A Guide to Zen
Very few masters of Zen have been writers, and very few writers about Zen have been masters. Katsuki Sekida was both. His finest work, Zen Training, published in 1975 by Weatherhill, remains one of the most comprehensive books on Zen ever written in English. Now Marc Allen, a former student of Katsuki Sekida, has carefully culled the finest pieces from the original work and produced a beautifully readable, brilliant guide to Zen meditation.
A Guide to Zen starts with a luminous summary of Zen and goes on to give a complete course in Zen meditation. The early chapters focus on carefully explaining the basics of this practice: correct posture and breathing. The next chapters, "Samadhi" and "Pure Existence," are absolutely unique in Zen literature and invaluable for any serious student. Finally, in the last chapter, "Stages in Zen Training," Sekida comments brilliantly on a classic of Zen literature: the traditional series of pictures called In Search of the Missing Ox.
Throughout are specific practices, such as "One Minute Zazen," and also bright gems that are result of a long lifetime of meditation and study, such as:
- "Zen is not philosophy or mysticism. It is simply a practice of readjustment of nervous activity. Here we encounter the purest form of existence. It is the hushed silence of the snow-clad Himalayas. Or it can be likened to the eternal silence of the fathomless depths of the sea."