This was the first book I ever read on Zen, and it remains, in my mind, one of the best. D.T Suzuki is thorough and imaginative, linking the principles of Zen to the culture and history of Japan, as well as to Western philosophy. Suzuki has a well-deserved reputation as the 20th century's foremost authority on Japanese Zen. While perhaps more of a scholar's book than a practitioner's book, this selection of essays from Suzuki's Zen and Japanese Culture do a wonderful job of conveying the spirit and rich history of Japanese Zen, and its roots in Chinese Ch'an. Faced with a complex topic that by its very nature does not lend itself to written accounts, Suzuki manages to neither over-analyze the topic nor sidestep the issues by refusing comment. The essays selected give a good taste of the complex spectrum of Zen, and its many cultural and historical manifestations, without swamping the reader with material. A fine and complex work by a well-respected figure of the Zen tradition.
It takes a while to understand, but Suzuki really knew what he was talking about. It provides a very good understanding of his take on Zen Buddhism.