Zen (Buddhism) and Mysticism

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Item Code: IHL465
Author: Surekha V. Limaye
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Edition: 1992
ISBN: 8170303273
Pages: 170
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8 inch X 5.8 inch
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From the Jacket

The present book is an extensive and systematic study of various philosophical systems. These are Zen, Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism; the book elaborates the following points, (1) Zen is mysticism. It has all the characterstics of mysticism. Zen is not, God mysticism but it is mysticism of soul. A Mystic turns inwards in search of reality and he analyzes his soul or self which he finds to be a non-self which is true self. So Zen can be appropriately be described as ‘analytica1 soul mysticism’. (2) Zen and Buddhism appear to constitute essential elements of Existential philosophy and further how Zen awareness is existential in nature, though the two schools of thought belong to different times and countries. (3) Satori of enlightenment is very close to nirbija samadhi of asamprajanata samadhi of Patanjali Yoga. As Satori comes in flashes and with efforts and meditation, it can be prolonged in duration and brought about at will. (4) Zen and modern man; A modem man is technocrat, a meritocrat, lost in the humdrum and hurly burly of the modem, life, but in sea rich of inner peace, for himself, and he is not in harmony either with himself or the world.


It gives me pleasure to write these few lines as a foreword to Dr Mrs. S.V. Limaye’s ‘Zen (Buddhism) and Mysticism". This was written as a thesis for her Ph. D and is now published, with necessary editing, in the form of a book.

‘Zen Buddhism’ is a relatively new field on which not much work is done in India. Perhaps Mrs Limaye’s work seems to be the first of its kind in India. Mrs Limaye has traced the roots of Zen to the Buddha and followed it up by giving a detailed account of the Schools that have contributed to Zen thought and Practice. She has given an outline of Mahayana Schools of Asvaghosa, Laknkavatara, Madhyamaka School of Nagarjuna and Yogacara of Asanga and Vasubandhu. She has also given a broad outline of Native Religions of China that have influenced Zen viz. Taoism and Confucianism. She has also given a fairly exhaustive account of Patanjal Yoga and has drawn parallels between these Schools and Zen. She has made a very good attempt to show that Zen is essentially Buddhism of Laknkavatara with certain elements of Taoism and Yoga, by detailing Zen Philosophy, Zen discipline and Practice.

The chapter on ‘Satori’ is a luminous chapter. Her treatment of ‘Ox Herding in Zen’ is exhaustive and the explanation of the Ten Sutras is illuminating and shows that she has a good grip over her subject.

Her treatment of Zen, Yoga, Mysticism and the parallels she has drawn and the differences she has shown between existentialism and Zen shows her insight in the subject which is thorough.

She has successfully pointed out how Dr Suzuki’s claim that Zen is not mysticism, is not borne out by facts. Incidentally, she has taken care to distinguish between types of mysticism and has correctly pointed out how Zen can be called ‘Soul Mysticism’ and has also made it clear that Dr Suzuki seems to be, all the time, comparing Zen with ‘Christain God Mysticism which of course it is not.

This book is interesting both to the Scholars and lay readers. It gives me great pleasure to commend this book to the readers.

Chapter I
Introduction 1
Chapter II
Part I Philosophical Background of Zen 5
Section I Philosophy of Buddha 5
Section II Various Schools of Buddhism 8
Section III Asvaghosa 10
Section IV Lankavtara Sutra 14
Section V The Madhyamika School: The Theory of the middle course 17
Section VI Yogacara School of Asanga and Vasubandhu 21
Part II Taoism 24
Section I Confucianism 24
Section II Taoism of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu 27
Part III Yoga 33
Chapter III 47
Section I What is Zen? 47
Section II Birth of two Schools of Zen, Soto and Rinzai 57
Section III Meditation and discipline in a Zen Monastary 64
Section IV Koan, Mando 74
Section V Concept of Self in Zen Buddhism 82
Section VI Satori 87
Chapter IV Mysticism 114
Chapter V Existentialism 130
Zen Existentialism 135
Chapter VI Zen and Mysticism 139
Chapter VII Zen and Patanjal Yoga 145
Chapter VIII Zen and Modern Man 151
Bibliography 156
Index 162
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