Books

Hara: The Vital Center of Man
by Karlfried Graf Dürckheim

Hara: The Vital Center of Man

The classic text on balance, inner calm, and the cultivation of tranquillity using the age-old techniques of Zen masters


• Reveals the psychosomatic underpinnings of Zen, Taoism, and other Eastern traditions


• Provides an alternative to the “chest out-belly in” postural attitude of the West


• Includes translations of the wisdom teachings of three Japanese masters


• Shows how the theory and practice of Hara helps us find our essential self


When we speak of an individual’s state, we are actually referring to something that transcends the duality of body and soul, something that reflects the entirety of a person’s being. Because each of us is a unity of body and soul, there is no psychic structure or inner tension that is not reflected outwardly in the form and order of the body. When we find the physical center of the body we also find the psychological center of the soul. According to Zen masters, by correcting posture and breathing to balance this center, one can cultivate inner tranquillity and balance: the state called Hara.

In Hara, Karlfried Graf Dürckheim shows the Western world how to overcome the physical and spiritual decay of modern life by adopting the age-old techniques of Japanese Zen masters. By leaving behind the “chest out-belly in” posture and attitude of the West and adopting the belly-centered posture and attitude of Hara, individuals can live a calm, grounded, and more balanced life. Included in this classic text are vital life force practices and translations of the wisdom teachings of three Japanese Zen masters. This book also explores how the practice of Hara emphasizes empirical learning and the cultivation of self-knowledge through the perfection of arts such as painting and archery.

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