Friday, December 30, 2011
68. Zen For Beginners
Rated 4 Stars
Format: Borrowed Book
This book is a quick, broad and quirky introduction to a complex issue. A friend recommended this book to me and even went so far as to loan me his copy. I like it. It's not particularly something I am prepared at this time of my life to take very seriously, but I do find the book interesting and frankly it has a lot to recommend it.
Zen from its foundation in China of the 6th Century AD, has always been more than a religion. It is an intriguing system of principles and practice designed to give each individual the experience of eternity in a split second, the knowledge of divinity in every living thing. To create a book about Zen, however, is risky. It is one thing to describe the factual history of this exotic strain of Buddhism. It’s quite another to successfully convey the crazy wisdom of the Zen masters, their zany sense of their uncanny ability to pass on the experience of enlightenment to their students. The authors of Zen For Beginners have clearly overcome these considerable risks. The books uses an engaging mix of clear, informative writing and delightful illustrations to document the story of Zen from its impact on Chinese and Japanese culture to its influence on American writers such as Japanese culture to its influence on American writers such as Ginsberg and Kerouac.