play" or "do it [practice] as much as needs to be done, as well as it needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and do it this way every time."
I don't like to read it too fast though because I need to put it through my own "filter", well, I just like to chew on :).

I would say that "Zen Guitar" is for anyone who is interested in philosophy or/and any kind of art. I play some music instruments as well, and I think this book will help you depending on what you are looking for. For some it is strictly for that specific instrument (read: GUITAR) and will put some more soul in their sound but for others it just can be a starting point to many exciting discoveries in LIFE... enjoy! ... Read more

16. The Zen of Eating: Ancient Answers to Modern Weight Problems
by Ronna Kabatznick
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399523820
Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
Publisher: Perigee Books
Sales Rank: 73062
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars truth in simplicity
This is a valuable book on several different levels. By using the Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path, the author not only gives us what I consider the best book I've ever read about dealing with the compulsion to overeat, but also a very simple, yet straightforward introduction to Buddhism.There is no secret to losing weight: you eat less and exercise more, but until you understand what is at the root of the compulsion to overeat, you'll never keep the weight off. By applyling the principles of Buddhism, which may be the best model that exists for how a person should live their life, there is hope that by being mindful, the constant yo-yo that is dieting can be eliminated.

3-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat dissapointing as a diet book
Having some basic knowledge about mindfulness and Zen and also knowledge about dieting, I felt like this book was too basic. I can understand the appeal to some people, because of how introductory it is; if you've never been exposed to Zen at all, this is a good introduction. I didn't feel like the book really enlightened me, and reading it didn't change my life and/or my attitudes to food. It's a good idea, to remove yourself from desire, but I think that overeating and bad eating habits are so complicated and ingrained for so many people, that it would be hard to read a short book like this and suddenly be "cured." Obviously, when you are changing your life, there is usually some sort of catalyst, and if this kind of book works for you, great, but I didn't personally find it that useful or revolutionary.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant surprise
The book was much better than I expected. I felt compelled to write the author afterwards and thank her for writing such a book. I've read a ton of books in my lifetime and this is one that stays with you -- the principles can carry over to all aspects of one's life. It's also the kind of book you can pick up on any given day, turn to a page, and find something motivational. After 100's of books and 100's of diets, this was the first that inspired me to write a review.

2-0 out of 5 stars A striking example of "each to their own"......
Not since D. J. Conway have I read a book that so often so missed the mark...clearly some have found it a wonderful source of information and inspiration...I found it a wonder of bafflement, observations presented as "ancient wisdom"..."what you weigh or what you eat cannot provide lasting nourishment because they are always changing." (what you ate is not supposed to last forever) "The Buddha did what you and I have done many times. He went to the opposite extreme. Instead of indulging himself, he deprived himself." (page 6) "Unlike you and me, Buddha did not bounce back and forth between the extremes of indulgnece (overeating) and deprivation (restricted dieting)." (page 7)...It does sound very profound unless you think while you are reading it......really, Buddha did not have an eating disorder, he fasted in the tradition of spiritual aspirants of the age until he decided/realized to try another practice. Better (I think) to read general books on Buddhism and allow the practice to flow naturally into your relationship with food.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and very helpful
It has been a long time since I have savored a book as much as I have been this one. I hope I do not repeat what other positive reviews have said, and if I do, I apologize.

I liked the combination of using real life examples rather than antidotes for showing how people behave and how they can change for the positive, and let go of negative desires. I say negative because as the author wisely notes on page 58 "Letting go doesn't mean annihilating, rejecting feelings, or pretending that you don't have strong feelings". Or on page 62 "Letting go doesn't mean any of these desires disappear. It means that they no longer have control over you". The author notes that we can still like a certain ice cream or treat and enjoy it, but that the treat doesn't have to become an obsession. But more a take it or leave it way of eating. And that once we let go of the habitual desire that food even begins to taste better.

My husband and I grew up in the 40-50's and he remarked that growing up he often was hungry which is why he probably eats "stuff" because he wants to feel full and not wanting. In the late 40's when I was a toddler a sibling often stole food so we could eat. So I to grew up wondering if I would ever not have to worry about food. It has only been since I have been serious about finding out how to let go of the fear-desire issue that my weight started to drop, and I became healthier.

Its also interesting how the author explains how often people drink, smoke, eat wrong because of some issue of fear, be it speaking up when someone says something bad, or when we are faced with a challenge we are afraid of, or because we are afraid of the unknown, like being rejected.

