After spending thirteen years of formal training in Japan with two Zen masters, Roshi Philip Kapleau returned to the United States and founded the Zen Center in Rochester, New York. This lively and enlightening collection of writings, talks, lectures, and interviews covers a period from 1964 to 1996. In the preface, Kapleau writes: "Zen is a path of discovering one's true, innate friendship with the universe."

The author of The Three Pillars of Zen and The Zen of Living and Dying tries to relate the wisdom of Buddhism to the contemporary American scene. He notes Zen's appeal to personal experience, its respect for the unity of life, and its essential spiritual practices of hospitality, gratitude, and compassion. Kapleau does a good job explaining the ethical dimension of Zen and its treatment of the difficult problem of suffering. There are also impressive chapters on devotion, pilgrimage, and impatience in practice. All in all, these essays make the point that "as Zen practice deepens, you feel a greater closeness to all forms of life."