(P)1995 Audio Literature; ©1965 Roshi Philip Kapleau
If you are looking for an intellectual understanding of Zen and Zen practice from a non-practitioner point-of-view the abridged version captures the bare essence of the book. It is also good for a brief focused review of major concepts for a practitioner. However, if you are looking for detailed suggestions/ practce exercizes as a student of Zen, I find the unabridged version has a lot more detail that is helpful for practice. I would look forward to an audible unabridged version....
this is a "must read" for anybody interested in the "real zen" beyond the new-age-books. excellent examples including two longer stories of personal transformation. clear concise language, wonderful voice. download it now! :-)
American Zen lost a great pioneer with the passing of Roshi Phillip Kapleau in 2004. His contributions to Zen in the West (the title of yet another of his works) cannot be overstated.
Three Pillars of Zen contains lectures by Roshi Kapleau's teacher, Yasutani Roshi, as well as examples of the powerful interviews between student and teacher that form the backbone of Zen training.
There are also helpful tips on meditation techniques and posture. Even though I have been practicing for twenty years, I still find these suggestions invaluable.
Just one example of the power of this book: A group of Polish students bought and shared this book in the 1960's, and established a Zen sitting group. That group then became large enough to entice Roshi Kapleau himself to travel to Poland to lead meditation retreats. Sunya Kjolhede, one of the narrators of the book, continues to travel to Poland to work with the group.
Both narrators, Sunya sensei and her brother Bodhin Kjolhede sensei, are sanctioned teachers of Roshi Kapleau. Bodhin sensei has taken over as abbot of Roshi Kapleau's center in Rochester, NY. Sunya sensei, along with her husband, Lawson Sachter sensei, head the Windhorse Zen Community near Asheville, NC.
In my youth I read this book over and over again. Now in my fifty' I'll be listening to it over and over again! Great fun to have this old friend keep me company on my commute and on my household chores and projects.
The book is excellent and the audio version captures the dialog between student and teacher very well. Listener's get the chance to hear the words of Yasutani Roshi (reenacted), as he guided several different students during private interviews (dokuson). The listening experience is palpable. I highly recommend both the book and audio version to anyone interested in the learning important subtleties of zen practice.
I should have read reviews. it's got cheesy funeral home music in between chapters. a very basic book. if you're a standard Christian and a beginner sek we r of pirlose, it's not bad. I'd you're an advanced learnee, Christian or otherwise, keep looking.
This is 3 hours of my life I'll never get back. I thought this book would guide me to the path of enlightenment . . . but, alas, it was 3 hours of whining about "When will I obtain mu?", meditating in freezing cold, and being whacked on the back with sticks by zen monks. If you are searching for enlightenment try this: sit or recline in a comfortable position, relax, clear your mind, and breath deeply. YOU DON'T NEED TO LISTEN TO THIS BOOK TO DO THAT. The harder you try to find enlightenment, the longer it will take to achieve.
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