This is a thoughtful and helpful book and one I am so pleased I bought. ... Read more

17. Dropping Ashes on the Buddha: The Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn
by Zen Master Seung Sahn, Stephen Mitchell
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802130526
Catlog: Book (1994-04-01)
Publisher: Grove Press
Sales Rank: 38917
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite modern Zen books
"Dropping Ashes on The Buddha" by Zen Master Seung Sahn is a truly unique gem in the boundless sea of Zen literature. It was one of the first books I read on Zen and it had a huge impact on me when I read it much like "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" did. Like "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" this book is filled to the brim with humor and compassion and wisdom, defying all logic that will truly awaken you. Seung Sahn was the first teacher to bring Korean Zen Buddhism to America and has since founded his own school. The book was compiled and edited by a student named Stephen Mitchell(whose translation of the "Tao Te Ching" I highly recommend.) The book is a collection of lectures, stories, letters, and stories(both modern and old) all by or having to do with Seung Sahn. It was also great to hear some great Zen stories from the Korean tradition and also a little bit about its lineage. Like koans and other Zen stories, this book shows a great account of buddha nature in action that is beyond words and thinking. Seung Sahn helped erase alot of misconceptions I had in my mind about Zen. I highly recommend this book. I am always re-reading certain stories every now and then and still finding them as fresh as the day I first read them.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Zen Book!
I finally read this book in its entirety recently after a year of randomly reading the charming stories and koans comprising the book. I love the simplicity of Seung Sahn's teachings. The love he has for his student (you) truly shines through when reading. However, there are other books I would recommend to the beginner who knows little of Zen before this one -introductory books, otherwise the "methods" of zen teaching are easy misunderstood.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Zen Bible
The first time I read this book I was stunned. I knew, I just knew, that it made sense somehow. But for the life of me, I could not figure out the "leaping logic" of ZMSS. However, I have kept it by my bedside for almost 3 years now, and a couple times a week, I pick it up, open to a story at random and again enjoy the wisdom contained within it. And believe it or not, after a few years of this, I find that the stories all fit together. There is an underlying pattern and method to the zen master's madness. I am getting closer to understanding it all, but then again, there is nothing to attain is there? "The mouse eats cat food but the cat bowl is broken."

5-0 out of 5 stars Help All Beings
Zen Master Seung Sahn is one of the greatest teachers of Zen to have come to the West to date. Many of his Western students are now Zen Masters teaching throughout the world. Kwan Um Zen is a Korean Chogye division of Buddhism, focusing on Kwan Yin (Avalokitesvara) the bodhisattva of compassion, as well as traditional Zen/kong-an practices.

This book is unique in that it is a collection of letters through the years which students and non students have written him with questions and doubts. In it you find humorous and cutting wisdom on virtually any subject you can name. And he keeps coming back to the big question-what is your job? Primary point-what is mind? Sometimes he gets poetic, sometimes very funny, never a dull moment when reading this book! This book is for ANY Zen practioner. Anyone interested in Buddhism in general for that matter. if you want to come a few steps closer to understanding your true self, this book is for you.

Here is a small example of what is in store for you in this book: "One day, Soen-sa (Seung Sahn) asked his students,"What is one plus two?" One student shouted "KATZ!!!(sound of zen stick)"Is this the truth?" "No" "Then what is the truth?" "One plus two equals three." Soen-sa said, "I thought you were a blind dog, but now I see you are a keen eyed lion."-It is tiny antecdotes like these, to long letters between students, and various dharma talks he has given that make this book a winner. Just order it- you will soon see!

5-0 out of 5 stars Reflections on Dropping Ashes on the Buddha
0,1,2,3 -- a-be-ce-dary. With each new day, we learn and grow. Tomorrow I wonder what I will know? New words, new terms? Mere shape and form, hallowed thoughts, which frame the norm. Attachment thinking -- you, I, they. Can the sun come out to play? Sunlight comes and sunlight goes...moonlight washes away sorrows and woes. Blank slates just like before there was thought. The truth is not what we were taught! Why do I seek this clarity? Boddhisatva, come to me. A peasant cries in a faraway land. The clock is ticking. Can you hear the sand? Save all people, set them free. Katz! Why don't you go drink tea. I don't believe you, falling to the floor...why don't you go and study more.

