Roshi Philip Kapleau and the “Three Pillars of Zen”. Posted July 14, “If you fall into poverty, live that way without grumbling – then your poverty will not. THREE PILLARS O F ZEN. TICE. A ND E N L I G HTE N M E NT. [atio1lS; introductions & notes, by PHILIP KAPLEAU. BEACON PRESS. BOSTON. Through explorations of the three pillars of Zen–teaching, practice, and enlightenment–Roshi Philip Kapleau presents a comprehensive overview of the history.

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This of course is the real determinant of spiritual growth; a willingness to go beyond a fear of exploring ones true nature. It’s devoid of the political, often war like passages in the bible; it focuses on internal development; and it emphasises peacefulness.

The Three Pillars of Zen

It is rather a dry book, until you start practicing a bit, and attending a zen center or have a teacher of some sort. Oct 18, Stewart Dorward rated it it was amazing Shelves: At least, I couldn’t follow any clear progression of thought — the ‘lectures’ seemed random to me.

Of course you understand this theoretically, but theoretical understanding is like a picture: It is inspirational and long lived in history as well as individual lives. This makes the reader feel that the type of full on spiritual warfare described by htree sitters is the only way to move forward. By the time you are finished you come to realize that in the bottom foundation, there is not much difference between Christianity and Buddhism.

The book describes long hours, months and years of sitting in monasteries. Since I wasn’t really considering becoming a Zen student before reading it, and am definitely not considering it now, I don’t fall into the target audience. His account of his first sesshin in at the Rochester Zen Center will strike a chord with many who have had similar experiences of pain, uncertainty, suffering and desperation to do well.


Zen Teaching, Zen Practice is not a fundamental text for Western Zne but it does threee as a useful counterpoint to the personal narratives that so influenced many beginners in The Three Pillars of Zen.

Philip Kapleau – Wikipedia

Pillqrs practical nature of the first part is inspiring. As a teenager he worked as a bookkeeper. I think by itself the book could introduce even more questions, actually initiating “counter productivity”, I simply mean to say that one “should” take this as a static representation of what is fluid. Jul 03, Les Moore rated it really liked it Shelves: My only real criticism is that the focus is almost entirely on those who have been enlightened using koans, especially ‘Mu’.

I know at one point this book did not “do it” for me, and that was precisely the problem, I had to, “do it”. During a book tour in he was invited to teach meditation at a gathering in RochesterNew York [ citation needed ]. Even little things like the bringing of tea to japan is probably a huge deal in retrospect, that we probably don’t consider when looking in hindsight at what was truly innovative, and what we should be looking for for future innovation.

Pillafs book itself includes materials from a variety of sources including introductory lectures on Zen by one of Kapleau’s teachers, Yasutani Roshi, a commentary on Mu, a discussion of the famous Zen “oxherding” pictures, and much more. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

It’s due to these circumstances that Philip Kapleau’s account of Zen is truly refreshing. However, the struggles of these students are quite inspiring – real questions, issues and kappleau and how they are faced or not by The practical nature of the first part is inspiring. This is a far-reaching examination of pillas Zen traditions, lectures, tbree essays, and advice taken from periods ranging from the s to the modern era.


Nonetheless, it is a bit long and repetitive for how much it emphasizes the uselessness of discursive intellect. Likewise it’s striking how different the mindset is from the modern one yet how human it all is at its root.

Without the nucleus there is no circle, without the circle, no nucleus. Kapleau was born in New Haven, Connecticut.

It truly ranks among the timeless classics of Zen Buddhism. The book has appeared in a 25th anniversary edition and in this 35th anniversary edition. Although he had encountered the book earlier, it held no meaning for him and remained largely unread.

Indeed – at the start of the book several types of zazen are mentioned but only the kensho seekers get highlighted. Thanks for telling us about the problem. The author has done a great job here. Zen Teaching, Zen Practice, with its personal narratives of meeting Kapleau and his book is part of that ongoing struggle to create a Zen Buddhism relevant to our times, our needs, and our understanding. This is followed by a series of transcripts of interviews between teacher and student during a sesshin – it functions like FAQs of zazen.

The part about zazen sitting meditation practice are thorough, going over sitting positions, how to follow the breath, and how to address common problems. Read it Forward Read it first. The lectures from YR are invaluable. Another excellent part of the book is the enlightenment letters written by a young woman named Yaekeo Iwasaki on her deathbed to her teacher, Harada-Roshi. Thus we lead lives that are frustrating and meaningless.