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Book of Zen

The Book of Zen by Eric Chaline (2003) is a well-illustrated historical guide to Zen Buddhism that, unfortunately, has less content than first meets the eye. Lovely images and clever subtitles don't compensate enough for plodding prose and a disorganized narrative. The best message comes near the end:

... Zen has no beliefs—even the Ten Grave Precepts are only guidelines. If you encounter a strong belief, be it in the Buddha himself, during zazen, you are instructed to disregard it totally, because even belief, which is part of the ego, will prevent the realization of one's egoless Buddha-nature.

(cf.Buddhism Without Beliefs, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Not Always So, Buddhism - A Way of Life and Thought, ...) - ^z - 2011-04-26