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Original Dwelling Place

Zen Buddhist Essays

List Price: $16.95

June 10, 1997 | Paperback |  5 x 8, 256 Pages | ISBN 9781887178419
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"A marvelous, wide-ranging collection..." —Library Journal

There is a fine art to presenting complex ideas with simplicity and insight in a manner that both shepherds and inspires. Robert Aitkens Original Dwelling Place: Zen Buddhist Essays succeeds in doing just this, offering twenty-three essays from Americas senior Zen roshi and author of the best-selling, groundbreaking primer Taking the Path of Zen. Just as Taking the Path of Zen is the definitive handbook for Zen practice, the essays gathered in Original Dwelling Place are essential for the light they shed on Aitken Roshis own journey and the effect he has had on American Zen Buddhism. Gathered here are essays about the Zen texts Aitken has studied with avidity and close attention throughout the years; texts that were early and lasting influences. In an opening section entitled Ancestors, Aitken pays homage to the masters who influenced his own development and Zen Buddhism generally. In other meditations, Robert Aitken writes on political revolution and matters of ethics. He helps illuminate the proper use of money, power, and sexual love in a modern world that is often tainted by materialism and decadence. He offers stately meditations on death, on marriage, and on Zen practice, and on taking pleasure in the everyday dewdrop world.

About Robert Aitken

ROBERT AITKEN is the author of more than a dozen books about Buddhism, including A Zen Wave, Encouraging Words, and Taking the Path of Zen. A dedicated Buddhist for most of his life, he is a former abbot and roshi of the Honolulu Diamond Sangha in Hawaii, which he co-founded with his late wife Anne Hopkins Aitken in 1959. He now lives in retirement at the Palolo Zen Center in Honolulu.


“Aitken, the first American Zen Roshi (master) and, since 1959, a teacher at the Diamond Sangha in Hawaii, continues to be one of the most articulate American presenters of Zen Buddhism. This collection of some of his previously published essays clearly shows why he has this reputation… Though the texts may be unfamiliar to many, Aitken provides enough background to lead even the casual reader to a deeper understanding of their meaning and their importance in Zen. In the remaining two sections, “Practice” and “Taking Pleasure in the Dharma,” Aitken discusses such diverse topics as koans, marriage, money, and “Wallace Stevens and Zen.” A marvelous, wide-ranging collection…” —Library Journal

“Aitken is a master of archetype and metaphor, offering the Westerner everyday counsel on the uses of money or the damaging effects of gossip and manipulation, followed by more lofty admonishment to the Zen student to give up the path of reason for the path of poetry. Rounding out these diverse selections are Aitken’s reminiscences of his teachers’ lives and words and his ongoing comments on engaged Buddhism, in its activities of social justice and conservation, reminding us that in Buddhism human beings are not a special class of beings.” —Booklist

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