Essays in Zen Buddhism

Essays in Zen Buddhism

Essays in Zen Buddhism

Essays in Zen Buddhism

Synopsis

In this collection of his most important essays, Suzuki explores a variety of topics, including the history of Buddhism, the daily life of a Zen monk, and the path to enlightenment. At once a critical explication of the facets of Zen and a meditation on the meaning of existence, Essays in Zen Buddhism is an indispensable document to the student of Eastern religion.

Excerpt

DAISETZ TEITARO SUZUKI, D. LITT., Professor of Buddhist Philosophy in the Otani University, Kyoto, was born in 1869. He is probably now the greatest living authority on Buddhist philosophy, and is certainly the greatest authority on Zen Buddhism. His major works in English on the subject of Buddhism number a dozen or more, and of his works in Japanese as yet unknown to the West there are at least eighteen. He is, moreover, as a chronological bibliography of books on Zen in English clearly shows, the pioneer teacher of the subject outside Japan, for except for Kaiten Nukariya Religion of the Samurai (Luzac and Co., 1913) nothing was known of Zen as a living experience, save to the readers of The Eastern Buddhist (1921-1939) until the publication of Essays in Zen Buddhism (Volume I) in 1927.

Dr. Suzuki writes with authority. Not only has he studied original works in Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese and Japanese, but he has an up-to-date knowledge of Western thought in German and French as well as in the English, which he speaks and writes so fluently. He is, moreover, more than a scholar: he is a Buddhist. Though not a priest of any Buddhist sect, he is honoured in every temple in Japan, for his knowledge of spiritual things, as all who have sat at his feet bear witness, is direct and profound. When he speaks of the higher stages of consciousness he speaks as a man who dwells therein, and the impression he makes on those who enter the fringes of his mind is that of a man who seeks for the intellectual symbols wherewith to describe a state of awareness which lies indeed 'beyond the intellect'.

To those unable to sit at the feet of the Master his writings must be a substitute. All these, however, were out of print in England by 1940, and all remaining stocks in Japan were destroyed in the fire which consumed three . . .

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