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Zen Comics

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Comics communicate the Zen spirit perfectly. Laughter deflates pretension and a good rap on the head sometimes transcends so-called logic. In the words of Zen, "Nothing is left for you but to laugh!"


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Comics communicate the Zen spirit perfectly. Laughter deflates pretension and a good rap on the head sometimes transcends so-called logic. In the words of Zen, "Nothing is left for you but to laugh!"

30 review for Zen Comics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manny

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    So well done - amazing and informative!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob Redmond

    Ioanna Salajan drew a comic strip for members of her local Buddhist community in Amsterdam in the early 70's; the strips quickly became an underground sensation in Holland and England. She eventually published two volumes of the comics, in 1974 and 1982. This book is Volume 1. All hand-drawn and lettered in black ink, they depict famous koans and scenes from the Zen tradition, using a monk and a variety of sometimes dim-witted monks. The drawings are simple; so is the text for that matter, but th Ioanna Salajan drew a comic strip for members of her local Buddhist community in Amsterdam in the early 70's; the strips quickly became an underground sensation in Holland and England. She eventually published two volumes of the comics, in 1974 and 1982. This book is Volume 1. All hand-drawn and lettered in black ink, they depict famous koans and scenes from the Zen tradition, using a monk and a variety of sometimes dim-witted monks. The drawings are simple; so is the text for that matter, but the principles are unadulterated Zen. Here's an example (.p. 74): Master is bringing tea to a befuddled disciple just waking up: —Disciple: Master, how can we escape from dressing and eating every day? —Master: We dress, we eat. In the next frame, Master has set the tea on the table where it steams; the disciple is still in bed. —Disciple: I don't understand. —Master: Then get dressed and come eat. * In another example, Master and disciple are sitting side by side. Word balloons show this exchange in four frames: —Disciple: Master, what is the way to liberation? —Master: Show me your chains! —Disciple: I don't have any chains! —Master: Then why are you seeking liberation? * Here are a couple koans that Salajan illustrates in single panels with simple line drawings: "When the ordinary man attains knowledge he's a sage; when the sage attains understanding he's an ordinary man." * "What was your face before your parents were born?" * It's a book one does not read at one sitting, but a little bit each day for a while. I wonder why there aren't more comics on Zen; it lends itself to the medium as Salajan and the long-running success of her books proves. * WHY I READ THIS BOOK: I read this book years ago during a Zen Buddhist phase in which I read tons of DT Suzuki, Paul Reps, Robert Aitken, as well as the old masters. I would go to the Kinokuniya Bookstore in the old Uwajimaya and browse books in Japanese, not understanding a single word. They had an English section in the back, where I found this book, which I now remember I probably saw first at some hippie community house in the way back day. When I purged all my books in the mid-90's I lost it, but on a trip to Powell's during the Puget Sound Bookseller's Association conference (the Powell's trip was 10 times better than the conference), I found this copy for $3. Score.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    After reading Travel Letter, where Sangharakshita stops into used book stores all the time I got the hankering to peruse used book stores. I was in Kent, and their library has a sale every weekend. I found this little jem for a dollar. While I don't always agree with the way people portray Zen, I find a comic about a Buddist talk lovely because I hope my son will pick it up. He thinks I'm going to hell because I don't believe in God. I'll leave it laying around, and hope my son, who likes comics After reading Travel Letter, where Sangharakshita stops into used book stores all the time I got the hankering to peruse used book stores. I was in Kent, and their library has a sale every weekend. I found this little jem for a dollar. While I don't always agree with the way people portray Zen, I find a comic about a Buddist talk lovely because I hope my son will pick it up. He thinks I'm going to hell because I don't believe in God. I'll leave it laying around, and hope my son, who likes comics, picks it up. I like the drawings and the little sentiments are not horrible. Quite an interesting book, that came out in 1974.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    funnily enlightening or enlighteningly funny?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Brilliant and darn near life-changing. A good friend gave me my copy long ago and I consider it a cherished object. Zen as simple and irreverent as it ought to be.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert Day

    Combining two great innovations of this world: comics and Zen Buddhism - can't lose!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meli

    A quick and joyful read over breakfast. Zen seems super troll-y. I don't think I'll be a zen master because I enjoy living in the world too much, but I did enjoy this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharan Goudgaon

    This book explains some of the best Zen stories with pictures. The book does not provide an insight or commentary on these Zen stories. It only has some good pictures along with the text of stories. Its a good way to start reading the Zen literature.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samu

    Most of this I don't understand at all. That's okay.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Stay away from Zen maters, they will hit you with a stick.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I know almost nothing about zen, but I still managed some chuckles from this book. There is a bit of a "who's on first?" dynamic between the student and old master. My favorite comic was about making tea, and I could actually see that dialogue exchange happening in real life. There were definitely comics centered around famous koans—one of the last pages features a comic about the mu koan. This book was also a quick read—I read half of it while I was waiting for someone to get ready to leave the I know almost nothing about zen, but I still managed some chuckles from this book. There is a bit of a "who's on first?" dynamic between the student and old master. My favorite comic was about making tea, and I could actually see that dialogue exchange happening in real life. There were definitely comics centered around famous koans—one of the last pages features a comic about the mu koan. This book was also a quick read—I read half of it while I was waiting for someone to get ready to leave their house, and read the other half once we got back to my house. Perhaps next time I'm waiting I'll read the follow-up, Zen Comics 2.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Siina

  14. 4 out of 5

    Noran Miss Pumkin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leland

  16. 4 out of 5

    R.S. Amazryk

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rlyacht

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ishmaelax

  19. 5 out of 5

    Victor

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sam Walters

  22. 5 out of 5

    Takako

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barry

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mik

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sari Hakko

  27. 5 out of 5

    A.J. Howells

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  30. 4 out of 5

    Juno 1101

    let's read zen...let'play a LIFE in a kindergarten ! :)

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