Zen Pathways: An Introduction to the Philosophy and Practice of Zen Buddhism

New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press (2021)
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Abstract

This book, the first of its kind, offers a comprehensive introduction to the philosophy and practice of Zen Buddhism. It is written by an academic philosopher who, for more than a dozen years, practiced Zen in Japan while studying in universities with contemporary heirs of the Kyoto School. The book lucidly explicates the philosophical implications of Zen teachings and kōans, and critically compares Zen with other Asian as well as Western religions and philosophies. It carefully explains the original context and sense of traditional Zen teachings and practices, and compellingly applies them to our twenty-first century lives. In addition to explaining the practice of Zen meditation, its twenty-four chapters treat perennial philosophical topics such as the self, nature, art, morality, language, peace, and death, as well as basic Buddhist teachings such as the four noble truths, the middle way, the no-self and true self doctrines, karma, mind and no-mind, rebirth, Nirvana, and the various meanings of the term “Buddha.” The chapters frequently engage Zen in interreligious dialogue with Christianity and with other religions and schools of Buddhism. The Zen inspired modern philosophies of the Kyoto School are introduced in one chapter and frequently referenced throughout the book. The concluding chapter reviews the entire path of Zen practice and enlightenment with an in-depth commentary on the beloved Zen classic, The Ten Oxherding Pictures. The book can be read in its entirety as a coherently organized introduction to the philosophy and practice of Zen, or chapters can be read independently according to the reader’s specific interests. While based on decades of scholarly study as well as practice and teaching, it is written in an accessible and engaging style. It is designed to be read by college students and lifelong learners as well as scholars and practitioners of the world’s great philosophical and spiritual traditions.

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Bret W. Davis
Loyola University Maryland

Citations of this work

The kyoto school.Bret W. Davis - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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