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Works by
Alan Watts
(aka Alan W. Watts)
(Writer)
[1915 - 1973)

Profile created June 21, 2007
  • The Way of Zen (1936)
    The Way of Zen presents an understandable, inspirational and spiritually rewarding exploration of Zen Buddhism - "a way of liberation" that may be one of the most precious gifts of Asia to the world. For the first time on audio tape, The Way of Zen presents readings of carefully-chosen selections from Alan Watts' classic bestseller, illuminated by rare recordings of the author personally commenting on some of the concepts and ideas in the book.

  • The Legacy of Asia and Western Man (1937)

  • The Meaning of Happiness(1940)

  • The Theologica Mystica of Saint Dionysius (1944)

  • Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion (1948)
    This study of the necessity of mystical religion, also shows how traditional Western doctrine can be reconciled with the intuitive religion of the Orient.

  • Easte: Its Story and Meaning (1950)

  • The Supreme Identity (1950)

  • The Wisdom of Insecurity (1951)
    An exploration of man's quest for psychological security and spiritual certainty in religion and philosophy.

  • Myth and Ritual in Christianity (1953)

  • The Way of Zen (1957)
    The Way of Zen presents an understandable, inspirational and spiritually rewarding exploration of Zen Buddhism - "a way of liberation" that may be one of the most precious gifts of Asia to the world. For the first time on audio tape, The Way of Zen presents readings of carefully-chosen selections from Alan Watts' classic bestseller, illuminated by rare recordings of the author personally commenting on some of the concepts and ideas in the book.

  • Nature, Man and Woman (1958)
    A provocative and enduring work that reexamines humanity's place in the natural world -- and the spirit's relation to the flesh -- in the light of Chinese Taoism.

    That human beings stand separate from a nature that must be controlled, that the mind is somehow superior to the body, and that all sexuality entails a seduction -- a danger and a problem-are all assumptions upon which much of Western thought and culture is based. And all of them in some way underlie our exploitation of the earth, our distrust of emotion, and our loneliness and reluctance to love.

    Few books have challenged those assumptions as directly as this erudite and engaging work by the author of The Way of Zen. Drawing on the precepts of Taoism, Alan Watts offers an alternative vision of man and the universe -- one in which the distinctions between self and other, spirit and matter give way to a more holistic way of seeing. Nature, Man and Woman is a book of great elegance and far-reaching implication -- one of those rare texts that can change the way we think, feel, and love.

  • This Is It: and Other Essays on Zen and Spiritual Experience (1960)
    The six essays in this volume all deal with the relationship of mystical experience to ordinary life. The title essay on "cosmic consciousness" includes the author's account of his own ventures into this inward realm. "Instinct, Intelligence, and Anxiety" is a study of the paradoxes of self-consciousness; "Spiritually and Sensuality," a lively discussion of the false opposition of spirit and matter; and "The New Alchemy," a balanced account of states of consciousness akin to spiritual experience induced by the aid of lysergic acid. The collection also includes the text of Watts' celebrated pamphlet, "Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen."

  • Psychotherapy East and West (1961)
    What is the common ground between Western psychiatry and Eastern philosophy, and what has each to learn from the other? Alan Watts found a common principle that, intentionally or otherwise, seems to be used wherever therapy is trying to overcome man's false sense of himself as an isolated ego -- an ego that traps him in a perpetual flight from death and loneliness. In varying ways and degrees, both Eastern philosophy and Western psychotherapy engage the individual in experiments that vividly reveal the fallacy of this conception and give him a new feeling of identity.

  • The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness (1962)

  • The Two Hands of God: The Myths of Polarity (1963)

  • Beyond Theology: The Art of Godmanship (1964)

  • The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966)
    A witty attack on the illusion that the self is a separate ego that confronts a universe of alien physical objects.

  • Nonsense (1967) with Greg Irons, Illustrator

  • Ecstatic Adventure (1968) by Alan Watts and Ralph Metzner

  • Does It Matter? : Essays on Man's Relation to Materiality (1970)
    This is a series of essays representing philosopher Alan Watts's most recent thinking on the astonishing problems of man's relations to his material environment. The basic theme is that civilized man confuses symbol with reality, his ways of describing and measuring the world with the world itself, and thus puts himself into the absurd situation of preferring money to wealth and eating the menu instead of the dinner.

    Thus, with his attention locked upon numbers and concepts, man is increasingly unconscious of nature and of his total dependence upon air, water, plants, animals, insects, and bacteria. He has been hallucinated into the notion that the so-called "external" world is a cluster of "objects" separate from himself, that he "encounters" it, that he comes into it instead of out of it. Consequently, our species is fouling its own nest and is in imminent danger of self-obliteration.

    Here, a philosopher whose works have been mainly concerned with mysticism and Oriental philosophy gets down to the "nitty-gritty" problems of economics, technology, clothing, cooking, and housing.

  • Erotic Spirituality:  The Vision of Konarak (1971)

  • In My Own Way: An Autobiography (1915 - 1965) (1972)
    Alan Watts tracks his spiritual and philosophical evolution from a child of religious conservatives in rural England to a freewheeling spiritual teacher who challenged Westerners to defy convention and think for themselves. From early in this intellectual life, Watts shows himself to be a philosophical renegade and wide-ranging autodidact who came to Buddhism through the teachings of Christmas Humphreys and D. T. Suzuki. Told in a nonlinear style, In My Own Way wonderfully combines Watts’ own brand of unconventional philosophy and often hilarious accounts of gurus, celebrities, psychedelic drug experiences, and wry observations of Western culture. A charming foreword written by Watts’ father sets the tone of this warm, funny, and beautifully written story of a compelling figure who encouraged readers to “follow your own weird” — something he always did himself, as his remarkable account of his life shows.

