Read books The Zen ExperienceAuthor Thomas Hoover –

The book is a rich resource of Zen history, following the lived of every major Zen master.The pure chronologic approach makes the book at parts a bit dry Life data of monks are often left uncommented, even if they seem fairly unlikely.Where the book has its strength is definitely in the well chosen quotes.Overall the book provides a great base for everyone interested in Zen and Buddhism in general. It flows well I ve learnt a lot about the history of Zen Very good book Popular Books, The Zen Experience Author Thomas Hoover This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book The Zen Experience, Essay By Thomas Hoover Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You An interesting linear history of zen from its Taoist roots in China to Buddhism in Japan A lot entertaining than I thought it would be Heavy on names and dates so I m thankful for Wikipedia it is worth reading up further on some of the historical figures and religious nomenclature What really stands out for me is how much humor is involved in zen study there are historical anecdotes about the trials tribulations of zen masters throughout that frankly read like Monty Python sketches Buddhism is not just about dissolution of self through meditation and lifelong study it s about mastering some kind of higher level irreverence where sarcasm and wit appear to be essential skills in perceiving all things in the abstract rather then their immutable, physical manifestations It s hard to know if the original masters even took themselves seriously perhaps that is the central riddle to be solved. I read this fee Kindle book which I assume is very similar to this hard cover book This is an excellent resource book which chronicles Zen in Indian Buddhism and Chinese Taoism through its development in China and migration to Japan The book includes the biography of several Chinese and Japanese Masters who helped to shape Zen Although this is a very detailed and informative book, it is somewhat dry and difficult to get through Also, the book gets very little into the mechanics of Zen and the living of a Zen life However, for all those readers interested in Eastern Philosophy, this is an excellent resource book that can be referred to again and again and is indispensable to have in one s library. An introductory book about one of the world s great religions and, with all such works, it s all a little breathless and without narrative character But if, like me, you don t really know anything about Zen than you picked up from the Beat writers, the read is well worth it Hoover starts with a very brief history outlining the major Buddhist and Taorist influences on Zen, from Buddha himself, onto Lao Tzu through to Tao Sheng and Chuang Tzu Bear in mind that the Buddha lived back in the 6th century BC.Of all the initial accredited Zen Masters, or patriarchs, those who took Buddhism to China and first redefined it, the Indian monk Bodhidharma who came to China around 520AD and established the idea of pi kuan, orwall gazing , was the first He had a disciple, Hui k o, who was said to have lopped his own arm off in order to get his master s attention.The early years of China s adoption of Buddhism, and eventual metamorphosis into the Ch an, was based around theconflict between the teachings of gradual enlightenment and sudden enlightenment, between intellectual and intuitive knowledge geographically a conflict between the North and the South.Ma tsu was the first master to administer shocks and blows in order to bring about enlightenment, Huai hai founded the first wholly Ch an monastery and Nan ch uan with his pupil Chao chou, who both introduced irreverence as a form of teachingA monk asked, Since all things return to One, where does this One return to When I was in Tsing chou, I had a robe made which weighed seven pounds replied the Master The Ch an flourished for three centuries in China, but then it lost support, caught up in the political struggles of the day As with so many religions, it took its strongest hold as an export, in neighboring China The two countries had closed their borders to each of for about three hundred years between the 9th 12 century AD When they opened again, ideas migrated.Lin chi was the founder of Rinzai Zen, which was later studied by the warrior ruling class of Japan, the Samurai Ta hui 1089 1163 perfected the koan problems cases technique, where seemingly nonsensical stories or conversations were used to illicit an intuitive response from the pupil, testing their innate understanding ofdharmatruth.Master Dogen journeyed around China until he found a master teaching old style meditation, then he returned the Japan, becoming the father of Soto Zen, the quieter way, which predominates amongst the general population to this day.Master Hakuin perfected the koan as the best way to enlightenment through successivesatoriHe taught that Zen can be practiced in every day life, originating the famous koanWhat is the sound of one hand clapping That s a sound worth hearing.If you can. Less than five stars is ridiculousThis is a competent overview of the history and evolution of zen teaching and practice And it s free, no catch Rate this less than five stars, and you may want to ask yourself if you re just being a contrary snob.Before you purchase this book, or any book, you should read the description and maybe read the sample You ll find that this is not a self help book This is ideally for people interested in zen and love history, but may not be well versed in zen itself A general knowledge of Buddhism is recommended which could be obtained in about 10 minutes. Sadly, I had to stop or less in the middle of the book There is simply a limit to what one can read about guys shouting and beating each other with sticks Over and over again To be honest, I tried to follow through the maze of the similar sounding names, but I couldn t really see a difference I get it that it is a historical approach to Zen, but it surely could have been done in a interesting way. Words can point the way but the path must be travelled in silence Hoover takes a very chronological approach, illustrating the gradual dawn of Zen Buddhism by plodding through the teachings of the ancient masters Each master added to what would later become the modern version of Zen Buddhism that puts a lot of emphasis on the intuitive, non verbal understanding that ultimately leads to sudden enlightenment Enlightenment isn t something that can be achieved by reading sutras and chanting mantras All anybody can do is try to make their mind as susceptible to sudden enlightenment as possible The traditional practices neither help nor hinder finding the way, since they are unrelated to the final flash of sudden enlightenment which is in your mind from the beginning, ready to be released This can only be done by exterminating the shackles of rationality and cognition that constrain our mind and instead embrace the insight that resides beyond these artificial construction Ironically, there isn t much to be learned from the actual teachings of the old Zen masters since All that was worth handing on died with them the rest they put in books I confess, I would have preferred a little less history and a bit philosophy in this book Even though I tried to pay close attention, I can t remember any of the names of the important teachers the book so meticulously examined, nor the dates or places The book is very readable and concise but, given the nature of the subject it explores, I would have expected it to be a little pensive I enjoyed the bits where the author discussed the elusive Zen concepts, such as no thought and oneness immensely while the recapitulations of the various escapades that the ancient Zen masters stirred up felt a bit constrained, even tedious, at times.Don t get me wrong, the mini biographies of these individuals were most entertaining The life of a Buddhist monk serving under a master was a lot less formal than I would have imagined from 8th century China To demonstrate their point of implicit understanding, the masters could do all kinds of crazy things, such as shout, act dog or hit the students with a stick Apparently, when caught off guard, the mind enters a nonplussed state that is most susceptible to sudden enlightenment These violent practices were rendered obsolete later on as one of the most revolutionary Zen masters developed a method of asking his students paradoxical questions i.e What s the sound of one hand clapping or giving a completely nonsensical answer to a reasonable question i.e If I were to ask you what day it is, you would say Donuts This served the same purpose of facilitating the transition between the rational mind and intuition This is a decent book for those who are semi interested in understanding Zen Buddhism and its origins For those who are looking for a thorough account of either its history or its teachings should keep looking, however In short, a good introduction for further study. An enlightening history of particular ideas and practices migrating from India to China, then later retrieved by Japan, to form what we now know as Zen Buddhism Particularly amusing were the Ch an masters who taught by spontaneous yells or beating monks with a stick Other favorite parts included the origins of koans.