I found this book, “The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk”, (an old edition) that someone gave me a long time ago. It’s a straight forward read on the life and tradition of a Zen monk in ancient and more modern times by one of the better authors on the subject. It has a bit of that “60’s curious western ideals of eastern mysticism” feel to it at times – but that can be forgiven as it’s not dumbed down. It’s an interesting subject as I’ve always wanted to; a. visit a working zendo, b. do a multi-day stay in one of the better zen centers in Canada/US, and c. get me a “fat koan” of my own and have it tear my mind to shreds for the next 30 years (just kidding on that last one).
“Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki’s “The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk” invites you to step inside the mysterious world of the Zendo, where monks live their lives in simplicity. Suzuki, best known as the man who brought Zen classics to the West, sheds light on all phases of a monk’s experience, from being refused admittance at the door to finally understanding the meaning of one’s “koan”. Suzuki explains the initiation ceremony, the act of begging, and the life of prayers, meditation, and service. Suzuki’s introduction, written in 1964, sheds light on his personal history as a young man encountering Zen thought, and the illustrations, by Zenchu Sato, reveal Sato’s experiences in a Zendo. Suzuki also includes stories from ancient Zen masters to show how others have trained in this tradition.”