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The Way of Zen [Format Kindle]

Alan W. Watts
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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After D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts stands as the godfather of Zen in America. Often taken to task for inspiring the flimsy spontaneity of Beat Zen, Watts had an undeniably keen understanding of his subject. Nowhere is this more evident than in his 1957 classic The Way of Zen, which has been reissued. Watts takes the reader back to the philosophical foundations of Zen in the conceptual world of Hinduism, follows Buddhism's course through the development of the early Mahayana school, the birth of Zen from Buddhism's marriage with Chinese Taoism, and on to Zen's unique expression in Japanese art and life. As a Westerner, Watts anticipates the stumbling blocks encountered with such concepts as emptiness and no-mind, then illustrates with flawlessly apt examples. Many popular books have been written on Zen since Watts' time, but few have been able to muster the rare combination of erudition and clarity that have kept The Way of Zen in readers' hands decade after decade. --Brian Bruya

From AudioFile

A well-respected interpreter and historian of Zen thought, who lived from 1915 to 1973, is captured here in the form of voice recordings of his lectures, as well as selections from his 1957 book, read by Ralph Blum. This is a satisfying audio lesson on Zen, which Watts says is a way of life fundamentally different from any religion or science and that has a rich history of thinking regarding the question of individual being in relation to the world. The combination of didactic abstracts from the master's writing and snippets of his voice (primitively recorded but compelling) will captivate listeners with all levels of interest in this way of life. T.W. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent !! 16 juillet 2010
Ce livre résume toute l'histoire du zen, en partant du bouddhisme Mahayana, en passant par la Chine et les patriarches, dans leur façon d'avoir contribué au développement de cette forme particulière de bouddhisme. L'étude passe par la littérature et les arts pour montrer l'utilisation et la mise en pratique du zen dans la vie de tous les jours.

A noter : de très intéressantes ré-interprétations de textes bouddhistes, mis à la lumière du zen, qui ont autant de sens voire même plus que dans les façons dont ils sont parfois présentés. Un must pour découvrir le Zen, ou pour vous donner simplement un autre regard sur la façon de mener votre vie, avec naturel et spontanéité.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  152 commentaires
132 internautes sur 136 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Still The Best 31 décembre 2005
Par Joseph P. Reel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Receiving my first copy of The Way of Zen in 1959 set me on the path of exploring both the literature and the practices of Eastern traditions for the next 47 years. My original copy became so well-worn that I recently had to relegate it to archive status and purchase a new working copy. All these years later, this title still remains for me the classic work for Western understanding of Buddhism.

I am amazed at the proliferation of books on the subject to be currently found on Amazon.com. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be a daunting challenge. Many interpretations of the Dharma, especially by Western authors, often seem to be tainted by naive New Age idealism on the one hand, or dry pedantry on the other. Although Watts was academically disciplined, reading the text with appropriate reflection can be simultaneously an intellectual and experiential endeavor (although not in the "how-to" sense). Watts wisely points out, with ample historical support from past Zen masters, that while so-called techniques for enlightenment may serve as transitional supports along the path, they ultimately lead to dead ends.

The Way of Zen, despite some rather petty criticisms by pedants and literalists over the years, has survived as one of the most lucid expositions of Zen specifically and Buddhism in general. Highly recommended...still.
128 internautes sur 140 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Worth a couple dozen other books on Zen Buddhism 19 décembre 2001
Par Dennis Littrell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This can be seen as a significant book in the transmission of the dharma to the Western world, even though, or perhaps especially because, it is written by a Westerner. Consistently admired since its first publication in 1957, and reprinted many times, The Way of Zen is that rarest of books, a popular and academic success. You will not read far before seeing why. Watts's style is reasoned and reasonable, clear and authoritative, but without a hint of affectation. Watts knows what he is talking about and to whom he is speaking. Because of his perspective between two worlds, he is, more than almost any other writer on Zen, able to match the ideas of the East to the mind of the West, and in doing so make the broader outlines of Zen as clear as the polished, dustless mirror.

The book is divided into two parts, "Background and History" and Principles and Practice," each with four chapters. There is a bibliography also divided into two parts, the first referring to original sources and second to general works on Zen in European languages. There are 16 pages of Chinese Notes in calligraphy keyed to the text, and an Index.

"The Way" in the title refers to the "watercourse way" from Taoism, a philosophy to which Zen owes much, as Watts makes clear in the first two chapters, "The Philosophy of the Tao" and "The Origins of Buddhism." The first chapter is one of the best on Taoism that I have ever read, replete with insight and wisdom. Throughout, Watts expresses himself in an infectious style, even in the very scholarly chapters on the history of Buddhism where he traces Zen from its origin in India, through the Buddha under the Po tree, to Ch'an in China, and finally into Japan. Parallels between the unforced, natural way of Taoism and the spontaneity of Zen Buddhism are explored in a most convincing and engaging manner. Along the way we learn a little about Hinduism and Confucianism.

The chapters on the principles and practices of Zen, comprising a goodly portion of the book are nothing short of marvelous, full of wit and sly observations, revealing Watts's thorough knowledge of Zen and his deep appreciation. Here are some examples of Watts at work:

Referring obliquely to the rise of communism (a word he never uses in the book) he writes, "When the throne of the Absolute is left vacant, the relative usurps it..." (p. 11) Perhaps Watts is also indicating why he believes that humanism is not a complete answer.

