Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Zen Training: Methods And Philosophy” as Want to Read:
Zen Training: Methods And Philosophy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Zen Training: Methods And Philosophy

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  245 ratings  ·  28 reviews
First published in 1975, Zen Training has become a classic of Zen literature. It was one of the first books to demystify religion without debunking it, to explain hitherto esoteric practices in lucid, everyday terms. It offers concrete guidelines for practicing zazen, seated meditation. Posture, breathing, the function of the abdominal muscles, muscle tone, and the mechan...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published December 1st 1975 by Weatherhill
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Zen Training, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Zen Training

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 534)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
If you can get past the irony of learning about ineffable Zen teachings from a book, this is a very good Zen book indeed. It's one of the few that tells you specifically what to expect and what to do in 'zazen' or sitting meditation, which is where it all begins. Sekida is refreshingly straightforward and clear, and he keeps the koans to a minimum as he describes how to sit, breathe, and think in order to achieve samadhi. Any book that begins with a chapter on "one-minute zazen" gets high marks...more
Undoubtedly, this is the most encouraging book on Buddhism that I've encountered yet.

Sekida sets forth the mechanics of Zen practice from the beginning stages of wrestling with wayward thoughts all the way to post-Enlightenment "training in Holy Buddhahood" – all in a straightforward tone that manages to be warm and friendly at the same time. His approach to Zen practice can be characterized by this quote:

"If only in those days I had known how to conduct my body and mind, I should have been sp...more
Jul 15, 2008 Graham added it
Best zen book I've ever read: I learned to do zazen from this book a long time ago. While I now have had a couple of teachers, the approach to zazen that I learned from Sekida has served me well on this path. I'll probably wind up teaching zen myself someday, and this is the book that I will be giving to my students. All of the other philosophical and historical books about zen are certainly useful, so we all know where the tradition came from, but this is the only really clear book about how to...more
It's taken me months to read this book, which is highly unusual for me. But I enjoyed the reading and thinking on the reading. I do not practice zen but am occasionally driven to try and understand something about it, usually by reading books that leave me knowing less than I started out with. This book left me knowing less than I started out with as well, but I feel good about it, feel very zen and emptied by it. And I have learned so much about breath.

Also, this book has charts and tables and...more
Kevin Chen
Can you cease your thoughts just by tensing your body? If you can't, this book teaches you how. You'll be surprised how meditation is more than simply sitting in a room and breathing. You'll learn how to listen to your body, while managing your mind and stress.
This book is about Zazen, which is essentially meditation rather than esoteric koans, which is usually associated with Zen.
I'm probably never going to finish this book, because I'm probably not going to progress to a point in Zen training where I'd need to read further chapters.

I learned the difference between Zen meditation vs meditation in Yoga. I haven't read other books on Zazen, so I do not know if all Zen masters put as much emphasis on abdominal breathing and pressure as Sekida does. The...more
Evan Backer
This is an excellent book for those looking to deepen or solidify their practice with zazen. It involves very specific and helpful physiological and psychological advice for furthering practice. This includes an explanation of the different kinds of samadhi, satori, thought processes and how to control them, sitting posture, breathing method, and much more -- all in incredible detail. Be warned -- this is not a beach read. The book can be very dry and difficult to read at times. Personally it ha...more
I don't pretend to understand most of this book. It was a heavy read, at times plodding - and yet I'm glad to have had the chance to read it. Certain passages struck me:

