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Taking the Path of Zen

by Robert Aitken

Buy the book: Robert Aitken. Taking the Path of Zen

Release Date: September, 1985

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Robert Aitken. Taking the Path of Zen

Not as good as it may seem...

"Taking the Path of Zen" offers very little information on actual Zen Buddhism. Instead, Robert Aitken tries to make Zen appeal to the average American who wants to call themselves a Zen student wihout actually knowing what they are practicing.

There are two ways to read "Taking the Path of Zen": with a scholarly approach or as an instructional manual. If you read Aitken's book with a scholarly frame of mind I regrett to inform you that you will be dissapointed. Aitken transforms Zen Buddhism into an American cultural phenomenon. At times Aitken attacks people in his book who do not believe the same principles as himself, which in my opinion is not the true way of Zen.

As an instructional manual, "Taking the Path of Zen" offers minimal instruction in the practice of Zen, either philosophically of religiously. Aitken focuses on zazen, meditaion, which indeed is very important to any Zen study. However, Aitken does not describe the beliefs of Zen Buddhism in a clear manner which leads to an incomplete education.

Overall, "Taking the Path of Zen" should be read with other materials in order to see the discrepancies between Aitken and other Zen practitioners. When reading this book keep in mind that this is Americanized Zen and not original Zen Buddhism.

From Amazon.com

Excellent book on getting started with Zen

This book is the written form of the introductory speeches given at Aitken's Zendo. It is an excellent book on getting started in Zen. If you haven't yet decided to visit a Zen center or other place where you get instruction, but you want to start sitting and want to kind of know what to expect, this is a great book. It was a welcome change from many books that are a collection of koans, and from the books that are a collection of inspirational stories. This one is very much a how to do it.

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