When Zen Flesh, Zen Bones was published in 1957 it became an instant sensation with an entire generation of readers who were just beginning to experiment with Zen. Over the years it has inspired leading American Zen teachers, students, and practitioners. Its popularity is as strong today as ever.
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones is a book that offers a collection of accessible, primary Zen sources so that readers can struggle over the meaning of Zen for themselves. It includes 101 Zen Stories, a collection of tales that recount actual experiences of Chinese and Japanese Zen teachers over a period of more than five centuries; The Gateless Gate, the famous thirteenth century collection of Zen koans; Ten Bulls, a twelfth century commentary on the stages of awareness leading to enlightenment; and Centering, a 4,000 year-old teaching from India that some consider to be the roots of Zen.
About the Author: Paul Reps, the compiler, was an American who lived in many countries, including India, Norway, and Japan, and studied many of man's efforts to find and realize his true spiritual stature. He was the author of several books of poems and prose. He once said that he felt "the equal of each grass blade and pebble and believe that it is possible to be happy though human and grown up."
Nyogen Senzaki, a Buddhist scholar of international character to whom Reps acknowledged a deep debt of gratitude, was born in Japan. Early in life he became a "homeless monk," wandering the land and studying from Buddhist monastery to monastery. His wanderings eventually took him to America, where for over 50 years he lived in California, with no connection with any sect, denomination, or cathedral, radiating the free and creative spirit of Zen upon all who cared to share his study, meditation, wisdom, and loving kindness.