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.
Prime Movers: From Pericles to Gandhi Simon and Schuster Needless to say that each of us would have a list of what we would deem to be influential thinkers. ... read more
Water of Life – The Canberra Distillery Again, despite being the capital of Australia, I have never felt the urge to visit – that has recently changed as more ... read more
Water of Life – Underground Spirits Canberra There are busier and more happening cities than what has been chosen to become the capital of terra australis. Canberra is certainly ... read more
Water of Life Launch of Highlander Whisky Bar and Bunnahabhain My first and long overdue encounter with Bunnahabhain was at the recent opening of the Highlander Whisky Bar at the Sir ... read more
Water of Life – ArteNOM Now, if you care for Tequila a tad more than shooting it, there are worlds to discover once you delve beyond the mainstream offerings that ... read more
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.