The Spirit of Zen
By Solala Towler
The Spirit of Zen is a collection of inspiring teaching stories taken from the classical works of Zen Buddhism.
Zen is probably the most well known yet misunderstood version of Buddhism in the West. The Spirit of Zen presents the most basic principles and practices of Zen in a simple yet authentic fashion. The Spirit of Zen guides you down the path to enlightenment with stories, history and practical guidance from the masters of Zen. Often the stories contained in these teachings are an attempt to shake the student out of his or her complacent accepting of 'things as they are.' By bypassing the ordinary mindset, the often puzzling actions of the Zen master to his students awaken something in them they didn't know they had. This is all part of the attempt of the master to awaken the student to the reality of his or her own being and place in the great scheme of things. By using these radical forms of teaching, the master is jolting the student out of any preconceptions they may have about spiritual attainment. Thus the famous dictum 'If you see the Buddha in the road, kill him.' The stories are arranged according to theme: Gradual Enlightenment, Sudden Enlightenment, Teaching Stories, Paradoxical Teaching, Eccentric Masters etc. Most of them are from traditional sources with some original additions from Taoist expert Solala Towler. The simple yet profound truths of spiritual practice and awakening are often best learned from stories, rather than ponderous dissertation. These stories are profound and illuminating while also being entertaining, contain the kernel or true flavor of Zen.