If you'd like to decipher this poem of mine, read the book! ... Read more

18. Everyday Zen: Love & Work
by Charlotte Joko Beck
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060607343
Catlog: Book (1989-03-22)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 32667
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Everyday Zen offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living--love, relationships, fear, ambition, suffering. Beck shows how to live each moment to the fullest. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars Simple, direct, unadorned truth
Joko Beck's thesis is a simple one: That life, just as it is at any moment, is all that it can be and therefore is perfect. Pointing again and again to the troubles we cause ourselves by living life not in the moment, but out of a confused fog of fantasies and "what ifs," Beck challenges us to divest ourselves of our mental defense mechanisms and dare to be OK with life as it is. Yet she is a compassionate teacher, intimately familiar with human weaknesses and struggles, and she extends one hand of comfort even as the other hand pulls the rug out from under our feet. Perhaps the only shortcoming of this book is that it is much more clear about the "deconstructive" aspect of Zen practice than about exploring the ultimate manifestations and benefits of enlightenment. Knowing her aversion to "holding out cookies," however, this absence is understandable.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for people practicing Zen
I read this book after reading "Nothing Special". I like Joko's writing a lot, simple, direct to the points just as Zen should be simple. This book may be hard for people trying to understand Zen only (without practice) or beginners. But to people practicing sitting Zen daily I think it contains a lot of good advices which I can apply into living. I will read and read again both books by Joko. I have read many Zen books and found that this book and "Nothing Special" are among the best for me. Highly recommend both "Everyday Zen" and "Nothing Special".

5-0 out of 5 stars THIS is the one you must read when you begin....
Having read a few of the negative reviews of Beck's original introduction to the Ordinary Mind philosophy and practice, I have to say that I was one who had no previous exposure to zen nor do I have a zen teacher. The clarity of the subjects covered through lecture and teacher-student interaction at the zen hall made it quite understandable to me. Of course I am talking clearly about the text and its absorbility. Now understanding the way of life through zen, THAT is the challenge - not the author's teachablity through this work. Outstanding work by the author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great if you know a little of Zen and Buddhism beforehand.
Back in the early 80's I read a few very scholarly volumes about Zen. They were great at giving a total novice some idea of the formation and history of Zen. They were full of very strict admonishments, you must live very austere existence, live off almost nothing, and be almost perfect before you even begin.

Twenty years on and I am interested again in Zen. This book is such a contrast to those early volumes. It teaches you that none of us are perfect, and each of us needs to move at a suitable pace for where we are now. It might be helpful if before reading this book you have some theoretical knowledge of how Zen came to be and what it's about, but I don't feel that is essential. If you are like me you will have decided you want to know about Zen or wish to begin practicing and you will find someone (a teacher) to help start you on the path, and they will recommend this book to you.

The writer seems to know EXACTLY how I'm feeling and writes in a style that speaks to the inner me, rather than talking to all the perfect people I envisaged would be the only ones to take up Zen practice...i.e. she de-esoteric-orises the subject. She also sounds like she must have experienced the doubts, the hopes, and all the other up's and downs that we all go through.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite zen book
This is simply my favorite zen book, and I have read a few. Granted, if you are a total newcomer to zen, you may experience some frustration. In fact, I did not appreciate this book after my first read. After additional study and reading - especially of Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now - I reread Everday Zen and now I cannot get enough of Charlotte Joko Beck's teaching. Her other book, Nothing Special, is equally beneficial. Her writing is straightforward, but profound. What a treasure she is! ... Read more

19. Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness
by James H. Austin
list price: $32.95
our price: $21.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262511096
Catlog: Book (1999-07-02)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Sales Rank: 27086
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars A huge amount of information...
One hardly knows where to start with Austin's book - with more than 900 pages and hundreds of chapters it is easy to spend months reading this book let alone trying to review it. And months are really required simply to get a grasp of the interrelated themes and ideas that Austin deftly weaves.

In the end I am very impressed with the level of scholarly attention that Austin has managed to mix in with personal observations and what many would term "new age" ideas. He links many aspects of meditation and its effects to observed physiological phenomenon in a style that is on par with what one would find in Scientific American. That is, someone with some biology background from upper high school should be able to grasp Austin's salient points.

Austin also compiles a number of other researchers' information in the book and, in conjunction with his work, finally links many aspects of Zen to other work such as Grof's holotropic studies.

Austin is primarily concerned with the brain in terms of the roles and interactions of the various large-scale structures such as the frontal lobe and brain stem. Most of this work is based on animal studies with some observations from humans who have suffered either selective damage or had special operations. As he states near the beginning, humankind owes the animal kingdom much for all the damage and pain we have caused to learn how complicated we are.

