Graham's Reviews > The Three Pillars of Zen

The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau
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M 50x66
's review
Jul 15, 2008

Good Advice-Boring Read: I hate saying it, because Philip Kapleau is so full of the good teachings that helped Zen "take" here in the USA, but this book was very boring. I understand many of his students perhaps have written the reviews here and such, and that Roshi Kapleau is in fact, a very good teacher. As for being a good writer, he is not. That said, the words on each page are accurate and concise. It is the delivery that leaves much to be desired.

Let us keep in mind that when this book was published, the West didn't really know much about Zen. It was considered, largely, to be a "philosophy" that is to be understood academically. Every author writes for his or her audience, that is, any writer that wants to write another book does. This work reminds you of, though not entirely, the flavor that Daisetz Suzuki wrote with. The scholarly, intellectual route. Which, like I said, was necessary to pave way for the many teachings we would find later in the USA as a result. Roshi Kapleau paved the way for Zen, but as for this book, it simply is not "attractive" enough for many students of Zen today. If you want an entertaining read that provides insight, this is not really your book. If you are looking for insight, and don't care much one way or the other about the "entertainment" aspect-then this book is for you. All this said, I recommend the book. The oddest recommendation I have given to date.


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