An Invaluable Resource on a Major Stream of Buddhist Thought, Experience, and Practice

The Three Pillars of Zen: Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment by Philip Kapleau


This is a book that, I think, people will come to having already cultivated a degree of awareness of some of the forms of Buddhism, and of their philosophies and approaches to practice. They may currently be developing their own practices and have even attended some sesshins.

Maybe they’re experiencing some dissatisfaction with aspects of this present practice and are looking for guidance in order to improve its course and correct their path. Maybe, in the absence of access to sesshins, other practitioners, or a teacher, they are looking for an alternative, substitute support system. Maybe they want to compare their practice with the form of Zen detailed here – to adapt or see if there is anything worth cherry-picking, adopting, and incorporating, which may make it more satisfying and rewarding.

If it is approached in this way, with a discerning mind formed of experience and direct knowledge, there is a lot that can be got, and maybe dismissed (until a later date?), from this book.

As many of us will approach this text within our own frames of experience and knowledge, it is up to the individual reader to distinguish between the good and the bad, the correct and the incorrect. Suffice to say that I did find much here to assist me in my own practice, both to correct and affirm certain aspects of it, and to complement my experience. And while there are aspects here that don’t speak to me at my present level of progress, who knows how this may be reframed as experience continues to evolve? Subsequently, I do consider this book an invaluable resource to have and to have had recourse to.

Whether you adopt or dismiss, there is a lot of well presented insight here from convincing sources, which a mind already on some kind of Buddhist or mindfulness path will find very rewarding and will get a lot from. It is easy to see why this book has been so popular for so long and why it is considered a classic in many circles. And while I feel, due to it being more of a text for people already on the path, it is not as transformative, life-changing, or revelatory as maybe other Buddhist or philosophic works, it still comes highly recommended from me.



Freedom is buried within censorship.
Myths of the mighty perpetuated without.

Doubt is sidelined.
Fear is served.
Repression consumed.

Unlimit what you are allowed to think
Unlimit what you are allowed to say
Unlimit yourself



Link to the spark that lit this piece:

The Reluctant Butterfly

The Coast around L’Houmeau to Les Pierriéres Field: Monday 21 August 2017

The Coast around L'Houmeau to Les Pierriéres Field Monday 21 August 2017 #2

The Coast around L'Houmeau to Les Pierriéres Field Monday 21 August 2017 #3

“The place is alive with butterflies.”

The Coast around L'Houmeau to Les Pierriéres Field Monday 21 August 2017 #6

And snails.

The Reluctant Butterfly

The Coast around L'Houmeau to Les Pierriéres Field Monday 21 August 2017 #5

Living jewels dancing in the morning sun
Looking for love
An extension of themselves
Open up your wings
Claim your energies
Lively up a scene blanched with broken shells

Embroider life on dust,
where man made none.
Oblivious to all your nature brings

More precious felt within
Allowed to bear witness
You kissed us on the shin,
on the thigh, and on the cheek
Blushed aside by embarrassment,
Inwardly, a cry

Tarred with a little shame
as we recoiled at your stroke
You seemed a little hurt and rolled your wings like in a wilt

as I glanced away,
unfurled your flame and flew away.

Leaving me amongst the shells that stealthily assume
a life I hadn’t seen
behind the veil I’d placed between
Themselves performing their merry dance.
Texturing the scene the light danced up

And me
Within its heart
Welcomed back
The orphan child

The Coast around L'Houmeau to Les Pierriéres Field Monday 21 August 2017 #4

11:30. E’Leclerc. A guy who has quite clearly had quite a serious stroke going out of his way to communicate with me, which he did – which we did. A beautiful moment of humanity shared.

You see – we can do it 😃

The Coast around L'Houmeau to Les Pierriéres Field Monday 21 August 2017 #7

“Feels like we’ve changed climate, doesn’t it?”

16:00. Break. “Yipes!” Brushes grassho… no, cri… , no, er… praying mantis! Standing there, proud as punch – maybe shook out of its exoskeleton by this blundering giant that had just destroyed its slumber.

I was a bit taken aback, too 😱

“Well, stop looking like a blade of grass if you don’t wanna get run over!”

“And you eat men.”

Unless it was a man.

We were both on shaky ground.


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