Someday you will have this kind of experience. And one day, when you emerge from it, rising from your seat, stepping across the doorsill, looking at the stones and trees in the garden, hearing some trifling sound, raising a cup to your lips or passing your fingers over a bowl, suddenly, you will find heaven and earth come tumblin...more
I've learned more about meditation reading the first few chapters of this book than attending to several intro to meditation workshops for the last 2 years. Though I doubt he teaches the traditional zazen (he recommends to close your eyes and execute a particular type of breathing), his techniques and explanations are of extraordinary practical value for the beginner zen practitioner.
(back after months after having read the book,I wouldn't recommend the author's breathing technique as your main...more
A fascinating text, but it is highly technical and so makes for pretty dry reading in some chapters. That said, it does offer a very insightful analysis on the methodology of Zen training from an obvious expert. The book's more scientific perspective is a refreshing break from the unrelatable "far-outness" Zen is so often packaged in and which has caused zen to become all but a superficial ornament on so many New Age book shelves.
Audrey Coleman
May 03, 2013 Audrey Coleman marked it as to-read
Shelves: buddhism
Zen meditation techniques, Zen philosophy, the life and teachings of Buddha, basic Buddhist terminology, the history of Buddhism...among other things. A great read for anyone seriously interested in Zen - be warned, it does tend to be a bit dry at times, but the author added enough examples (to aid in the reader relating to the topic) to keep me interested and turning the pages.
The thing I really love about this book is that there is no navel-gazing here. This is strictly a primer on the physiological changes in the body when zen is practiced. The clear, concise yet detailed explanations make it uncomplicated and practical. Suzuki explains the why and how of zen meditation and thereby demystifies enlightenment.
Some great guidance on Zazen, albeit kind of weird (it's Rinzai, Rinzai Zen is kind of...overly dogmatic, IMO.) Some strong chapters in the end, and some ridiculous convoluted ones in between. It has the feeling of a Christian Bible-proving, in parts. Not terribly suggested.
Very clear introduction to a kind of meditation called zazen. The author seems very serious at first, but rereadings make him appear more playful. He is tricky, which makes him a good teacher. He always wants the reader to find out for him or herself.
An excellent Zen meditation handbook for western practicioners! The author, having practised zazen for over 60 years, uses concepts found in western science (psychology, philosophy, neuroscience) to "translate" Zen teachings. Nice!
Mar 23, 2008 Gabriel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in zen
Shelves: lifewaza
This was a very nice technical look at Zen training. Not so much a philosophical book as a manual, it goes into detail on the topics of zazen, breathing, kensho, and the different phases of zen training. A very interesting read.
Jan 17, 2008 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ashvin
This is the book that helped me to understand how the body breathes--it then informed my pilates and yoga practice. It also really inspired me and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to read a solid book on Zen.
Easily readable, demystifies the practice of meditation. Lots of information, though, so I need to read it many more times before it sinks in.
read Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau instead. although i did like think the section on posture and the physics of it all, was great.
Dana Garrett
An excellent introduction to Zen practice and teaching. No pablum here. It's an introduction with ample foretastes of depth.
Hieu Cao
The author's insight and experience in zazen make this book must-read for all zen mediators.
Aygul A.
"When you reach there, there isn't any there, there."
Michael Bradham
Taught me how to sit and breathe. Thank you.
great resource - revist often
Just do it.
May 23, 2010 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Erin by: boyfriend #1
This is awesome!
Very good.
Vaniap marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2014
Niklas marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Moon In a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen
  • Taking the Path of Zen
  • Manual of Zen Buddhism
  • Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen
  • The Three Pillars of Zen
  • The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery
  • The Experience of Insight: A Simple & Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
  • Essential Tibetan Buddhism
  • Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life
  • Everyday Zen: Love and Work
  • The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma
  • Being Nobody, Going Nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist Path
  • The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life
  • A Buddhist Bible
  • The Diamond Sutra
  • Meditation in Action
  • Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book
  • On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious
Two Zen Classics: The Gateless Gate and The Blue Cliff Records A Guide to Zen: Lessons from a Modern Master Za Zen - 2da Edicion Zen-Training: Praxis, Methoden, Hintergründe

Share This Book

“While you are conscious of being a Buddha, you are not truly a Buddha, because you are ensnared by the idea. You are not empty.” 1 likes
“To cast off the delusive way of ordinary consciousness while sitting on a cushion in a quiet room is only the beginning. The student must learn to live in the ordinary world, while yet retaining the quality of his experience of absolute samadhi.” 0 likes
More quotes…