This is not a dry scholarly book on Zen. It is a fascinating introduction into a study of self-enlightenment and inner reason that has been a driving force of all Japanese culture. Written by Reginal Horace Blyth (1898-1964) this is a volume free of the dry pedantry that has hobbled so many well meaning French and English studies of Zen. It is free also of the breathless mystery-mongering that unfortunately has bloated American Zen.
Blyth reads easily. The questions he poses; the views he offers....all lead to a sense of inner self and an awakening of an awareness of the surrounding universe and one's relationship to it.
After discussing "What is Zen?" (and what isn't) Blyth sketches a history of Zen dating from 1000 B.C. to715 A.D., the year of the death of the Sixth patriarch, Huineg. With a historical background thus established, Blyth next provides translations and commentary on some of the most important and basic Zen literature in existence. For the Zen initiate then, this book is an excellent beginning. For the practitioner, further meaningful revelations await.