Zen: A Short Introduction with Illustrations by the Author
Alan Watts was almost singly responsible for introducing Zen Buddhism to the United States and the world. Although he was an autodidact, he was skilled in bringing difficult concepts into simply stated arguments. He wrote twenty-five books, for the most part dealing with the concepts of Zen. This book is slight, and an easy read. It is a great addition to any library of spiritual thought.
Watts was born in England but moved to the United States in 1938 after marrying his first wife, whose mother was a Zen teacher. Although the marriage ended, he continued speaking to his mother-in-law throughout his life. He was a major figure in the San Francisco Bay area and a featured speaker on KPFK radio.
This book is a great and simple introduction to the concepts of Zen which date from the year 500. There are many forms in different countries, but all emphasize the nature of staying in the present moment. For that reason, Watts found this practice akin to psychotherapy and helpful in releasing troublesome thoughts and focusing on one’s mind. This is an essential book by a great religious thinker.
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