20 Apr 2011 Leave a comment
I know these things can be boring. I know no one likes to read them.
As I paid for this book, there's no real obligation for me even to do a book review, right??
Never-the-less this book deserves better than I can give it.
James Ishmael Ford said of it: If you read one book on Zen this year, this should be that book.
Keep in mind that the good Reverend Ford has his own books to promote.
It's hard to encapsulate Uchiyama Roshi's book. It's a manual for Zen practice.
It explains his rather unique viewpoint without straying from Dogenist party line, as it were. I like his description of the Zen path as a balance between Vow and Repentance.
Uchiyama believed in Zazen being the core of Practice. It's the most important thing you can do. This is straight up Dogen Zenji. The thing is I'm told that most of Soto Shu even today, thirty years later doesn't care too much about Zazen. At least in Japan. Here in the USA it's all about the sitting.
I think if Uchiyama Roshi were alive today he would like to see how much emphasis is put on Zazen in the West.
In short, read this book if:
You're interested in Zen.
You're not interested in Zen.
You like simple explanations for hard to grasp concepts.
You're into tautophrases. (I wrote a whole post about this)
Seriously, check it out. Then read Realizing Genjokoan.
But before you do I just want to say how much I like Wisdom Publications for bringing this and tons of other stuff back into print. Thanks, guys!