free hit counter code Zen in English Literature & Oriental Classics - GoBooks - Download Free Book
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Zen in English Literature & Oriental Classics

Availability: Ready to download

This is a remarkable book on Zen in literature and Oriental classics.


Compare
Ads Banner

This is a remarkable book on Zen in literature and Oriental classics.

30 review for Zen in English Literature & Oriental Classics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Given the fact that R. H. Blyth was a friend and disciple of D. T. Suzuki, one might expect Zen in English Literature to be an apology for Zen Buddhism, using quotations from Western classics to make Buddhist philosophy palatable to an educated Anglophone audience. While Blyth indeed achieves this, the reader quickly becomes aware that he is up to something more. Not only does his book explore Buddhism; it also sheds new light on the classic works of the English language. One example of this doub Given the fact that R. H. Blyth was a friend and disciple of D. T. Suzuki, one might expect Zen in English Literature to be an apology for Zen Buddhism, using quotations from Western classics to make Buddhist philosophy palatable to an educated Anglophone audience. While Blyth indeed achieves this, the reader quickly becomes aware that he is up to something more. Not only does his book explore Buddhism; it also sheds new light on the classic works of the English language. One example of this double-edged sword is his use of Shakespeare, who seems to make an appearance on every other page of Zen in English Literature. Blyth places Shakespeare at the outset of his work next to a Zen classic, invoking the two as his highest authorities: Throughout this book and throughout life itself, one thing must never be forgotten: "In the three worlds, everything depends on the mind" [from the Hojoki], that is, "Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." This quotation from Hamlet becomes a refrain that shows up at key moments in the book, a kind of epigraph that, as it is continually developed, becomes the summary of the truth of Zen and Shakespeare. For, as Blyth explains, the bard's greatness is that he "looks steadily at the object," which is also the ultimate goal that Zen hopes to achieve: These thoughts about things, this colouring of things by the emotions, that is, the desires and antipathies of the mind, – this is what Zen wishes us, above all things, to do away with. Although it is practically a truism that Shakespeare's allusiveness, his ability to put on the cloak of any of his characters and speak genuinely as him or her, is precisely his genius, Blyth goes one step further and argues that this is also the essence of Zen, that is, Truth. From this perspective, Shakespeare's works becomes the paragon of religious poetry. Shakespeare is just one author whose work takes on deeper meaning after Blyth's treatment of it. Cervantes' Don Quixote, for example, becomes "Zen incarnate," a character who "surpasses Hakuin, Rinzai, Enô, Daruma and Shakamuni [the Buddha] himself" in his embodiment of Zen ideals. Rather than following the traditional interpretation that Don Quixote is a fool, Blyth invites the reader to see him as "the vision of Truth" inadequately put into practice, whose story illuminates "the underlying sense of shame that our lives are directed to the acquisition of all the things Don Quixote so rightly despised." Other authors Blyth treats at length include Dickens, Stevenson, Wordsworth, and Keats, in each case compelling the reader to view their works anew. The force of Zen in English Literature is that it touches upon as many literary heroes as possible, demonstrating how pervasive is the truth he espouses. But this is also the book's weakness. It serves as an introduction rather than an in-depth criticism, and, like any introduction, risks skimming on the surface of the topics he brings up. For example, in his chapter on "Figures of Speech," Blyth introduces the idea that "figures of speech are jumps, jumps out of appearance into reality, a return to the Unity of things, to the ever-blessed One," rather than just interesting ways of describing the mundane. He even goes so far as to condone one of my favorite pastimes, saying, "The mixing of metaphors... far from being a vice, is the highest of virtues, if you can do it properly." Though the author begins to describe how different kinds of figures of speech (simile, metaphor, metonymy, etc.) relate to his mystical monism, he fails to offer anything more than a brief sketch. Yet literary criticism, on the whole, has focused too exclusively on the minutiae for too long. A change is due. The breadth Blyth displays in Zen in English Literature and the Oriental Classics is increasingly becoming a necessity as globalization continues to thrust disparate cultures into one another's arms. The ability to communicate with each other is now a necessity, not a luxury. Blyth, however, anticipated the coming interconnection of East and West and set up a dialogue between the classics of both worlds, fostering mutual understanding, that the Orient and the Occident may be less (forgive the pun) Zenophobic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Hayes

