The Way of Zen

The Way of Zen

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In his definitive introduction to Zen Buddhism, Alan Watts ("the perfect guide for a course correction in life" —Deepak Chopra), explains the principles and practices of this ancient religion.

With a rare combination of freshness and lucidity, he delves into the origins and history of Zen to explain what it means for the world today with incredible clarity. Watts saw Zen as “one of the most precious gifts of Asia to the world,” and in The Way of Zen he gives this gift to readers everywhere.

“Perhaps the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West, Watts had the rare gift of ‘writing beautifully the unwritable.’”
Los Angeles Times

Review

“Perhaps the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West, Watts had the rare gift of ‘writing beautifully the unwritable.’”
Los Angeles 

About the Author

Alan W. Watts (1915-1973) was instrumental in introducing Eastern thought to Western civilization. He held both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, and is best known as an interpreter of Indian and Chinese philosophy in general, and Zen Buddhism in particular. He earned his reputation of being one of the most original philosophers of the century. He was the author of hundreds of articles on philosophy and religion, and thirty-three books which have been translated into eleven languages.

The Way of Zen begins as a succinct guide through the histories of Buddhism and Taoism leading up to the development of Zen Buddhism, which drew deeply from both traditions.  It then goes on to paint a broad but insightful picture of Zen as it was and is practiced, both as a religion and as an element of diverse East Asian arts and disciplines.  Watts's narrative clears away the mystery while enhancing the mystique of Zen.

Since the first publication of this book in 1957, Zen Buddhism has become firmly established in the West.  As Zen has taken root in Western soil, it has incorporated much of the attitude and approach set forth by Watts in The Way of Zen, which remains one of the most important introductory books in Western Zen.

"No one has given us such a concise . . . introduction to the whole history of this Far Eastern development of Buddhist thought as Alan Watts, in the present, highly readable work."  --Joseph Campbell