A simple yet profound guide to establishing a transformative and sustaining Zen meditation practice
Zen master Julian Daizan Skinner guides the reader through a sequence of meditation techniques that can safely lead even a complete novice through to advanced levels. Based on his own long experience of the Rinzai Zen tradition, as taught by the great seventeenth-century masters, Hakuin and Bankei, Daizan highlights the key points for success and addresses the pitfalls. Structured around a traditional teaching framework called "The two wings of a bird," Daizan clearly lays-out how these methods build and combine to create a transformative and sustaining practice.
The book contains an extremely useful section describing the experiences of western practitioners who have successfully applied this framework within the pressures of modern life. The final section features key source texts in translation, making the book a complete introduction and guide to Zen meditation. The work of a master, the book speaks at a deep level, with utmost simplicity.
An entertaining integral guide to Zen that will serve you faithfully for many years. This is a book of real quality from a teacher of the highest calibre, and the rarest gift.
A true gift to the world. From the historical context of Zen to the profound insights that lie at its core, seldom has so much wisdom been packed into a single volume. This book is a true beacon on the journey of self-growth, for all those who wish to take it.
To those who find Zen somewhat intimidating, Daizan's relaxed approach should be appealing; Practical Zen offers something for everyone with an interest in Zen, with a plethora of ideas, possibilities, and suggestions for practice.
The explanations and instructions are beautifully clear and the structure really supports the transmission of these invaluable practices. I particularly loved the sections on duality and non-duality, the unborn, the hara, the ox and all the stories, particularly the moving events around the temple fire. I wholeheartedly recommend Practical Zen.
So far, I have found the guide to practice incredibly clear and the skills and practice itself incredibly useful. It is very difficult sometimes to quiet the mind, and other times a little easier. It is still early days but I intend to continue and ultimately find a teacher once I feel I have developed a solid basis. If you want to actually start meditating, then this is a great place to start.