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Exploring the origins of Buddhism and the ethos of the Japanese samurai, ...
Exploring the origins of Buddhism and the ethos of the Japanese samurai, university professor and martial arts practitioner Jeffrey Mann traces the close connection between the Buddhist way of compassion and the way of the warrior. This book serves as a basic introduction to the history, philosophy, and current practice of Zen as it relates to the Japanese martial arts. It examines the elements of Zen that have found a place in budo—the martial way—such as zazen, mushin, zanshin and fudoshin, then goes on to discuss the ethics and practice of budo as modern sport. Offering insights into how qualities integral to the true martial artist are interwoven with this ancient religious philosophy, this book will help practitioners reconnect to an authentic spiritual discipline of the martial arts.
"The great Zen master Hakuin contended that a samurai could accomplish in a few days of Zen practice what would take a monk a hundred days. His reasoning was that monks generally assume they have years to devote to Zen, while warriors are well aware of impending death, so warriors will throw themselves into practice with a far greater sense of urgency than monks. That being said, the relationship between martial arts and Zen has been greatly exaggerated, especially in the West. In When Buddhists Attack, Jeffrey K. Mann unpacks the facts and fiction."—Shambhala Sun
"When Buddhists Attack is an excellent examination of the relationship between one of the world's most popular ideologies, and martial arts. McCarthy and Mann have crafted an engaging, accessible, and yet still thoroughly scholarly work."—Humarashid.com
"What does a religion known for teaching non-violence have to do with martial arts disciplines designed to cripple or kill? A great deal, it turns out. … By offering insights into how the qualities of a true martial artist are linked with ancient religious philosophy, Mann hopes to help other practitioners reconnect to an authentic spiritual discipline of the martial arts."—Newswise.com
"From When Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship Between Zen and the Martial Arts I learned how the connection between the two arts formed, but that its intimacy has perhaps been exaggerated in literature and public perception. There were and are many martial artists who never practiced Zen and have no place for it in their art. Mann's book was useful for me to understand where Zen really stands in the practice of martial art (or not), and how the practice of a physical skill can actually lead to a greater spiritual enlightenment."—21Dragons.com
"If you've ever wanted to understand the true role Zen Buddhism plays in the martial arts, then look no further."—Patrick McCarthy, from the foreword
"Mann's book…illustrates the intertwining of martial arts and Zen. Mann deftly braids the physical and the spiritual into a strong rope for the serious student to ascend. This book has simplicity and yet heft—it is brilliant."—Kris Wilder, author of The Way of Kata and The Little Black Book of Violence
"This book clearly shows us how the Japanese Budo spirit is related to religion. Specifically, the author explains the concept of mushin very well, a principle to which we Japanese attribute much importance in overcoming various difficulties."—Katsumi Shimane, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology Senshu University 3rd Dan Karatedo, Jodo
"I would like to congratulate the author on this book, which is based on both experience and research. I recommend it to all traditional martial artists and anyone interested in Japanese culture."—Tetsuji Nakamura, 6th Dan, International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation Vice Chief Instructor
"…an interesting and very informative overview of Zen Buddhism and its relation to martial arts. Dr. Mann's perspective as an academic and passionate practitioner of martial arts gives the work a personal tone and energy…It will appeal to avid practitioners of martial arts as well as to anyone interested in the development of Buddhism and its relation to Japanese culture."—Charlene P. E. Burns, Ph.D. Professor, Dept. of Philosophy & Religious Studies University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Posted April 12, 2013
I am a high school sophomore and I read this book for a research project. When Buddhists Attack is a lot more
history than i would have thought. I did not like that Jeffrey K. Mann, the author, did not have much knowledge
about Buddhism before writing this book. A lot of areas of the book were parts that he took from other sources.
He even recommends some of the sources that he did for further reading on the subject. In the first few chapters,
he explains the history of Buddhism and the different types of Buddhism. He does not make as many connections
with martial arts as I would have thought he would. He only mentions a few forms of martial arts in the first chapters.
Mann's deeper explanations start on the other few chapters. He does write about the spiritual and mental affects and
of martial arts. He writes what is needed to be a dedicated, well-trained, and respected martial artist. He also writes
about the benefits from it. On these chapters, he also explains more in detail the connection of Zen and martial arts.
That is the reason I rated this book three stars. Although I did not enjoy the beginning and history part of the book, Jeffrey
K. Mann does give good connections with martial arts by the end of the book. I would recommend this book for someone
that enjoys learning about the history of Buddhism and the different roots of Buddhism.
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Posted December 27, 2013
I have been studying Buddhism for the past year and happened to come across some interesting pieces of work. This one, by far, exceeds all of my expectations that I had when I picked it up. It is an excellent piece of work, very informative and at the same time very engaging. The author keeps the readers interest through quotations of Japanese Master swordsmen, philosophers and martial artists as well as adding colorful stories to support the context presented. I learned more about zen than I could ever anticipate. He presents the extremely complicated zen concepts in a clear and concise manner leading to a deeper understanding and appreciation of this ancient art. Even though this is my review for the book I cannot help but comment about the previous comment. Seeing as he is a high school kid it is easy to understand his frustrations. I would not read a book or hold it's contents valuable if it did not have a heavy load of references,. That is the only way to be sure that the work has some backbone in it. This book is about Zen and since it is mainly concerned with Japanese, he appropriately focused on Japanese martial arts. I recommend this book for every martial artist. You have to be mature enough and intelligent enough to really appreciate and understand the concepts presented in this book. However, I believe that everyone and anyone will benefit greatly from carefully reading and analyzing it.I have studied martial arts for over 11 years in different disciplines, as well as philosophies that goes with them so I know what I am talking about when I recommend this book.
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