Zen in Paris
|Language of origin
‘Zen in Paris’ is a book of teachings by Zen Master Philippe Rei Ryu Coupey. It was compiled by one of his close disciples from oral teachings given, for a large part, in the Paris and Seine Zen dojos over several years.
These days, the quest for something deeper than the superficial consumerist lives that surround us is becoming more imperative for many people. While books can guide people’s search for methods of practice to find that depth, there are many publications which allow sincere practices to become side-lined by the parallel quest to make it easy for ourselves. This can so often leave practice through the body ignored in favour of the intellect or imaginary ideas that are more comfortable.
In this book Rei Ryu never allows the basic physical practice of Zen, zazen, to take second place. Therefore, while he is addressing the layperson in very everyday language, placing this ancient practice into a modern context, he does not enable some of the recent misconstrued ideas about Zen to find their way into this text.
It is a straightforward book about a practice which is “simple, but not easy” as Rei Ryu’s master Taisen Deshimaru used to say. It takes many of the different aspects which arise when embarking upon Zen practice, and chapter by chapter gives us the freshness of Rei Ryu’s expression of that aspect. In this way both beginners and experienced practitioners can use this book as ‘friend along the Way’, clarifying some of the questions that may arise from one’s practice. It does not give us doctrines or suggest outcomes, but emphasises the simple continuity of following this practice of zazen in our daily lives, not for “health, wealth or well-being”, but for the freedom we discover by touching something which is already deep within ourselves.