AWAKENING TO ZEN: The Teachings of Roshi Philip Kapleau

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9780684829739: AWAKENING TO ZEN: The Teachings of Roshi Philip Kapleau

Relating the principles of Zen Buddhism into everyday American life, the author addresses such common concerns as sex, power, health, personal fulfillment, and death and dying

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Review:

You could call him the first patriarch of Zen in America, and American he is. The beauty of Awakening to Zen is Philip Kapleau's attention to the concerns of a Western seeker. Using examples as diverse as Vladimir Horowitz, the Rocky Mountains, and a common wristwatch, Kapleau answers questions about Zen in a compassionate, readily accessible way. His decades as head of an American Zen monastery, not to mention his broad-reading and sharp intellect, yield an abundance of valuable guidance for a Westerner who struggles with Zen's foreignness.

About the Author:

In 1953, recognizing the urgency of spiritual questions in his life, Philip Kapleau quit his successful career in court reporting at the age of forty-two sold his belongings, and bought a one-way ticket from Connecticut to Japan. He intended to pursue Zen practice at a Buddhist monastery, and attain enlightenment. A few years earlier he had been sent to Tokyo as a court reporter for the War Crimes Tribunal of Japan, and there had met the eminent Buddhist scholar D. T. Suzuki. Kapleau's participation in the Tokyo Tribunal, and his earlier post as chief court reporter at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, had left him with penetrating questions about cruelty and suffering.

For thirteen years Kapleau remained in Japan while he trained under two distinguished masters of Zen Buddhism, the late Harada Roshi and his successor, the late Yasutani Roshi.

Kapleau returned from Japan to the United States in 1965 and the following year founded the Zen Center of Rochester, New York. Since its founding in 1966, the Zen Center has attracted students from all parts of the world. The teachings and influence of Roshi Kapleau have now expanded into many other affiliated centers and groups in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and other countries in Europe.

The Three Pillars of Zen, Kapleau's first book, has been the bible of several generations of American Zen practitioners. A classic now, it has been translated into twelve other languages, including Polish and Chinese. Three additional books followed: To Cherish All Life: A Buddhist Case for Becoming Vegetarian; Zen: Merging of East and West; and The Zen Art of Living and Dying.

Now in his eighties, Roshi Kapleau resides in south Florida.

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Roshi Philip Kapleau
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