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Publisher's Summary

No other Eastern religious tradition has influenced Western thought more than Zen Buddhism. This collection contains the luminous essays and lectures of contemporary Zen masters, as well as several personal accounts of the experience of enlightenment. Since 1965, this pioneering classic has had a profound impact on the development of Zen in the West, inspiring countless Westerners to undertake Zen practice.
(P)1995 Audio Literature; ©1965 Roshi Philip Kapleau

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Comments on abridged Audible Version

Would you try another book from Roshi Philip Kapleau and/or Bodhin Kjolhede and Sunya Kjolhede ?

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....

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ulrich
  • munich, NY, USA
  • 08-29-04

authentic, classical, complete!

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! :-)

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Russ
  • Asheville, NC, USA
  • 07-23-04

If you own only one book on Zen...

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Full of Emptiness!

Words can not describe the Fullness of this empty book. The emptiness of Words filled this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Still outstanding after all these years!

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This is it.

I'm overjoyed this book exists. This book helped me see and understand my own personal experiences. I am very grateful. Thank you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • L Kevin
  • San Diego , CA, USA
  • 04-24-09

In the words of Yatsutani Roshi

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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meh.... just three stories of a layman' experience

This was underwhelming. It's just three stories of laymen finding enlightenment. Not very applicable to today or anyone living in the West.

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  • Evan
  • Philadelphia
  • 08-02-17

Best book I've read on meditation

Great book. Awesome performance. Simple advice to follow along to.

The author talks about the experiences of others trying to learn the way of enlightenment and some of their troubles. I liked this because it gave a human element to the story. Also didn't think that any of it was too difficult to understand. Although it gets a bit "woowee" at times, it's easy to follow along and isn't fill with any weird meditation jargon.

Towards the end of the book there is a short Q&A that I found very helpful as a lot of them were the same questions that I was pondering myself.

Cheers!

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A surprise treasure

If you are looking to deepen your meditation practice, I recommend you read or listen to this book. I found it helpful and informative.