SIT: ZEN TEACHINGS OF MASTER TAISEN DESHMIARU

Paul De Angelis

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Edited by Philippe Coupey

Hohm Press: Prescott, Arizona, 1996.

375 pp., $19.95 (paper).


Taisen Deshimaru, the Japanese Zen Master who brought a new kind of Zen to Europe in the 1970s, was an unusual missionary: a teacher without official sanction, but with a surplus of charisma. A protégé of Kodo Sawaki, who had himself shunned the Japanese Soto establishment, Deshimaru taught a Dogen-based Zen that aimed at cutting through intellectualism of all sorts - whether Cartesian rationalism or the elaborate mind-riddles so beloved by bohemian intellectual circles in the West.

Deshimaru was both a rebel and a purist. Through sheer force of character, he succeeded in making zazen seem suddenly interesting to a wide range of French and expatriate New Age intellectuals. In the process, he spawned a far-flung Zen movement with outposts over the European continent and Britain.

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