The Book of Zen
by Eric Chaline
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At first glance, Zen seems to be little more than a web of mystification and contradictions. We think, for instance, of Zen's famous koan, or saying, that presents the image of "one hand clapping". However, a deeper look into the Zen form of Buddhism shows even skeptical critics a rich path toward spiritual enlightenment and personal serenity. The Book of Zen offers a history and overview of Zen, as well as an introduction to its method and ideas. The author describes Buddhism's introduction to Japan, where the Zen form of Buddhism came into full flower. He also discusses Zen's main forms of expression--for instance, in Japanese calligraphy and pictorial art forms; in haiku poetry; in chanoyu or the tea ceremony; in ikebana or flower arrangement; and in the martial arts. Readers will also find an account of how Zen came to the West, first in the nineteenth century, then made a lasting impact on American and European culture in the mid-twentieth century. The volume concludes with advice on ways in which readers can incorporate Zen into their lives. This enlightening and enjoyable book is enhanced with more than 200 illustrations, most of them in color.
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