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    Review of ZEN STUDENT by Raymond Reed Hardy

    Wheatmark, June 2006

    This book is intended for someone who already knows a bit about Zen meditation--to provide food for thought. Since I meditate regularly (not specifically Zen), I was interested in learning more about Zen. But I don't know enough, apparently, because I found this book confusing. Perhaps it's just impossible to "instruct" on a subject that really has no set path, no goals, no guideposts. The message of the book is that each student finds his own path, and no one's path is better than anyone else's.

    Some segments of the book were interesting; I particularly enjoyed the "mindfulness stories," which did help me get a slightly better grasp of that concept, and the descriptions of a Zen retreat (which told me enough to know I never want to do one). Other than that, I found much of the material did not go into enough depth to really educate me, just touching briefly on the Vedas and Sutras and Buddha's Eightfold Path. In fact, the book wasn't well organized and seemed just a hodgepodge to me.

    Still, if you're into Zen, you might really get something out of it. The author claims that if you keep it around and read it from time to time, you'll pick up something new with each reading. When you are ready to learn something, then you will get what you need to get from the book. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." I think probably I'm just not ready for most of what's in this book--but you might be.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 7/22/06

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).