The Beginner’s Guide to Zen
Inner Peace, Mindfulness, and Happiness through Zen Buddhism, Zen Habits, and Zen Meditation
There are thousands upon thousands of students who have practiced meditation and obtained its fruits. Do not doubt its possibilities because of the simplicity of the method.
— Dogen Zenji, Zen Master (1200-1253)
The practice of Zen Buddhism offers profound benefits for our overwrought age. And yet Zen is often hard to understand, primarily because the literature of Zen tends to be paradoxical and puzzling. I wrote this book to provide a clear, understandable, and concise introduction to Zen for the complete beginner.
The book includes the distilled essence of the three pillars of Zen practice:
Zen philosophy. Zen isn’t what you might think it is, mainly because it’s not about thought at all. Understanding Zen motivates us to begin Zen practice and to commit to our practice.
Zen habits. The practical how-to-live wisdom drawn from the rich Zen tradition can save us from much unhappiness and can support our Zen practice.
Zen meditation (zazen). Meditation is the heart of Zen practice. Research studies show that meditation increases happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, enhances relationships, stimulates creativity and intelligence, and improves physical health. The immediate fruit of Zen meditation is a gradual quieting of our incessant inner dialog, making us more aware and more capable of enjoying the present moment. Ultimately, we find peace, joy, freedom, wisdom, our true selves. The book provides detailed, step-by-step meditation instructions aimed at the total novice.
PART I: ZEN ITSELF
1. What is Zen?
2. Zen Philosophy
3. Forget What You’ve Read
PART II: ZEN HABITS
4. Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood
5. The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts
6. The Four Buddhist Vows
PART III: ZEN MEDITATION
7. Sitting Zen Meditation: Zazen
8. Walking Zen Meditation: Kinhin
9. Integrating Zen Meditation into Our Lives
Also by M.J. Young
The Happiness Handbook: 26 Habits of Happy People that Really Work – Based on Breakthroughs in the New Science of Positive Psychology (http://bit.ly/HappinessHandbook)