The basic lesson to be learned from the book is simply how incredibly complicated the brain is; for all our studies we only just seem to know enough now to say "wow, this is really complicated".

The book's real weakness lies in the fact that it doesn't comment on the fact that the brain's basic building blocks, neurons, are non-linear "devices" for lack of a better term. I recommend Wilson's "Spikes, Decisions, and Actions : The Dynamical Foundations of Neurosciences" for more information in this regard. This would imply that Prigogine's work on non-equilibrium systems is very applicable to attempting to describe the interactions between the various components of the brain - more evidence for Maturana and Varela to uphold autopoiesis.

Going on a long trip or have several months on your hands? Want to see how complicated that stuff between your ears really is? Read this!

5-0 out of 5 stars An important approach to the science of mind.
James Austin has devoted the majority of his life to the science of the brain, steeped as it is in the empirical disciplines of the Western laboratory, and nearly an equal amount in the strict discipline of Zen meditation, with its mysterious koans and indefatigable pursuit of Eastern-style enlightenment. Now this is a gorge fit for the best Andean rope-bridge makers! I read Zen and the Brain as part of my extensive studies of the neurophysiology of movement, especially related to golf. I believe that recent advances over the last 25 years in brain science offer opportunities to understand the mind-body relationship in much greater depth. So I was reasonably familiar with the neurophysiological and neuropharmcological studies Dr. Austin has lived with and reports on in the book's survey of the relationship between the brain and the experience of Zen meditation. The conclusion one draws from this is that the so-called mysterious stages and cognitive / physiological phenomenon of Zen are truly understandable (to an extent) in terms of Western-style science. That is, explainable, measurable, predictable, reproducible, testable. To an extent. And that goes a long, long way toward bridging the gorge, at least from the West. The really interesting aspect is that Dr. Austin breaks new ground the only way he can without an NSF / NIH research budget sufficient to reach Mars: he uses personal monitoring and introspection to report his inner cognitive and behavioral / physiological experiences and searches the literature critically for possible connections and explanations. Obviously, the conclusions are frequently superbly educated guesses, and this is to be celebrated. Who else is guessing from such an educated base? Thanks, Dr. Austin.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Gift
Einstein told us almost a century ago that "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." If ever there were a 900 page coffee table tome meant to be savored as a paradoxical Minute Book in highly digestible bite size sections as the mood strikes, Zen and the Brain is it. "In this book Zen Buddhism becomes the opening wedge for an extraordinarily wide ranging exploration of consciousness. In order to understand which brain mechanisms produce Zen states, one needs some understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the brain. Austin, both a neurologist and a Zen practitioner, interweaves the most recent brain research with the personal narrative of his Zen experiences. The science is both inclusive and rigorous; the Zen sections are clear and evocative. Along the way, Austin examines such topics as similar states in other disciplines and religions, sleep and dreams, mental illness, consciousness altering drugs, and the social consequences of the advanced stage of ongoing enlightenment." Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly and highly readable
This is a well-written and informative work on the changes that occur in our brains as a result of a long-term commitment to meditation, which can free us from the grip of our neurotic behaviors yet leave our healthy behaviors intact and even enhanced.

I won't repeat the positive comments of other reviewers, but I definitely echo them in recommending this book to anyone on the meditative path who is seeking further information about meditation and its effect on our brains.

If the length of the book seems overwhelming to you, note that the chapters are short and and structured in a very manageable style. This helps greatly in getting through the more difficult material. The book, less the extensive list of referances and source material, is about 700 pages. Like daily meditation, getting through this book requires a commitment of time and mental focus. For me, both endeavors have been well-worth the ongoing time and effort they require.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Model for Future Medicine
I found this to be a very important and informative book, both on the relationship of Zen and the make-up of the brain and central nevous system and the relationship of sensory input to the endocrine system.

It may be a primary roadmap for future healing arts, and a basis of dealing with disease through the psycho-endocrine system.

The author shows in detail the way chemical messengers (hormones) are effected by sensory input, how the brain is wired, and how parts of the brain like the Thalmus acts as a sensory gate, including the fact that the olfactory system bypasses the thalmus and acts directly on the mid-brain and effects these chemical signals.

