Zen and the Samurai

  • by D.T. Suzuki
  • Narrated by Christopher Reed
  • 2 hrs and 53 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Examine the paradox of Zen as a philosophy of both compassion and combat. Explore Zen Buddhism as it applies to the warrior, sustaining him both morally and philosophically. Learn how a great Zen Master must be familiar with both the sword of life and the sword of death, and know when and how to wield either of them. Grasp the meaning and symbolism of the sword and the code of bushido, the way of the warrior. D.T. Suzuki was Japan's foremost authority on Zen Buddhism prior to his death in 1966. Zen and the Samurai is part of a series of programs taken from Suzuki's Zen and Japanese Culture.


What the Critics Say

"There is something incredibly soothing in the old Japanese virtues, as Mr. Suzuki describes them." (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Calm Warfare

D.T. Suzuki is an excellent author - not so much for his technical, literary abilities but for his personal, experiential knowledge of his subject: Zen.

Christopher Reeds performs articulately for the narration, with no complaints here.

This wonderful, concise volume focuses on the marriage of the Zen mind and the Samurai warrior class, discussing the intimate relationship between love and war, conflict and peace, immovable movement. Suzuki weaves into his narrative many wonderful and relevant stories, such as the Samurai who practised the Way of No Sword, as well as poems and letters and myths from Zen masters and Samurai lords.

As an aspiring martial artist, I appreciate the focus upon the paradox of Zen calm in the midst of combat, however, as all of life is a continuous struggle, the entirety of the volume relates ultimately to how we live our lives, no matter what profession we may have - for at bottom, a Zen mind is necessary not only for mastery of any art, but of life and death itself and for realizing our own intrinsic immortality.

Cons? I could only wish the other essays in the series (Zen & the love of Nature, etc) were included in this one volume instead of having been split apart.
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- W. Wagoner

Fed my own meditation practice

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This book gives some insight into Zen Buddhism as practiced by the Samurai and why this religion was adopted by the Japanese warrior class. Whilst covering this, the book gave me new ideas and insights for my own meditation practice which Ive appreciated much. That said, if someone is new to meditation and seeking a "how to" book, this is probably not the one to go for as its not an intro to meditation; but if you already practice, you may appreciate the pointers that come from Suzuki's exploration of the Samurai way of Zen.

What do you think your next listen will be?

The 3 Pillars of Zen

What three words best describe Christopher Reed’s performance?


Could you see Zen and the Samurai being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

A documentary only. The stars - unknown Japanese performers.

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- Kane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-18-2000
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio