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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Taking the Path of Zen by Robert Aitken

I just finished this book, and it's excellent. Aitken definitely has a gift for explaining things in a clear manner. I agreed with this Amazon review:
This is a Zen book for the beginning Zen practitioner, by which I mean someone who has already decided to try zazen meditation practice and may have been practicing for a few weeks or months. . . . [A]s one who had finally tired of reading cookbooks and hungered for the meal, this book pointed me in the right direction (or, at least, ONE right direction) and helps me actually "cook," so to speak.
I also found this quote from the section on Zen and Ethics very interesting:
Perfection of character comes with the realization of a pure mind, but as Hui-neng said, with an ordinary thought you are (again) an ordinary person. Practice in daily life is the same as practice on your cushions: check your ordinary thoughts of greed, hatred, and ignorance and return to your original, pure mind. Like Zen study generally, character change is a lifetime work. And to return to Yamada Roshi's words, Zen study is character change.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can highly recommend every single thing Robert Aitken has ever written. Definitely read The Practice of Perfection and Original Dwelling Place, but really, they're all great. He's one of the very best.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Infernon said...

I actually just started to read through this the other day. I've only gotten through two chapters, but I've actually reread the first chapter a couple of times.
I've read a ton of books on Zen. While all were good, I can tell that there's something a bit different about this one.

2:22 PM  
Blogger M said...

Aitken really does have a gift for making it all seem simple. When I read, "check your ordinary thoughts of greed, hatred, and ignorance and return to your original, pure mind." I had two thoughts. One, what an odd way to phrase that (Check . . . of). Two, what a perfect way of expressing that. Kapleau is another writer I found easy to connect with.

8:13 AM  

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