    Actually, re-reading, which says it all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    My favorite book on zen and a very informative book on classical English literature. I gave away my copy and now regret that gift. Oh well.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul S

    Illuminating and entertaining book. In life, the best perspectives are achieved by comparative studies of different viewpoints on the same subject. A lot of cultural, group, and peer prejudices are necessarily taken away and you get to see the essence. His recognition of Zen in Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Stevenson, Keats as well Bach do this. The essence of this book is what is truth? Literature (and music which is mentioned in book) move us to the extent it touches on the truth. Zen is the process Illuminating and entertaining book. In life, the best perspectives are achieved by comparative studies of different viewpoints on the same subject. A lot of cultural, group, and peer prejudices are necessarily taken away and you get to see the essence. His recognition of Zen in Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Stevenson, Keats as well Bach do this. The essence of this book is what is truth? Literature (and music which is mentioned in book) move us to the extent it touches on the truth. Zen is the process of distilling the truth in every situation. Zen can help us to see parts of the arts that touch on the truth and dismiss the parts that do not. Blyth is ruthlessly funny in doing this exercise. One example is his comment on the following line from a Tennyson poem: "Faith hears the lark within the songless egg" - "This is not poetry at all. It is a kind of proleptic vivisection." His exposition of the various key aspect of Zen is also excellent as below: "Nothing divides men so much as thought. Emotion may be communicated in a variety of ways, it is infectious. On the contrary, Thought is peculiarly individual, communicable only in words, and establishing barriers between the fool and the sage whereas Emotions unite. ... Thus the construction of dogmatic beliefs by the highest intellect reduces man to the same state of mental slavery as the crudest and most infantile superstition." A truly excellent book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    A marvelous oddball classic. Not to be taken seriously except as the passion of an idiosyncratic treasure of idiosyncratic passions.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    3.5-4 stars. Blyth is the classic englishman educated in his own culture and western culture who turns to the east. People like this don't exist anymore. From a literary, poetic, and spiritual perspective, Blyth has authority. This is a one-of-a-kind exploration of what it means to be zen using eastern and western literary examples. Being an English Lit and Western Canon nerd myself, I'm not sure there could be any funner book than this. Also, Blyth has some gutsy, unorthodox opinions and this se 3.5-4 stars. Blyth is the classic englishman educated in his own culture and western culture who turns to the east. People like this don't exist anymore. From a literary, poetic, and spiritual perspective, Blyth has authority. This is a one-of-a-kind exploration of what it means to be zen using eastern and western literary examples. Being an English Lit and Western Canon nerd myself, I'm not sure there could be any funner book than this. Also, Blyth has some gutsy, unorthodox opinions and this seems striking coming from the traditional english scholar. His point of view reminds me a lot of Alan Watts in 'This is It.' I am currently reading Blyth's Oriental Humour which so far is just as wonderful and eclectic as this one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    blyth's first book ain't his best nor his easiest but worth at least one read the premise is more or less that great literature is zen, and what's not is not. so when wordsworth is good he's also zen, and bad wordsworth is also non-zen. blyth's personal story is worth googling [it's also recounted in [author: rick fields]' wonderful how the swans came to the lake the book came out the same time as aldous huxley's perennial philosophy by the way (context, context) blyth's first book ain't his best nor his easiest but worth at least one read the premise is more or less that great literature is zen, and what's not is not. so when wordsworth is good he's also zen, and bad wordsworth is also non-zen. blyth's personal story is worth googling [it's also recounted in [author: rick fields]' wonderful how the swans came to the lake the book came out the same time as aldous huxley's perennial philosophy by the way (context, context)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Annie Talley

    It's my BIBLE !!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark Brooks

  11. 4 out of 5

    Esteban del Mal

  12. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kari

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe Green

  16. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bianca de la Cruz

  18. 4 out of 5

    f

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tonydowler Dowler

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christoph

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anonymous

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pat

  24. 4 out of 5

    Curtis

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  26. 4 out of 5

    Blake

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robbie Hearn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Juan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.