This is a no nonense guide to zen training by a very hard man.I say hard-he was perhaps harder on himself than anybody else.Omori Sogen really drives home the amount of effort required to practice zazen.Practising the way Omori Sogen teaches will give real benefit in daily life.As he says if you are no use to society then what use are you?This hard Rinzai training is not suitable for everyone-it requires firm discipline to train in this manner-but its a thing worth doing.In these troubled times this practice can bring peace of mind and make people useful members of society.Its worth reading the biography of Omori Sogen by Hosokawa Dogen[available from Amazon]to get a real feel for the man and his teaching.If you want some touchy-feely type of meditation then dont buy this book.Life is hard and cruel but one can still have peace of mind.It sometimes requires that one is hard to oneself to get it.
Introduction to Zen Training, Sanzen Nyumon is one of the few books to address the many questions that naturally arise as one begins to train. Questions range from the elementary of how long one should sit at a time to the more intensive of how to maintain concentration when not sitting. Omori Rotatishi was best able to convey his points by drawing upon his vigorous training as a martial artist of the samurai era and his scholarship in both Chinese and Japanese bringing to life the many traditional Zen teaching stories.
The book provides an introduction to the physical nature of training, discussing ones state of mind, the physiology, breath, posture, pain, and drowsiness. Training is placed in a context which gives sitting meditation depth and breadth. Sanzen Nyumon discusses the rationale for zazen, the foundation of Zen training. Zazen, while seemingly a simple activity, is not just "quiet sitting" and its value remains in fully understanding the subtleties of the activity. The book also provides instructions on how to sit zazen, and how to adjust one's breath, posture and mental state.