Eastern wisdom, modern life: Collected talks 1960-1969 by Alan Watts

book coverI first learned about Buddhism in an undergraduate course on Eastern philosophy. The class read the work of a Zen master, which we all found dense, complicated, and perplexing yet interesting. To save us the several anguishing hours trying to interpret eastern philosophy with a Western mind, I wish that we had read Alan Watts’ book. Watts writes about Buddhism is simple and eloquent language using Western terms to explain contrary eastern perspectives: in the Western world were accustomed very much to thinking of spiritual things as being set apart and distinctly separate from everyday lifeas out of this world,and not of the natural world.But in the art of Chinese and Japanese Zen Buddhism we see a concentration on everyday life. And even when the great sages of Buddhism are depicted, they are depicted in a secular style, just like ordinary people (p. 24).

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