• Shows how Zen offers a creative problem-solving mechanism and moral guide ideal for the stresses and problems of daily life
• Shares the author’s secular, vernacular interpretations of the Four Noble Truths, the Three Treasures, the Eightfold Path, and other fundamental Buddhist ideas
During the nearly 3,000 years since the Buddha lived, his teachings have spread widely around the globe. In each culture where Buddhism was introduced, the Buddha’s teachings have been pruned and modified to harmonize with local customs, laws, and cultures. We can refer to these modifications as “gift wrapping,” translating the gifts of Buddha’s teachings in ways sensible to particular cultures in particular times. This gift-wrapping explains why Indian, Tibetan, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and Indonesian Buddhism have significant differences.
In this engaging guide to Zen Buddhism, award-winning actor, narrator, and Zen Buddhist priest Peter Coyote helps us peer beneath the Japanese gift-wrapping of Zen teachings to reveal the fundamental teachings of the Buddha and show how they can be applied to contemporary daily life. The author explains that the majority of Western Buddhists are secular and many don’t meditate, wear robes, shave their heads, or believe in reincarnation. He reminds us that the mental/physical states achieved by Buddhist practice are universal human states, ones we may already be familiar with but perhaps never considered as possessing spiritual dimensions.
Exploring Buddha’s core teachings, the author shares his own secular and accessible interpretations of the Four Noble Truths, the Three Treasures, and the Eightfold Path within the context of his lineage and the teachings of his teacher and the teachers before him. He looks at Buddha’s teachings on our singular reality that appears as a multiplicity of things and on the “self” that perceives reality, translating powerful spiritual experience into the vernacular of modern life.
Revealing the practical usefulness of Buddhist philosophy and practice, Zen in the Vernacular shows how Zen offers a creative problem-solving mechanism and moral guide ideal for the stresses and problems of everyday life.