It has many insights into Zen meditation at the same time. ... Read more

20. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Shambhala Pocket Classics)
list price: $7.00
our price: $6.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570620636
Catlog: Book (1994-11-22)
Publisher: Shambhala
Sales Rank: 33184
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars If there is one book I could keep....
Okay kids, this would probably be my pick for desert island book. I forget exactly how I got this book and read it but I do remember the first time I read the "Zen Stories" section of this book and being tottaly blowned away. I have never laughed so hard and related so much to a story in my life. I read half the book in one sitting and ever since have been practicing and reading about Zen. For months, I carried this book with me everywhere and I read a couple pages atleast twice a day. My copy is ragged and I'll probably have to get a new copy soon. I still am always reading it and lending it to friends. "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" is a collection of famous Zen stories, Mumon's The Gateless Gate(a collection of koans), the famous 10 bulls Zen story & paintings, and a chapter that is called "Centering." The last section is great but doesn't really fit in the Zen Canon(I could be wrong?) The rest however fully express Zen as what it really is and not some philosophy or state you have to achieve but Buddha-nature and enlightment which you already have. If you read one book on Zen, this should be it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I've Owned A Dozen Copies During The Past 30 Years!
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones came into print in the 1950s, when I was a child.

I first discovered it in 1970, when I was a young man. One of my secretaries lent me her copy, and I kept it for myself.

I bought this edition last year, as a middle-aged fart.

I figure I've owned at least a dozen copies over the years. Some have been gifts from friends. Others, I've purchased for myself.

I stole only the first copy, because I didn't want to run up against any karmic Repeat Offender Rule.

It's the kind of book that seems to "walk away". Someone will see you reading Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, and they'll ask to borrow it.

That's the last you'll see of it.


I've read it many times, often in a single sitting.

I still remember the first time I sat down with it, and how it gave me a shimmering look into a world I had known little about--Zen Buddhism. At times, I still get back my "Beginner's Mind" when I re-read one of those Zen stories that I now know almost by heart.

I cannot explain the why of that.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones contains perfect jewels of ancient stories that provide insight about life, about the world. Most of them are a half page in length--perhaps 100 words.

The neat thing about this particular edition is that it's very compact. You can slip into into your pocket, say, when you're going fishing or hiking.

It's inexpensive, too. So you won't be out a lot of money when a friend asks to "borrow" a copy and "forgets" to give it back.

5-0 out of 5 stars Students of Zen-- Here Is a Must Have
This book basically holds within it's frame 4 books. The first three being published first in the 1930's! Talk about a pioneer in the field of Zen writings in the West! My goodness, is this ever a must have on your shelf if you are a practitioner of Zen. I will not say it has been my most desired book on Zen through the years; that would be a flat out lie. But I will say that contained herein are some most interesting koans. Yes koans. These allegories are not just stories your going to sit down and say, "Oh my, now I get what this guy is saying!" Not a chance. If you can, you don't even need this book. I confess to you all, that this book spends most of it's time on the shelf. Now why is that? Because I have to contemplate what was said! It may take some months, or some years in several cases. I hold some of these koans "in secret" when I am supposed to be working on another koan. They can be that vexing!

The first time you read this book, you'll probably go, "Huh?"
You may even wonder, "Why did I buy this?"

But I say to you now, when you are practicing this book is truly a best friend. Is it entertainment? Nope. Certainly not. Can it help you clear up the Great Matter of Life and Death?

Actually -- Yes. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A long-time favorite
Zen or no-zen, the stories in this book are unequaled in their beauty, simplicity, or depth.

(This from someone who has never been a practicioner of Zen Buddhism.)

Not a practical, how-to, this-is-zen kind of book. Unadorned by testimonials and advertisements for this or that school.

4-0 out of 5 stars Small But A Divine Book
This book is a compilation of four books. They are 101 Zen Stories, The Gateless Gate, 10 Bulls, & Centering. If readers are avid readers about Zen, you would have come across some of the stories in 101 Zen Stories. Truth to be told, there is another book offering in cartoon version which conveyed the stories mentioned here & I find them more accessible. At times, after we read the stories, our initial reaction would be huh? It takes time & much persistency, or intervention by unexpected people or incidents that we suddenly get it. Anyhow, by continuously reading those materials that those ideals can be reinforced within our mental state of mind. The Gateless Gate is a rendition of popular koans and again, it's quite difficult to understand especially when you are reading this by yourself. Anyhow, it's wonderful to read. 10 Bulls story is quite self-explanatory about find our source, our original thinking. The last book about Centering is derived from ancient Sanskrit manuscripts of Shiva answering Devi about Centering in 112 ways. Sorry about my ignorance but I reckon it's about sitting & breathing: as it is. Highly recommended. ... Read more

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