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Zen - The Religion of the Samurai

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  361 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Zen was uniquely suited to the Samurai of Japan. The high moral principles of Buddhism, when adopted and adapted by the Japanese warriors who became the Samurai, created an austere philosophy of singular beauty and depth. Its characteristic requirements of strict control over body and mind was exemplified by ancient warrior monks whose serene countenance, even in the face ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by El Paso Norte Press (first published 1913)
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Apr 29, 2016 Owlseyes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zen

No matter what, the Zen-samurai can endure anything and everything; because “…he can enjoy everything” ; that’s how the book ends. The self must have authority “over all the body”. Zen IS the religion of the samurai.

The book starts with a historical perspective of the two main currents of Zen: the Rinzei and the Soto traditions. It proceeds highlighting the parallels between a Zen Monk and a samurai warrior; many, indeed, acknowledges the author.

Then, the steps for mental training are exposed.
Mar 03, 2015 Gustavo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There is a LOT of vocabulary pertaining to Buddhism and Zen, which just makes you be lost in all that. There's really little about the relationship between Zen and Samurais and the whole Bushido philosophy. It builds the difference between Himayanism and Mahayanism, with the different approaches it has as a whole, but even then you get lost with all the sutras, mantras, and weird hindu names.
This book was a dissapointment to be honest, and i only finished it because of my obsession that makes me
Dec 13, 2010 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very thought provoking book with essays on the mind, morality, nature and origins of man.
Daniel Silveyra
Jan 24, 2011 Daniel Silveyra rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
This is one of those free books on the Kindle (and the web), by the way.

If the first 150 or so pages are any indication of the rest of the book, then the title may be a little misleading. If you are interested mainly in the Samurai class and your interest in their religion is mainly due to this, you will be disappointed. If you are interested in Zen Buddhism, this might be more your cup of tea.

I was of the first kind of reader, but the introduction to the Zen school at the beginning of the book
Katie S
May 13, 2013 Katie S rated it did not like it
I have recently read a book called The Religion of the Samurai by Kaiten Nukariya. This book was about where the religion of the Samurai came from. I think this is a boring book and I didn’t enjoy reading it.

The point of this book was to inform us about what the religion of the Samurai was and how it came to be the way it is now. The author was trying to tell us about a religion called Zen. I felt that it was good to know about other religions, but I didn’t understand much of the book.

I didn’
Piotr Kalinowski
I have read a free version available for the Kindle, which could be a better experience: the footnotes were intertwined with actual text.

Overall, I expected more historical context, or more in depth exploration of parallels between Zen, and samurai culture. It turned out to be a lot more about Zen itself.

The explanation of its tenets was an interesting one, albeit quite technical and heavy on terminology straight out of sutras.
Mar 26, 2013 Doug rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
WOW ... what a struggle!

The version that I read was a freebie e-book version from Amazon. The way the book was digitized made for a very aggravating read, and it took me well over half way through the book before I realized that my confusion was being caused by the way the footnotes appeared. Once I figured out how this was done I was able to set a good pace with it and it was almost enjoyable ... almost!

As with most books that you read originating from the Far East, the first part of the book i
Ardeth Baxter
Needs a cleanup

As happens with a lot of these free Amazon ebooks, there are lots of typos and major disorganization. The book itself is quite fascinating if a bit confusing about just what Zen is. But a part of that confusion is because of the poor layout, with footnotes thrown in right after sections of text. It's messy.
Jeremy L.
True, not an easy read for the light reader. It has a lot of Indian/Hindu references, names, and vocabulary. However, if you have the capacity to absorb it, the book is full of the complexities and nuance of the history and pholosophy of zen.
Dani Lane
Mar 19, 2011 Dani Lane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This will be the first book I read on my new iPad. Finally finished this snoozer. It was filled with names (Chinese and Japanese) and was very hard to read. I thought it would be an explanation of the philosophy, but if you go by the information here, the philosophy is that there is no philosophy. The author's view on the religion is offered near the end of the book, but by then I was so confused about Buddhism, Confucianism and Zen that I didn't want to add his opinions to the muddle. I'm still ...more
Aug 05, 2011 R. rated it did not like it
i read 3% of this book and stopped after i realized i would never understand it. i became so tripped up in trying to pronounce the names and terms that i often forgot the premise of the present sentence i was reading. maybe i just don't know as much about buddhism as i thought i did, and need to take a crash course on it before i could understand this book. perhaps actual buddhists would find this to be a good read. not for le, though..
Jun 07, 2013 Ben rated it liked it
This book is quite a good overview of Zen Buddhism, although it has nothing to do with Samurai.
The first chapter is very heavy going, with lots of names and footnotes, but also isn't especially necessary for the remainder of the book. The remaining chapters are easier to read and give some good insights into the principles of Zen Buddhism such as the view on mindfulness and meditation.
E Taylor
Nov 13, 2011 E Taylor is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
research for first novel
Chris Hager
Jan 03, 2015 Chris Hager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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“If the primitive faith be called the genuine, as these scholars think, and the later developed faith be the degenerated one,” 0 likes
“Zen is completely free from the fetters of old dogmas, dead creeds, and conventions of stereotyped past, that check the development of a religious faith and prevent the discovery of a new truth. Zen needs no Inquisition. It never compelled nor will compel the compromise of a Galileo or a Descartes. No excommunication of a Spinoza or the burning of a Bruno is possible for Zen.” 0 likes
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