No other figure in history has played a bigger part in opening the West to Buddhism than the eminent Zen author, D.T. Suzuki, and in this reissue of his best work readers are given the very heart of Zen teaching. Zen Buddhism, which sold more than 125,000 as an Anchor paperback after its publication in 1956, includes a basic historical background as well as a thorough overview of the techniques for Zen practice. Concepts and terminology such as satori, zazen, and koans, as well as the various elements of this philosophy are all given clear explanations. But while Suzuki takes nothing for granted in the reader's understanding of the fundamentals, he does not give a merely rudimentary overview. Each of the essays included here, particularly those on the unconscious mind and the relation of Zen to Western philosophy, go far beyond other sources for their penetrating insights and timeless wisdom.
What is most important about D.T. Suzuki's work, however--and what comes across so powerfully in these selections--is his unparalleled ability to communicate the experiential aspect of Zen. The intensity here with which Zen philosophy comes to life is without parallel in the canon of Buddhist literature. Suzuki stands apart from all teachers before or since because of his exceptional ability to eloquently capture in words the seemingly inexpressible essence of Zen.
About the Author
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki was Japan's foremost authority on Zen Buddhism, and the author of over 100 works on the subject. He was trained as a Buddhist disciple in the great Zen monastery at Kamakura. From 1897 to 1908 he worked in the United States as an editor and translator, and later became a lecturer at Tokyo Imperial University. In 1950, at 80, he returned to the United States and spent most of the decade teaching, lecturing, and writing, particularly at Columbia and Harvard. Returning to Japan, he died in Tokyo in 1966 at the age of 95.
Christopher Reed has been teaching Buddhism and Buddhist meditation for 15 years. He received transmission as a Dharma teacher from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. He has been influenced by the tradition of socially/politically engaged Buddhism, and works toward the integration of traditional Buddhist teaching with the demands of everyday life. He is co-founder and director of the Ordinary Dharma Meditation Center in Los Angeles and the Manzanita Village Retreat Center in San Diego.
D. T. SUZUKI (1869-1966), born and educated in Japan, was the chief emissary of Zen in the West. In addition to lecturing extensively throughout the world, he held teaching positions in Japan and at Columbia University.
WILLIAM BARRETT is a distinguished philosopher and teacher, and was instrumental in introducing existentialism to America. He is the author of "The Death of the Soul" and "Irrational Man," He lives in Westchester County, New York.