An excellent, practical introduction to Zen meditation. Written in a warm and easily accessible style, this book appeals to anyone with an interest in meditation, Zen, or, as is often the case today, a combination of the two. The book emphasizes the importance of receiving good instruction and of finding groups to practice with, yet it lays out the necessary steps to practice Zen meditation on your own. The book includes easily followed exercises to help the reader along. For anyone looking to uncover a clear and insightful path into the philosophy and practice of Zen meditation, this book represents the culmination of that search.
Sensei Daishin was born in London, England, to a Jewish-Christian family of Eastern European backgrounds. He began Zen practice in Philadelphia in 1967, receiving both lay and Priest ordination in the Korean Chogye Order of Zen from the Venerable Seo Kyung-bo. He later practiced with (then) Maezumi Sensei at the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA), where he was in residence until 1979. He served as pastoral counselor, and was publishing editor of the ZCLA Journal and the Zen Writings Series. In 1999, Daishin renewed his Priest vows with Sensei Yoshin Jordan, and returned to ZCLA to study with Roshi Egyoku. In 2003 he received Preceptor Transmission and was empowered as Dharma Holder, and subsequently received Dharma Transmission in June 2008. Sensei Daishin has a PsyD in Psychology from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical practice. He leads an affiliated sitting group, the Ocean Moon Sangha, in Santa Monica and teaches Buddhist psychology and zazen to mental health professionals. Daishin is the author of To Forget the Self and Zen Meditation in Plain English (Wisdom, 2002) and is co-editor with Roshi Egyoku of the On Zen Practice collection). He is married to Concetta Getsuren Alfano, a Zen practitioner, psychoanalyst and co-founder of the Center for Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. Daishin has one son.
"The jolt of confidence you get when discussing a day's performance with a seasoned veteran can take any activity to a higher level. In his concise and informative Zen Meditation in Plain English, meditation veteran John Daishin Buksbazen gives detailed directions for each step of Zen-style meditation, from getting into the different postures and developing breath concentration, all the way up to intensive training periods. His focus is on getting the fundamentals right. He also offers a rare introduction to the importance and mechanics of group practice and a well-selected Frequently Asked Questions" section at the end. While Buksbazen repeatedly says that there is no substitute for a good teacher, until you find one, Zen Meditation in Plain English will do nicely."
– Brian Bruya, Religion Editor, Amazon.com
"Buksbazen, a psychotherapist who was ordained a Zen priest in 1968, offers practical and down-to-earth advice about the specifics of Zen meditation. The bulk of this primer is concerned with introducing the basics of zazen, or seated meditation: how to position the body; how and when to breathe; what to think about. Helpful diagrams illustrate the full lotus, Burmese, kneeling and other positions. Buksbazen even provides a 'zazen checklist' to help beginners remember all of the steps involved in zazen, which as he notes is more difficult than it appears.... He builds a strong case for the powerful effect of being involved with a community of other practitioners and follows this with concrete information about group practice, including meditation retreats and other intensive training periods. This is a fine introduction to Zen meditation practice, grounded in tradition yet adapted to contemporary life."
– Publishers Weekly
"John Buksbazen's book is an authentic presentation of a universal and timeless teaching, particularly valuable because of the practical clarity and warmth of its style."
– Dennis Gempo Merzel Roshi, author of The Eye that Never Sleeps, Abbot of Kanzeon Zen Center
"Here is a lucid guide to the first step of any serious spiritual journey. All of the usual fat that accompanies works of this type has been trimmed away, leaving the bones and marrow--the essentials that any new practitioner needs to know to enter the way."
– John Daido Loori, Roshi, Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery
"An engaging introduction to bringing Zen meditation to a contemporary lifestyle. Comprehensive and step-by-step, the book also puts this practice into its proper historic and theological place. Thus, the book offers twin streams of thought that will enchant those seeking physical ease and those who wish to understand the basic foundations of the Zen Buddhist way. Buksbazen spices his book with light humor, recognizing questions and concerns that some people may not feel comfortable openly addressing (falling asleep, getting 'addicted' to meditation) and noting ways the Zen mind can put oomph into even boring chores. Buksbazen never hard-sells his faith to the reader but rather outlines its basic tenets and allows the reader to respond based on individual disposition."
– New York Resident
"Clear, simple and well grounded in years of experience, Daishin's book is a real gift to anyone interested in Zen practice."
– Bernie Glassman, founder of the Zen Peacemaker's Order
"John Daishin Buksbazen has brought the practice of Zen home to us all. It is as simple as stretching exercises, as intimate as counting the breaths, as uncomplicated as accepting one's self, as ordinary as enjoying one's friends."