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Hara: The Vital Center of Man


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Table of Contents


Part I--Hara in the Life of the Japanese
1 Hara in the Life of the Japanese
2 Hara in the Life of the Japanese
3 Hara as the Purpose of Practice
4 Hara in the Japanese Language

Part II--Hara in its General Human

1 Eastern and Western Views of Hara
The General Significance of the Center
of the Body
The European Attitude to the Belly
Natural Hara
The Two Levels

Part III--Man With Hara
1 The Living Form Centered in Hara
2 The Ego and the Vital Center
3 Malformations of the I
4 Hara as Secular Power
5 Hara in Experience: Insight and Practice
6 The Strength, Breadth, and Closeness
Engendered by Hara
7 The Order of Life in the Symbolism
of the Body

Part IV--Hara as Practice
1 The Purpose and Prerequisite of
All Practice
2 The Purpose and Limits of Practice
3 The Prerequisites of all Practice
4 Posture, Breath, Tension--as Starting
Points of Practice
5 The Practice of Right Posture
6 Sitting with Hara
7 Tension-Relaxation
8 The Practice of Breathing

Part V--Retrospect and Outlook
1 Retrospect and Outlook

Appendix--Japanese Texts
1 Okado Torajiro
2 Sato Tsuji-The Teachings of the Human
3 Kaneko Shoseki-Nature and Origins
of Man


About the Author

Karlfried Graf Durckheim (1896-1988) spent eight years in Japan before World War II and was a professor at the University of Kiel until Hitler's rise to power in 1933. In Japan he discovered Zen Buddhism in its various expressions and subsequently became a Western authority on the subject.


"Hara is essential reading for all who inquire into the spiritual principles and practices that are fundamental to all wisdom traditions and natural healing professions." * Don Stapleton, author of Self-Awakening Yoga *
"...the formalism is well worth accommodating in order to gain its gems of wisdom." * Spirit of Change, May/June 2005 *

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