The Practice of Perfection
The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective
Robert Aiken, author of Encouraging Words and Taking the Path of Zen, is America’s most senior Zen Roshi. In this new book he presents the Ten Pãramitãs, of Transcendental Perfections—namely, giving, mortality, forbearance, zeal, focused meditation, wisdom, compassionate means, aspiration, spiritual power, and knowledge—two-thousand-year-old ideals that can serve us as both methods and goals. The Pãramitãs are the “skillful means” a person may employ to nurture and develop his or her spiritual and moral life.
In religious instruction we are often met be restrictions, and are told what not to do. The Pãramitãs, explained from a Zen perspective, offer the seeker ten positive means of action, ten ways to live a life of clarity and grace in a modern world where neither seems easy or even possible. The transcendental perfections can lead us toward a life that is both spiritually invigorated and socially engaged.
Aitken Roshi’s way of teaching—anecdotal, careful, insightful, and easily accessible—leads us further along the path of harmony and balance. Each of the inspiring and instructional essays in this book is followed by a section in which Aitken answers questions most often asked by his own students in their course of study. The Practice of Perfection will be useful to seekers of all cultures and faiths.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 2012
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