This is It, and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience

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Vintage Books, 1973 - Philosophy - 158 pages
The six essays in this volume all deal with the relationship of mystical experience to ordinary life. The title essay on "cosmic consciousness" includes the author's account of his own ventures into this inward realm. "Instinct, Intelligence, and Anxiety" is a study of the paradoxes of self-consciousness; "Spiritually and Sensuality," a lively discussion of the false opposition of spirit and matter; and "The New Alchemy," a balanced account of states of consciousness akin to spiritual experience induced by the aid of lysergic acid. The collection also includes the text of Watts' celebrated pamphlet, "Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen."

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I read this 23 years ago and didn't get It. I have spent the better part of those 23 years trying to. Finally, I understand. I strongly recommend this book to any would be seeker. May it help you stop seeking.

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User Review  - James - Goodreads

Watts was obviously a brilliant man, but this particular group of essays feels an awful lot like a train that picks up a lot of steam then derails a mile from the station. The first 5 essays are wonderful. Skip the 6th, or take it with a grain of salt. Read full review


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About the author (1973)

Alan W. Watts, who held both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best remembered as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and of Indian and Chinese philosophy in general. Standing apart, however, from sectarian membership, he has earned the reputation of being one of the most original and "unrutted" philosophers of the twentieth century. Watts was the author of some twenty books on the philosophy and psychology of religion that have been published in many languages throughout the world, including the bestselling The Way of Zen. An avid lecturer, Watts appeared regularly on the radio and hosted the popular television series, Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life, in the 1960s. He died in 1973.

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