Sunday, April 07, 2013

Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics

Many years ago I heard a talk while on an ordination retreat, and I heard about Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics. I wanted to read the book, but the speaker didn't want to lend out the book. I was on retreat about going for refuge, and like these retreats, there's lots of meditation, and dharma talk. I still think I'm trying to grasp the depths of going for refuge to the three jewels.

I check on line when I got home, and it's almost $200 used on Amazon. That number hasn't changed over the years.

I was on retreat, again on an ordination retreat, in California. We borrowed another order's retreat center. They had a copy. But because I was on retreat, I wasn't really into plowing through a book. At the end of the retreat, I asked if I could borrow it, promising to send it back, but they wouldn't lend it.

I've stalled reading When The Swans Came To The Lake, because it's hit times I feel I know about and it's not as interesting, but there is a bit in there about the book by R.H. Blyth.

So I googled it today. Looks like it's going to be reprinted soon, looks like Welcome Rain Publishers is going to reprint it. On their website they say it comes out in February for $15. On Barnes and Noble it says it's coming out June 16th for $9.99. No mention of this new edition on Amazon.

I thought it was on Kindle, but it's Blyth's book Zen and Zen Classics (vol 1), which looks interesting, but not the same book.

Then I figured out how to read it on Open Library. I couldn't do it on my iPad, I had to do it on my laptop and download Adobe Digital Editions, which isn't simple, but I have a copy on my laptop to read. Now I don't really like to read on my laptop much, but it is free! And you join Open Library for free. So beggars can't be choosers. And there is a way to read it till it comes out.

Now I don't want to give you the impression I'm like some rare book collector, who makes a fetish out of a book, regardless of it's contents. It's the contents I'm interested in. When I go by specialty book stores that sell expensive collector books, I have no interest. And while I enjoyed the first quarter of the book, it's not the most amazing book in the world. But it's part of the history of Buddhism coming to America, and it's a classic book about Buddhism and English literature, so I'm glad to, after many years, get my eyes on it.

Hunting for a book for years is kind of fun. I guess I'll start at the beginning, because I can't remember what page or chapter I was on, and it's been so long.

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