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Zen Meditation in Plain English

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  163 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
An excellent, practical introduction to Zen meditation. Written in a warm and easily accessible style, this book appeals to anyone with an interest in meditation, Zen, or, as is often the case today, a combination of the two. The book emphasizes the importance of receiving good instruction and of finding groups to practice with, yet it lays out the necessary steps to pract ...more
ebook, 128 pages
Published June 10th 2005 by Wisdom Publications (first published April 25th 2002)
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Sam Ruddick
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
that was helpful.
This is a bare bones introduction to Zen and meditation. It provides rudimentary instruction on how to 'sit'. It would be useful for the person who knows absolutely nothing about Zen or meditation but would like a practical source to begin their journey. The numerous quotes from Maezumi Roshi are very good. It was just "OK" for me; to others it may be on point. Otherwise I would recommend anything by Alan Watts for more in depth and informative explanations about Zen.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I picked this book up hoping it would be a good introduction to meditation. People are always curious, so it's good to have a direction to point them in. This book is not it. It spends far too much time discussing posture, the writing style is pretentious and kind of infantile at the same time. Only one small chapter of the book actually talks about the specifics of meditation, and mostly it admonishes students to find a teacher (which is important).

So far, Mindfulness in Plain English is the be
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short easily read book given to me by my boss before I had some serious surgery. It is a great "how to" book in plain language without getting into the philosophical/religious aspects of Zen. Having read it, I could probably get there some day but my efforts at this point result in about 3 seconds worth of mind emptying before the thoughts start flying again. It may be a practice worth working on.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. Based on the reviews I was envisioning something more about the philosophy of Zen. In reality, while there is some philosophy scattered throughout the book, it is a meditation handbook. It is a very practical guidebook, but frankly it's a little dry. The most interesting portion of the book for me was actually the Appendix, where they discuss FAQs about zazen.
Chris Cook
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Forgettable. The best intro to meditation is to read "Mindfulness in Plain English" then work through the Mindfulness lectures from Great Courses. I found zen style meditation too difficult because I had trouble just accepting all the noise in the mind. The method in "Mindfulness in Plain English" teaches you how to work with the noise. Of course, this is my experience and everyone is different.
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good simple introduction to meditation as practiced by many Zen adherents. Very briefly touches on the Buddhist roots and then goes through precise instructions for meditating/sitting in the various traditional poses as well as using a common chair. Finally has a chapter on community and why you probably might want to get involved in one.
Does exactly what it claims to do.
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book gave a readable explanation of meditation and how to get started. There are a variety a sitting positions with pros and cons. This is a Zen slant to meditation. There are many other ways to meditate. This describes one of the many ways from a Zen persecutive that is readable.
Scott G.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
GREAT book! GREAT instruction! By far the best book I've read on Zazen sitting.
Mazen Alloujami
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good introduction to Zen meditation. I recommend it for those who are interested in practicing zen.
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read and not boring!
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A decent intro book, with concrete instructions, and it was interesting to see how Zen tradition is different from Vipassana.
Víctor Manuel
Good introduction to zen meditation and all the process of sitting. Clear and brief, is a perfect walk through the process of sitting.
Benjamin Obler
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Has a very helpful section on posture in the sitting poses.
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This is a good basic guide to help someone get started with zen meditation.
Maybe this is not the best book on the topic, but it is the book that I read that taught me about meditation which has mostly been a good thing.
Tim Weakley
Loved it! Exactly what it says it is. The bonus of stretching exercises at the back is wonderful.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rules, rules, rules....
Chris Joseph
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more simple explanations and easy to grasp explanations of zen meditation. Lots of good quotes as well.
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good technical instructions to Zen Meditation. No philosophy.
Greg Soden
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear, fast, practically-oriented. Recommended for beginning meditation practice.
Jun 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone interested in the practice of zen. written for beginners like me
Rob Pacheco
Good guide to practical zen meditation without much "woo-woo" spirituality hokum.
rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2016
alan reads too much
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Oct 26, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2013
Justine-Louise Manning
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Aug 05, 2012
rated it liked it
Jun 03, 2015
Jonathan Burt
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Dec 28, 2016
rated it it was ok
Nov 03, 2011
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“It isn’t so terrible to think logically and to be analytical; if we are designing a bridge or balancing a checkbook, that’s the best way to think and the best way to be. But when we look carefully, we see that discursive, linear thinking is only useful for certain kinds of tasks; for others it is quite useless. Like the hammer or the toothbrush, discursive thought is a tool intended for certain kinds of jobs: If you use a hammer to brush your teeth, or a toothbrush to drive nails, you are not likely to meet with great success.” 1 likes
“I put the word “problems” in quotation marks, because difficulties only become problems when we separate ourselves from them instead of dealing with them directly and wholeheartedly.” 1 likes
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