Blog Zen and Japanese Culture

Zen and Japanese Culture

Posted March 5, 2019, 7:56 p.m. by T

Advertisement
KFAI - Undead

Zen and Japanese Culture

Princeton University Press

 

Zen and Japanese culture are inextricably linked and this tome on the topic explore how embedded in its original context Zen is much more than what the public would perceive as religion.

It makes for both a delightful and profound read as Zen tackled from a myriad of angles, professions and viewpoints, shedding light on underlying concepts and teaching and thereby ultimately simmering it down to the unity of mind and spirit.

The fact that Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki’s considerate and refreshingly undogmatic writing style is calibrated at the right frequency helps as it tunes in with the flow of the themes that are explored – it’s worth reading if you are in for beautiful literature alone as the chapters on e.g. swordsmanship are beautifully crafted, despite the occasional digression.

Having undergone training as a disciple of Buddhism and having honed his craft via writing hundreds of books on the topic certainly helped as well to refine his approach.

The way Zen’s relationships with haikus, art, nature and regional traditions like e.g. tea ceremonies are explored, tying them to the way of the bushido and Confucianism, which are backed by extra information and references contained within ample footnotes.

For the starter, I’d be hard pressed to recommend another book that is as informative and easy to handle and provides a better introduction to Zen from nothing.

For the initiated luminary, the book might still be a bit light as it overly glamourizes everything remotely connected to Japanese culture and one cannot help but something feel the need to interject that merely being Japanese does not automatically bring enlightenment, a sentiment that seems to accompany most of Suzuki’s train of thoughts.

I am personally more with Robert Pirsig who quipped that the Zen you might find is the Zen you have to work on within yourself, independently from who you are or where you were born.

Leave a comment
Share this content

Other recent blogs

Water of Life – Ester Spirits

Posted by T
May 8, 2021, 2:33 p.m.

Water of Life – Ester Spirits The mushrooming of gin distilleries on terra australis has been thoroughly documented over the last couple of years and while quality as well as ... read more

The Formative Years – Blut + Eisen

Posted by T
May 4, 2021, 8:07 p.m.

The Formative Years – Blut + Eisen   It was in the second half of the seventeenth century that the President of Prussia, i.e. Otto von Bismarck, concluded a speech ... read more

Water of Life – Launceston Distillery

Posted by T
May 3, 2021, 8:52 p.m.

Water of Life – Launceston Distillery   Our coverage of the Tasmanian whiskey landscape have mainly been focussed on Hobart and its surroundings, which could be perceived as one of ... read more

High Adventures in the Great Outdoors – Lonely Pla

Posted by T
May 2, 2021, 11:30 a.m.

High Adventures in the Great Outdoors – Lonely Planet   It has been almost fifty years since Lonely Planet was incepted, following Maureen and Tony Wheeler’s trip across Europe, Asia ... read more

We Have Always Been Minimalist book review

Posted by T
May 1, 2021, 8:06 p.m.

We Have Always Been Minimalist The Construction and Triumph of a Musical Style Christophe Levaux   Minimalism has always intrigued me – specifically in the realm of music. Having emerged ... read more

Advertisement
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.