Zen Buddhism

by Christmas Humphreys

Paperback, 1998

Call number

299 B6



Diamond Books (1998), 171 pages


A comprehensive look at Zen, one of the most popular forms of Buddhism for Western minds. Chapters include the birth of Zen, the nature of Zen, the fruits of Zen, Zen technique, satori (enlightenment), Zen in English literature, & Zen for the West. Contains many quotations from Zen texts. A lively, lucid book by an eminent Buddhist.Ó The author presents a very comprehensive idea of Zen in all its aspects.Ó The process of Zen is a leap from thinking to knowing . . . Christmas Humphreys expounds with great clarity an often misinterpreted way of life.Ó First published in 1949.


User reviews

LibraryThing member KLmesoftly
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-pedantic writing style was enough to have me contemplating just dropping the course I read this for altogether. I ended up sticking it out, which was rewarding, as we moved on to more worthwhile analysis and explanation of Zen later in the course.
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LibraryThing member Michael.Rimmer
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 today can feel no joy when holding it in my hand. So, I'm sending it on it's way. I can't rate it as I've read only 46 pages, but have no appetite for any more. Another book on Zen will, no doubt, comfortably find it's way into my hand at some point.
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