The Method Of Zen

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Author: Eugen Herrigel
Translated: R.F.C. Hull
Pub: 1960 by Pantheon Books, 1974 by Random House
Pages: 125
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After Eugen Herrigel wrote and published his first book, Zen and the Art of Archery, and died in 1955; he left alot of written notes about his training in Zen and Archery. These were collected, edited and revised by Alan Watts, Hermann Tausend, and others; and published as this book. If you enjoyed his first book, this will be of interest as well.


 

                 Contents

 Introductory: The Way to Zen Buddhism            11
 Zen and the Classic Methods of Meditation        14
 Zen Contrasted with European Mysticism           18
 Zen as It Appears to Western Eyes                23
 Training in Zen Buddhist Monasteries             30
 Breathing Exercises                              37
 The Koan                                         39
 Satori                                           44
 Further Koan Meditations                         55
 How the Master Sees Whether the Pupil Has Satori 56
 Remarks on Japanese Acting                       62
 Transformation of the Pupil by Satori            66
 Zen Painting                                     68
 Satori in Poetry                                 75
 Speculation on the Basis of Satori               76
 The Role of Thought in Zen                       79
 Zen in Practical Life                            81
 Zen Priests                                      85
 The Center of Being                              97
 Man's Fall and Fulfillment                      100
 Higher Stages of Meditation                     101
 Enlightenment, Rebirth,  Buddha Nature          116
 Communication with the Whole  of Being          118
 The Art of Compassion                           123

 

INTRODUCTORY

The Way to Zen Buddhism

Soon after I arrived in Japan, a meeting took place with some Japanese colleagues in Tokyo. We were having tea together in a restaurant on the fifth floor of a hotel.

Suddenly a low rumbling was heard, and we felt a gentle heaving under our feet. The swaying and creaking, and the crash of objects, became more and more pronounced. Alarm and excitement mounted. The numerous guests, Europeans mostly, rushed out into the corridor to the stairs and elevators. An earthquake - and a terrible earthquake a few years before was still fresh in everyone's memory. I too had jumped up in order to get out into the open. I wanted to tell the colleague with whom I had been talking to hurry up, when I noticed to my astonishment that he was sitting there unmoved, hands folded, eyes nearly closed, as though none of it concerned him. Not like someone who hangs hack irresolutely, or who has not made up his mind, but like someone who, without fuss, was doing something - or not-doing something - perfectly naturally. The sight of him was so astounding and had such a sobering effect that I remained standing beside him, then sat down and stared at him fixedly, without even asking myself what it could mean and whether it was advisable to remain. I was spell-bound - I don't know by what - as though nothing could happen to me. When the earthquake was over -- it was said to have lasted a fairly long time - he continued the conversation at the exact point where he had broken off, without wasting a single word on what had happened. For my part I was quite unable to pay attention, and probably gave stupid answers. With the terror still chilling my limbs, I asked myself rather: What prevented me from running away? Why did I not follow an instinctive impulse? I found no satisfactory answer.

A few days later I learned that this Japanese colleague was a Zen Buddhist, and I gathered that he must have put himself into a state of extreme concentration and thus become "unassailable."

Although I had read about Zen before, and heard a few things about it, I had only the vaguest idea of the subject. The hope of penetrating into Zen- which had made my decision to go to Japan very much easier - changed, as a result of this dramatic experience, into the intention to start without further delay. I was more concerned with the mysticism of Zen, with the way that led beyond the "unassailability." It was not my colleague's imperturbable behavior - impressive as it was - that hovered before me as a goal, for there are other methods of attaining this without having to go to Japan.

In the meantime I was informed that it was not so easy to penetrate more deeply into Zen, because Zen had no theory and no dogma. I was advised to turn to one of the arts which were most strongly influenced by Zen, and thus to make contact with it by a slow and roundabout route. This advice l followed. In my book Zen in the Art of Archery I have given an account of this course of instruction.

 

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