  • The Art of Contemplation (1972)

  • Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal  (1973)
    These ruminations, assembled in the form of a journal and here published in paperback for the first time, were written at Alan Watts' retreat in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais, California. Many current themes are discussed, including meditation, nature, established religion, race relations, karma and reincarnation, astrology and tantric yoga, and the nature of ecstasy, but the underlying motif is the art of feeling out and following the watercourse way of nature, known in Chinese as the Tao. Watts suggests a way of contemplative meditation in which we temporarily stop naming and classifying all that we experience, and simply feel it as it is.

  • Tao: The Watercourse Way (1975)
    Drawing on ancient and modern sources, Watts treats the Chinese philosophy of Tao in much the same way as he did Zen Buddhism in his classic The Way of Zen. Critics agree that this last work stands as a perfect monument to the life and literature of Alan Watts.

  • The Early Writings of Alan Watts (1987)
    The British Years, 1931-1938 -- Writings in Buddhism in England

  • The Modern Mystic: A New Collection of the Early Writings of Alan Watts (1990)

  • The Essence of Alan Watts (1974)

  • The Essential Alan Watts (1976)

  • Uncarved Block, Unbleached Silk: The Mystery of Life (1978)

  • Om: Creative Meditations (1979)

  • Play to Live (1982)

  • Way Of Liberation: Essays and Lectures on the Transformation of the Self (1983)

  • Out of the Trap (1985),  Mark Watts, ed.
    See also audio version

  • Diamond Web: Live in the Moment, Selected Lectures of Alan W. Watts (1986), Mark Watts, ed

  • Talking Zen (1994)

  • Become What You Are (1995)
    "Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. . . . You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now."—from Become What You Are In this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never before available in book form, Watts displays the intelligence, playfulness of thought, and simplicity of language that has made him so perennially popular as an interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners. He draws on a variety of religious traditions, and covers topics such as the challenge of seeing one's life "just as it is," the Taoist approach to harmonious living, the limits of language in the face of ineffable spiritual truth, and the psychological symbolism of Christian thought.

  • Buddhism: The Religion of No-Religion, the Edited Transcripts (1995)
    In this dynamic series of lectures, Alan Watts takes us on an exploration of Buddhism, from its roots in India to the explosion of interest in Zen and the Tibetan tradition in the West. Watts traces the Indian beginnings of Buddhism, delineates differences between Buddhism and other religions, looks at the radical methods of the Mahayan Buddhist, and reviews the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

  • Become What You Are (1995)
    "Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. . . . You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now."—from Become What You Are In this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never before available in book form, Watts displays the intelligence, playfulness of thought, and simplicity of language that has made him so perennially popular as an interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners. He draws on a variety of religious traditions, and covers topics such as the challenge of seeing one's life "just as it is," the Taoist approach to harmonious living, the limits of language in the face of ineffable spiritual truth, and the psychological symbolism of Christian thought.

  • The Tao of Philosophy (1995)
    This book serves as an eloquent introduction to the Philosophies of Taoism and Zen Buddhism, and explains how we can benefit from their teachings. With an emphasis on seeing ourselves as directly connected to the natural world, Watts teaches us how to see and appreciate the world in new ways, and reminds us that we are not so much born into this world as grown out of it.

  • Myth and Religion (1996)
    the 1960's (1998)
    Audio cassette.

  • Taoism: Way Beyond Seeking (1997), Mark Watts, ed.

  • Zen and the Beat Way (1997)

  • Summer of Love: The Spirituality and Consciousness of the 1960's (1998)
    Audio cassette.

  • The Culture of Counter-Culture: The Edited Transcripts (1998)

  • Eastern Wisdom: What Is Zen?, What Is Tao? an Introduction to Meditation (2000)

  • Still the Mind: An Introduction to Meditation (2000)
    During the last decade of his life, Alan Watts lectured extensively as he traveled across the country, often accompanying his talks with guided meditation sessions and contemplative rituals designed to instruct his audiences in the art of meditation. Still the Mind is drawn from the remarkable recordings of those lectures, meditations, and rituals. Edited by his son Mark from over 800 hours of audiotapes, this compilation, filled with the wisdom of a man in his maturity, features Alan Watts' thoughts on the purity of everyday experience and the path of soulful contemplation. Full of practical, humorous, and poignant observations, Still the Mind gives listeners insight into the essence of meditation—defined by Watts as the art of being completely centered in the here and now.

  • What Is Tao? (2000)
    In his later years, Alan Watts, noted author and respected authority on Zen and Eastern thought, turned his attention to Taoism. In this book, he draws on his own study and practice to give readers an overview of the concept of the Tao and guidance for experiencing it themselves. What Is Tao? explores the wisdom of understanding the way things are and letting life unfold without interference.

  • What Is Zen? (2000)
    What Is Zen? examines Zen's religious roots, its influence on Eastern and Western culture, its transcendent moments, and the methods of Zen meditation that are currently practiced.

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