On the cosmology of the Tao: "...the natural universe works mainly according to the principles of growth...If the universe were made, there would of course be someone who knows <how> it is made..." He adds, "...the Tao does not <know> how it produces the universe..." (pp. 16-17)

"Since opposed principles, or ideologies, are irreconcilable, wars fought over principle will be wars of mutual annihilation. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture." (pp. 29-30)

"Hindu philosophy has not made the mistake of imagining that one can make an informative, factual, and positive statement about the ultimate reality." (p, 34)

"Buddhism has frequently compared the course of time to the apparent motion of a wave, wherein the actual water only moves up and down, creating the illusion of a of water moving over the surface. It is a similar illusion that there is a constant <self> moving through successive experiences, constituting a link between them in such a way that the youth becomes the man who becomes the graybeard who becomes the corpse." (p. 123)

In his exploration of koans used by the Rinzai School of Zen, it becomes clear that one of the purposes of the koan is to put doubt into the mind of the young aspirant that he knows anything at all. From that redoubtable position, real learning can begin. I was reminded of a saying attributed to baseball's Earl Weaver, the very successful manager of the Baltimore Orioles in their glory years: "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

Here is a story from the Ch'uan Teng Lu, told by Watts about "a fascinating encounter between Tao-hsin and the sage Fa-yung, who lived in a lonely temple on Mount Niu-t'ou, and was so holy that the birds used to bring him offerings of flowers. As the two men were talking, a wild animal roared close by, and Tao-hsin jumped. Fa-yung commented, --referring, of course, to the instinctive (klesa) of fright. Shortly afterwards, while he was for a moment unobserved, Tao-hsin wrote the Chinese character for on the rock where Fa-yung was accustomed to sit. When Fa-yung returned to sit down again, he saw the sacred name and hesitated to sit. said Tao-hsin, At this remark Fa-yung was fully awakened...and the birds never brought any more flowers." (pp. 89-90).

While this is an excellent introduction to Zen--and more--for the educated person, it is especially a delight for those of you who have already read a few books on Zen. There is no other book that I know of that goes as deeply into Zen as agreeably as does The Way of Zen.

--Dennis Littrell, author of "Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)"
72 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 great history, great philosophy for serious students of Zen 12 juin 1999
Par antonsen@xmission.com - Publié sur Amazon.com
Generally speaking, Watts doesn't appeal to new-age crystal fairies, channelers, and so forth, and if you prefer your Zen texts all poetical and mysterious, then this book isn't for you; but if you want a treatment of Zen as an important, credible and viable philosophical tradition, then you'll like this book. It's not an easy read, but this is good, solid, hardheaded Watts.
44 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Way of Zen is an excellent introduction to Zen Buddhism. 6 décembre 1996
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Scan the "Eastern Philosophy" racks at your local bookstore
and you'll see the problem--books with titles like "The Tao
of Love and Relationships" or "The Zen of Career
Advancement." Much of the literature on eastern philosophy
written by westerners is distorted as it is re-focused
through the prism ("prison," some would argue) of western
thought and language.

Alan Watts appreciates and addresses these difficulties in
The Way of Zen, an excellent introduction to the Zen
Buddhism. Watts explores Zen's historical background,
tracing it from Buddhism's migration from India to China,
where it absorbed elements of Confucian and Taoist thought,
to its final development in Japan. The second half of the
book describes Zen's underlying principles and its
practices, such as the absence of "self" and the futility
of purpose.

Rich in scholarly detail, yet accessible to the lay reader,
The Way of Zen, is remarkable in its lucidity. Watts uses
analogies and allusions culled from daily life to
illustrate Zen principles and does much to clear up western
misconceptions about Zen thought. He also warns of the
difficulties many westerners face trying to understand Zen.
With the English language's clear separation between the
observer and the observed, the action and the actor and its
rigid division of time into past, present and future, Zen
thought often strikes westerners as mystical or moronic.

While Watts may champion Zen, he never stoops to mere
cheer-leading. Instead he has produced a highly readable
book that explains and de-mystifies Zen.
23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 fascinating 14 février 2003
Par jason hands - Publié sur Amazon.com
I usually prefer to download lectures by Alan watts rather than read his books, some of
which seemed to just ramble along. I am not really good at critiques, but I really enjoyed
this book. Easy to read. Some concepts are so foreign to my common sense way of
thinking that it sort of turns my thinking inside-out. The idea makes sense. I cannot find
fault with it. But regrettably, my mind snaps back to its usual way of thinking.
For example: We tend to think of our self as an independent being inside of a separate
world. But actually there exists no separate being or outside world. The two are opposite
ends of a spectrum and reality exists only between the two ends. Sort of seems to be the
main point. That who you think you are is a mental construction, sort of a caricature of
itself. your true self is the entire world. One of my favorite sayings is "everywhere is the
center." Everywhere is everything. you are everything. I am everything and so is my
computer. Our minds create symbols to stand for parts of the world and then we start to
think that the world is made of parts. It seems that liberation comes from dying to your
sense of self. from ceasing trying to grasp at life as though it were something "other" that
could be grasped.
I can remember some magical times in my life when instead of me acting in the world, I
let the world take me by the hand and everything just clicked. I find these things
fascinating, but for some reason impossible to share.
There are some Zen stories which I can't seem to make any sense of, and I dunno, maybe
the point is to watch your mind try to make sense of it. I really am running off at the
mouth now. Oh well. Have you ever been in pain and then stopped to think, am I really
feeling constant pain IN THIS MOMENT? And no, you weren't in this particular
moment. It was an idea that you were carrying along perhaps from one moment of pain to
another. in Zen liberation also means liberation from the idea that there exists some
constant unchanging self that some how is carried from one moment to the next to affect
or be affected by the world. There really is no cause and effect. One just follows the other
like spring following winter. And the burning log does not BECOME the ashes, because
like the previous example there is no "stuff" which was the wood and then is the ashes.
First there is wood and then there are ashes.
I guess zen is a method to get you to stop dreaming and wake up.
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