ANTHOLOGY OF ZEN by William A.-Ed. Briggs


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This is a selection of representative works on Zen Buddhism bringing together a variety of points of view about a very specialized area. The writers are philosophers, psychologists and religionists, both Easterners and Westerners. The longest section is, in various ways, an exegesis of the tenets of Zen Buddhism, its basis, the attitudes involved in its daily practice, its unusual pedagogy, its ceremonies, myths, and its achievements. But over and over again the writers insist that, like all mystical experience, the content of the Zen experience is ineffable. Attempts may be made to describe it but it can never be explained and even an effort to explain it is in itself a perversion of Zen's fundamental insistence: that experience and life are primary while cult, theory and learning are very secondary. Many of the essays are devoted to tracing Zen's historical development -- as a school of Buddhism whose foremost saint is Bodhidharma and whose followers are practical mystics. Other sections of the anthology are devoted to the appeal of Zen in the West and the practices of Zen meditation. As an introduction to a generally misunderstood subject the book is an enlightenment; it also performs a valuable service in bringing together widely scattered material.

Publisher: Grove