Cover image for A guide to Zen: lessons from a modern master
A guide to Zen: lessons from a modern master
Sekida, Katsuki, 1903-1987.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Novato, Calif. : New World Library, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 130 pages: illustrations; 19 cm
A summary at the beginning -- Zazen posture -- Breathing in zazen -- Samadhi -- Pure existence -- Stages in zen training -- Afterword -- The pathos of things.
Subject Term:
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ9288 .S428 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book takes the formidable 100,000-word classic Zen Training by the great master Katsuki Sekida and extracts its finest gems. Marc Allen has carefully chosen the passages most relevant to today, producing a readable work of six chapters covering the basics of posture, breathing, and training, and presenting various pieces of Zen literature and meditation pictures. The result is a complete course in Zen from a modern master -- as one would receive in a traditional Zen center -- simply and beautifully written.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

For Sekida, the attainment of samadhi, a "state in which the activity of consciousness-including all thought-ceases and absolute... stillness reigns," is intimately tied to one's body. The early chapters of this book, a condensed and edited version of Sekida's 1975 classic Zen Training, are devoted to detailed descriptions of practical concerns for the Zen student, such as breathing techniques and posture during meditation. By developing physical tension in a region of the abdomen known as the tanden (traditionally believed to be the center of human spiritual power) via these techniques, one generates a certain strong mental concentration, which, Sekida asserts, "ultimately proves to be spiritual power." He then turns his attention to teasing out subtly different states of samadhi, and a provocative discussion of "pure existence" itself. Finally, he offers a commentary on a time-honored piece of Zen literature, "In Search of the Missing Ox," a series of pictures symbolizing one's progress through Zen training. Here, Sekida shines: his descriptions focus first on each picture's general figurative lesson, then on how the picture serves as a specific demarcation of one's actual practice of Zen meditation. These descriptions, and Sekida's style overall, are simple and elegant, but the early portions of the book are too detailed for an introductory guide: discussions of the "expiratory reserve volume" (and the like) of one's breathing patterns beg the assistance of a teacher. (Oct. 23) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved