Buddhism and Literature Western Literature - Essay

Western Literature

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

R. H. Blyth

SOURCE: "What is Zen?" in Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics, Hokuseido Press, 1942, pp. 1-24.

[In the following essay, Blyth endeavors to find a definition of Zen by providing examples of the philosophy from English literature.]

Consider the lives of birds and fishes. Fish never weary of the water; but you do not know the true mind of a fish, for you are not a fish. Birds never tire of the woods; but you do not know their real spirit, for you are not a bird. It is just the same with the religious, the poetical life: if you do not live it, you know nothing about it.…

[Zen] is the real religious,...

(The entire section is 48636 words.)