Zen Guitar

by Philip Toshio Sudo

Take the ancient wisdom of the East, apply it to the most popular instrument in the West, and what you get is ZEN GUITAR (Simon & Schuster, Fireside) -- a series of life lessons written through the metaphor of music. Drawing on the teachings from the zen arts of Asia, accomplished guitarist Philip Sudo has written ZEN GUITAR for music-lovers of all levels, from toe-tappers to working professionals. Readers won't just learn how to play guitar, they will learn how to live life through music.

Each of us carries a song inside -- the song that makes us human. We're all born with this song, but so many of us don't know how to unlock it. As Bernie Siegel, acclaimed author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles, praises, "ZEN GUITAR is filled with beautiful metaphors to help us sing and play our song of songs -- life."

While other books have shown the applicability of zen to endeavors such as karate, archery, and flower arranging, ZEN GUITAR is the first of its kind to introduce zen philosophy through music. Making no mention of scales or notes or music theory, it's written so that anyone, even those knowing nothing about music, can learn to identify the zen spirit in a song and see how it carries over to all walks of life, from the classroom to business to sports to childrearing and the home. "A simple and clear step inside the process of making music, ZEN GUITAR is for anyone who is willing to be in a creative mind," states Pat Irwin, guitar player for the B-52's.

Having lived in Japan for 12 years, dabbled in the martial arts as a child and then trained under a martial arts master later in life, Sudo welcomes his readers as though they were entering a Japanese dojo or martial arts school. As students of the dojo, Sudo takes them through a journey from white belt to black belt and beyond. Similar to the discipline needed to excel in the martial arts, Sudo believes "that learning to play guitar is inseparable from learning to harmonize body, mind, and spirit...To truly play from your soul, you must have all aspects of yourself working together as one."

Each chapter contains a series of lessons appropriate to particular belt level and each lesson is prefaced by a quote from a famous musician, spanning from Eric Clapton to Andre Segovia, that pertains to the teaching at hand. In addition, many of the lessons bring in terms from the Japanese language to help readers understand the nuances of zen.

After reading ZEN GUITAR, readers will come away with a new and contemplative outlook on life, spiritual fulfillment and a yearning for harmonious living. As Deng Ming Dao, author of 365 TAO, praises, "Philip Sudo provides an obvious grounding in tradition with a fresh and original perspective."


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by Philip Toshio Sudo
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: February 11, 1997
Price: $20.00
ISBN: 0-684-83090-6