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  You are in: Home > Philosophy > Buddha is Dead  

Buddha is Dead
Nietzsche and the Dawn of European Zen

Manu Bazzano

Manu Bazzano has edited two best-selling poetry anthologies, Zen Poems (2001) and Haiku for Lovers (2003). He recently translated The Way of Awakening (2005), the most comprehensive single commentary on the great classic of Buddhist literature, Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara, and is the editor of the Zen quarterly Hazy Moon.


Drawing on Zen as well as on Nietzsche’s thought and its ramifications in and for western culture, this book is a fervent call for a re-visioning of philosophy as vocation. The author is critical of the status quo and committed to intellectual integrity; the result is a creative and adventurous enterprise which is no longer exclusively identified with academia or with the methodology of logic. Filtered through Nietzsche’s hammer – by which he sounded out gods old and new – Buddhism in the West can avoid the pitfalls which emerged during its gestation period in the twentieth century: otherworldly spiritualism, conservatism, denial of the body.
… The philosophy and the psychology of European Zen advocated by Manu Bazzano in Buddha is Dead: Nietzsche and the Dawn of European Zen is an unconditional affirmation of living-and-dying. It is an extraordinary fertile viewpoint that will be appreciated by all those who are interested in Eastern philosophy and religions, and who seek life-affirming wisdom.

After a Foreword, Preface (and Precaution), and Introduction, the text comprises one hundred and eighty-nine sections, divided into seven parts.

Part One
Mission: Untimely
The True Task of Philosophy

Part Two
Great Doubt and the Death of God

Part Three
The Will to Power as Generosity

Part Four
The Crooked Path of Eternity
Time and the Eternal Return

Part Five
Beyond the Dream of Change: Towards a Zen Psychology

Part Six
On Nomadic Truth

Part Seven
The Innocence of Becoming


“Eloquent and elegant. Manu Bazzano must be the world’s best advertisement for the benefits of Zen training! His book is extremely important for the world at this critical juncture in its history, and undoubtedly deserves and will receive a broad readership.” Graham Parkes, author of Composing the Soul: Reaches of Nietzsche's Psychology, and editor of Nietzsche and Asian Thought

“Highly polemical and engaged in asking the right kinds of questions and in an intelligent way.” David Brazier, author of Zen Therapy

Buddha is Dead looks in some depth at the life and work of Nietzsche, particularly at what the author sees as a parallel between the ‘great doubt’ of Zen and the ‘creative illness’ through which Nietzsche passed in order to gain some of his most profound insights. European nihilism as encountered in philosophy and the voidness of the Mahayana have been dealt with in great depth by philosophers such as Nishitani. Bazzano takes a poetic approach to these subjects.

The great advantage of a formal spiritual training is that the trainee goes on to experience the fullness of life tragically. We can do it our own way, but at our peril. The Buddha and those who have followed him have beaten a path to the deathless that we would do well to follow if we wish to avoid the pitfalls and tragedy of those who wish to explore on their own.

Buddha is Dead consists of seven parts and 189 chapters. It is easy for the reader to dip into at almost any point.” Reference & Research Book News

“Illuminates the common radicalism, non-conformity and insistence on honesty and integrity that underpin what is most challenging and provocative in the two traditions of Buddhism in general (and Zen Buddhism in particular) and the tradition (or anti-tradition) in Western philosophy that finds its most exultant spokesman in the figure of Friedrich Nietzsche.

It is inspiring to be reminded of Nietzsche’s radical vision and how the author links it to Buddhism and Zen. Manu Bazzano’s book serves to reaffirm the creative side of doubt, especially in those moments when doubt begins to drag you down.” Stephen Batchelor, author of the bestselling Buddhism Without Beliefs and Living with the Devil

“One of the most profound and not always well known understandings of Zen Buddhism is that Great Doubt and deep inquiry will lead directly to Great Liberation and Great Faith. In Zen one learns the importance of embracing doubt and that doubt is the seed of Transcendental wisdom. One of the main themes, exemplified by Nietzsche's life, is that embracing doubt does not lead necessarily to cynicism and negativity, but can bring about a change of heart and allows for faith to arise, which brings Zen into the picture ... This book has the potential to bridge the gap between East and West.” D. Genpo Merzel, Roshi, author of The Path of the Human Being: Zen Teachings on the Bodhisattva Way


Publication Details

Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
252 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
September 2006
  Illustrated:   No
Paperback Price:
£17.95 / $35.00

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