Suzuki Zen Buddhism Selected Writings

I own a couple of dozen books about Buddhism. I enjoy reading about the four noble truths [Life means suffering; the origin of suffering is attachment; the cessation of suffering is attainable; and the path to the cessation of suffering], the teachings of Buddha and Zen Masters, and the many riddles used in instruction; however, I have not read anything by Suzuki. But when I read that this book by him was challenged at the Plymouth-Canton school system in Canton, Michigan in 1987, I decided to purchase it. The book-banners explained their decision by stating, "this book details the teachings of the religion of Buddhism in such a way that the reader could very likely embrace its teachings and choose this as his religion." I agree it is a thorough and well-written survey of the history and philosophy of Buddhism, but I completely disagree that this – or any book – could turn someone away from sincere and deeply held beliefs. If this book turned anyone any which way, it was because the reader had some doubts about those beliefs.

Zen Buddhism has not convinced me to embrace Buddhism as a life style. Still, many of the ideas are appealing. Introspection, respect for all sentient life, non-violence, and moderation – among other ideas – are things practitioners of any religion can easily embrace.

According to the author’s note, Suzuki, who lived from 1869 to 1966, was born and educated in Japan. He lectured extensively throughout the world and taught at Columbia University. He influenced many of the great thinkers of the 20th century, including C. G. Jung, Aldous Huxley, and the Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton.”

Suzuki begins with a discussion of the “sense of Zen, ” and notes that “Hebraic and Greek traditions are profoundly dualistic in spirit. That is, they divide reality into two parts and set one part off against the other. The Hebrew tradition divides God and creature, the Law and erring members, spirit and flesh. The Greek, on the other hand, divides reality along intellectual lines, ” … [making] “reason the highest and most valued function” (x). The bedrock of Buddhism, however, lay in the idea of “favoring intuition over reason” (x).

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Popular Q&A

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Why is the Shaolin Temple called the birthplace of Zen Buddhism?

Who is calling it that?
Certainly NOT Zen Buddhism.
Do your research, and you will find that the Shaolin monks are not mentioned at all.
It seems that the ONLY ones who claim that Bodhidharma came to a Shaolin Temple are the Shaolins themselves.
This by itself seems suspicious.
But take it one step further ... how could the Shaolins be Buddhists if thy have temples BEFORE Buddhism was brought to China? It's possible they converted to Buddhism ... and that would explain why they are pretty non-Buddhist, for a sect that claims to be Buddhist.
REAL Buddhism does not believe in martia…

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