Karlfried Graf Durckheim


Approaching the work of Karlfried Graf Durckheim (1896 - 1988) is like entering into the pregnant silence of a great and magnificent cathedral. He deeply understood the need for transformation in one's life and in the world. His approach was existential in that he felt daily experiences to be the training ground for encountering the meaning and uniqueness of one's life. He realized the danger in following concepts and placing too much emphasis on thinking rather than acting. He reconciled Eastern and Western thought and synthesized them with his own tradition and history.

Among his works are:

Zen and Us

The Way of Transformation

Absolute Living

Hara: The Vital Center of Man

The Call for the Master

The Japanese Cult of Tranquility

A short video reflecting his work:




"Each of life's primal dilemmas is matched by its own saving power. Every recurrent anguish, longing, and hope finds its own special helper. The master is one of these helpers."

"Again and again, people are driven by despair to seek the counsel and help demanded by their true nature themselves construct the helpers they need, simply because they are suffering and searching so intensely. They receive a master's answer or a master's guidance from others who are by no means masters themselves."

"If we see Being as the one true reality and ourselves as the prisoners of the world, then the only way of fulfilling ourselves and getting back in touch with that ultimate reality is to leave the world utterly behind, die, and so finally enter the reality of All-One-Being. If, on the other hand, we see Life as transcending the antithesis of otherworldly Being and worldly reality, and manifestation of the Absolute in the worldly as our real objective, then we fulfill ourselves by witnessing to it in our ways of living, learning, and acting in the world."

You are the result of the tension between who you think you should be and what you really are.