Zen in Paris



Philippe Coupey

Les éditions du Relié

Language of origin

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216 pages

‘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.

Philippe Coupey

Philippe Rei Ryu Coupey is a Soto Zen teacher in the lineage of Kodo Sawaki. Born and raised in New York City, after studying literature he took an unusual series of jobs — including uranium prospector, housepainter, social worker and translator. In 1968 he settled in Paris. Four years later he met the Zen master Taisen Deshimaru with whom he practised zazen. He quickly became one of Deshimaru’s closest disciples, working on teachings which are given directly in English. Three books came out of this collaboration. Ordained as a monk, he followed his master until the latter’s death in 1982. Since then he has continued to work and teach within the International Zen Association, which Master Deshimaru founded.
Agence Schweiger

Agence Schweiger