Zen by Alan Watts

"There is nothing that men desire more than life ... In one form or another they try to possess it by every possible means, as happiness, as power, as joy, as wealth, as spiritual insight, and even as simple existence to which they cling with all their might for fear that it will be taken away. But one thing is certain: the harder you try to posess life, the faster it slips away from you, and the less you understand of its mystery." — Alan Watts, Zen

Seventy years after it's original printing, New World Library has printed a beautiful gift edition 80-page book, including wonderful ink drawings and calligraphy by Alan Watts himself.

The New York Times has called Alan Watts, "the foremost Western interpreter of Eastern thought for the modern world." In a sense, this book embodies the aesthietic of Zen itself. Like a brushstroke in a Japanese ink painting, each word has been sparingl and precisely arranged, with no unnecessary embelishments. In seven brief chapters, Watts captures the essence of Zen Buddhism as a religion and a way of life. He explains fundamental Zen concepts, introduces revered Zen thinkers, places Zen within the broader context of Eastern religion, and traces the influence of Zen in the arts.