Some time ago, Thomas Merton became interested in Zen; and some time ago, Thomas Merton stopped writing books. The present publication combines those two facts into one tangible result, yelept Zen and the Birds of Appetite, which is a collection of previously published pieces from the Merton scrapbook on various aspects of Zen. Zen is essentially an experience rather than a philosophy, and Merton approaches that experience here through the medium of Japanese philosophy and Japanese art, as well as by analysis of the classic masters of Zen. The total message is that a Westerner can hardly expect to understand Zen, but he should study it because there is something of Zen in every creative human act--which is very like saying that there is something human in every human act. A very minor bit of Mertoniana, illustrating perhaps what the Chinese Zen masters called wu-wei (""non-action"") of a talented author.