When you find out about a book that Library Journal referred to as, “The best history of Zen ever written”, maybe you would be tempted to read it. So did I.
Just for the record, Library Journal is a trade publication, founded in 1876 for librarians, which reports news from the library world and offers feature articles and reviews about aspects of professional practices. Library Journal has the highest circulation of any librarianship journal.
I grabbed the highly recommended book described by Library Journal. Thomas Hoover wrote “The ZEN Experience” in 1980, and because of this “time” aspect, it felt as though I was holding a little manuscript between my hands. The description that I found on the author’s website made me want to start reading it even more.
“Beginning with the twin roots of Zen in Indian Buddhism and Chinese Taoism, we follow it through its initial flowering in China under the First Patriarch Bodhidharma; its division into schools of ‘gradual’ and ‘sudden’ enlightenment, under Shen-hsui and Shen-hui; the ushering in of its golden age by Hui-neng; the development of “shock” enlightenment by Ma-tsu; its poetic greatness in the person of Han-shan; the perfection of the use of the koan by Ta-hui; the migration of Zen to Japan and its extraordinary growth there under a succession of towering Japanese spiritual leaders.
Rich in historical background, vivid in revealing anecdote and memorable quotation, this long-needed work succeeds admirably in taking Zen from the library shelves and restoring its living, human form.”
The author offers the reader the option to download the FREE PDF and Kindle versions. In case that you are interested, here are the links:
In case that your busy life prevents you from having the time to read it now, read the seven quotes that I simply loved.
ZEN Wisdom, everyone should consider
“Since the Zen Masters never run the risk of explaining anything in plain language, their followers must do their own pondering and puzzling – from which the real threshing-out results.”
“The Tao that can be put into words is not the real Tao.”
“Do not choose what is good, nor reject what is evil, but be free from purity and defilement. Then you will realize the emptiness of sin.”
“Those who speak do not know, those who know do not speak.”
“Words can point the way, but the path must be traveled in silence.”
“Intuitive insight surpasses rational analyses. When we act on spontaneous judgement, we are always better off.”
“The truth of Zen has always resided in individual experience rather than in theoretical writings.”