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The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen

Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

An introduction to Zen unlike any you’ve seen before—inspired by manga and graphic novels.

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Zen offers a comprehensive overview of Soto Zen Buddhism in a delightfully captivating way. Complete with dynamic, detailed illustrations, Soto Zen Priest Seigaku Amato uses a semi-narrative style to take you on a visual tour of Buddhism and, using specifics to illuminate universals, dives deep into the practices and forms of Soto Zen.

Whether you are just taking your first step or have been practicing Zen for years, this creative and profound book will be a constant companion and guide on your journey as it explores topics such as
• a brief history of Buddhism,
• an iconographic overview of various buddhas and bodhisattvas,
• an introduction to the various practices of Zen including meditation (zazen), work practice (samu), and meditative eating (oryoki),
• a what’s what of holidays, ceremonies, temple instruments, and religious vestments, and
• a how-to guide for setting up a home altar.

Seigaku Amato is a writer, illustrator, and Soto Zen Buddhist priest registered with the Soto-Shu of Japan and is an Assistant Minister at Long Beach Buddhist Church. His work has been published in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Buddhadharma, and New World Library publications. Seigaku works full-time polishing the rough edges of his personality, which is a never ending job. 

“This is a cute book—but it’s not just cute; it’s also deep and profound and is one of the best guides to Zen practice I have ever come across. The illustrations are delightful and the written sections are clear and easy to understand. I give it a million zillion stars!”

– Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen

“I loved this book and smiled the whole way through. But don’t be fooled by its whimsy! There’s a wealth of experience, knowledge, and devotion behind these illustrations. This book is a perfect guide for a beginning Zen student and makes a delicious snack for the more advanced practitioner.”

– Gesshin Greenwood, author of Bow First, Ask Questions Later

“Touching on traditional monastic practice, as well as how home practice is evolving here in the West, if you want a sense of the feel of traditional Soto practice, there may be no better book. Sweet. Charming. Relentless. Sensei Amato opens his heart and shares something wonderful. I highly recommend this book.”

– James Ford, author of Introduction to Zen Koans

“Seigaku Amato explains such characteristics in understandable way with lively illustrations. This book is a friendly, unique guide for those who are interested in Soto Zen and wish to understand its history, teaching and day-to-day practice.”

– Shohaku Okumura, author of Realizing Genjokoan and Living by Vow

“Such a sweet, smiling, moving introduction to the basic ways and ancient rituals of Soto Zen traditions and practices, honoring the old and orthodox ways yet open to modern ways too. The beauty and joy of this book is found in the very personal, poignant or funny ink drawings by the author accompanying the simple text. The book also presents one of the best descriptions of Zazen I have come across, hitting all the right notes. Most Western practitioners will learn some surprising things about Soto practice too.”

– Jundo Cohen, author of The Zen Master’s Dance