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Zen Buddhism

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  8 reviews
What is Zen? If you asked a true Zen master he might tweak your nose, scowl fiercely, or roar with laughter, whichever he thought would stir your spirit awake—for that is the object of Zen. Humphreys, however, who has practiced both Zen & the law with equal success for more than thirty years, is kinder. He does give the reader an idea—a very good idea—of what it is all abo ...more
Published 1999 by Diamond (first published January 1st 1949)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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May 26, 2019 marked it as reading-paused  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this as soon as I saw it, the book being name-checked by Van Morrison in his song, Cleaning Windows. Bought the book, started reading it, then looked up the author when I got home and found that in his 'day job' he was a Crown Prosecutor, in which capacity he was instrumental in securing the executions of Ruth Ellis, Derek Bentley and Timothy Evans, all cases now widely seen as either controversial and/or miscarriages of justice.

I put the book down last year, and picking it up t
Oct 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you're interested in reading a stereotypical bourgeoisie white European man's understanding of Zen Buddhism, this is the book for you. It's very much written from a Westernized perspective--Christian-centric is the only term I can think of that fits; Humphreys obviously thinks in absolutes, explains in absolutes, which poses a major problem when what one is trying to understand is a religious philosophy against the idea of absolutes.

Did I mention he's pretentious? The author's overly-pedanti
Mohammad Sadegh Jazayeri
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The subject of the book is twofold: Zen and Zen Buddhism. The author's treatment of Zen Buddhism, its origins, history, associated beliefs, and practices is comprehensive yet concise. The author's treatment of Zen, by his own admission, might have been a mistake simply by the very fact of trying. As the author is so keen on reminding us, time and again, Zen can be experienced but not described. His effort however is admirable and makes for some good reading material.
While the subject of the book
Bob Cymber
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
If anyone enjoys reading Alan Watts, they will really like reading this book. Mr. Humphreys attempts to explain Zen to western readers. There is a lot of wisdom in his words and his elaborations on practical Zen. I found it extremely insightful.
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My inclinations are more towards Taoism than Buddhism, but I found myself sinking into this book like sinking into a comfy chair. And when I was done, I thought, What was all that about? - which was somehow strangely fitting, in that the author is hoping to communicate on an intuitional rather than an intellectual level. And now I'm reading it again, and once again wallowing in the delight and comfort of it. ...more
A popular introduction.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Johannes Bertus
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Convoluted writing style, but some interesting insights.
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