“I welcome with great pleasure Robert Aitken Roshi's introduction to Zen practice, Taking the Path of Zen. I feel this will be a valuable source of information and inspiration both for those who have a passing interest in the subject and those who have determined to set out on the path of Zen themselves.
As an American who has trained in Zen practice for many years Aitken Roshi has a special understanding of the problems and questions which plague Western students of Zen. His book will thus be a godsend for people who have sought an introduction to Zen in their own language, free of the foreignisms that cultural differences can produce.
It is my sincere wish that this work will gain the wide readership it so deserves.” —Yamada Koun Roshi
Robert Aitken's introduction to Zen came in a Japanese prison camp during World War II, after he was captured as a civilian in Guam. R. H. Blyth, author of Zen in English Literature, was imprisoned in the same camp, and in this unlikely setting Aitken began the first of several important apprenticeships. After the war Aitken returned often to Japan to study. He became friends with D. T. Suzuki, and studied with Nagakawa Soen Roshi and Yasutani Hakuun Roshi. In 1959 Robert Aitken and his wife, Anne, established a Zen organization, the Diamond Sangha, which has two zos in Hawaii. Aitken was given the title "Roshi" and authorized to teach by Yamada Koun Roshi, his current teacher, in 1974. He continues to teach and study Zen in Hawaii, where he has lived since the age of five.