The Social Organization of Zen Practice: Constructing Transcultural Reality

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 24, 1988 - Philosophy - 171 pages
1 Review
Preston provides both a first-hand account and a theoretical analysis of the way an American Zen community works. The form Zen practice takes in the United States is described in detail through close study of two Zen groups in southern California. Preston leads readers through the buildings and grounds of a Zen residential community and introduces them to the main forms of Zen practice, paying special attention to the styles and implications of meditation. The book's second half develops a theory of the nature of religious reality as it is shared by Zen practitioners. Prestonattempts to explain how this reality--based on a group's ethnography yet at the same time transcending it--relates to meditation and other elements of Zen practice by drawing on the notions of ritual, practice, emotions, and the unconscious found in the writings of Pierre Bourdieu, Randall Collins, Erving Goffman, and Emile Durkheim.
 

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Contents

A Profile of Zen Membership and Formal Organization
14
The Zen Teacher
28
What Is Zen?
41
I
54
II
65
Doing Zen Meditation
78
The Social Organization of Zen Meditative Ritual
98
The Meanings of Zen Practice
122
Summary and Conclusions
143
Notes
153
References
160
Index
169
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