Zen: The Best of Alan Watts

Zen: The Best of Alan Watts

Ratings: 8.06/10 from 190 users.

Zen: The Best of Alan WattsA person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except faults, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions.

By thought I mean the chattering inside the skull; perpetual and compulsive repetition of words, of calculations, and symbols going on inside the head.

For as a result of confusing the real world of nature with mere signs, such as money, stocks and bonds, title deeds, and so forth. This is a disaster. Time to wake up.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) who held both a master's degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity, is best known as an interpreter of Zen Buddhism in particular, and Indian and Chinese philosophy in general.

He authored more than 20 excellent books on the philosophy and psychology of religion, and lectured extensively, leaving behind a vast audio archive. With characteristic lucidity and humor Watts unravels the most obscure ontological and epistemological knots with the greatest of ease.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

He did have a masters in theology, but nothing in his Wiki page or other biographies stating that Alan Watts had a doctorate in divinity or any other discipline. Just mentioning.

4 years ago

I would think listening / reading to more than one film about someone’s research and personal theories of thought and life would give a clearer idea on what it is
they were trying to offer. Mr Watts has many many videos and readings . We do not have to agree with every word he speaks, only accept what we “get” in the form of our beliefs. No right or wrong , just the right fit for the place we are presently in ...in our journey . He makes you think !!!

4 years ago

I’ve heard a lot of people in youtube comments talk about his shortened life alcoholism, however I’ve never specifically heard him suggest abstinence of drugs or alcohol, what he did was conduct a critical and allegorical comparison of western and eastern ideologies. It’s a bias on the part of the Listener to think that spirituality has anything to do with flawlessness or abstinence, and to assume Allan watts was a hypocrite for being neither.

5 years ago

closed it when I heard "the word of god"....cognitive dissonance ain't for me...he made some valid points in his life, but I'm looking for something to learn...not to trap me...cheers

5 years ago

From the description: "A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except faults, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions." Some commenters say that is a misquote and state that it should be "thoughts" instead of "faults". Referring to "mental chatter"

Either way, it demonstrates a choice of choosing not to control what you think about. Focus on something you think worthwhile. It is possible to direct your thoughts away from mulling things over and over again or other chatter and onto constructing something worthwhile. The choice is yours, to let yourself be controlled or to control yourself.

Some people decide they need meditation. Others, like Tesla, honed his mind to the point he didn't need paper to work out the details of constructing his inventions. Fortunately many of them were documented for the purpose of obtaining patents. His assistants stated that his motors and such worked the very first time being built.

Maybe meditation could be a path to honing one's mind rather than only a means to remove the mental chatter.

People choose to drown out their conscience and conscious via chemicals when they could direct their mind to very interesting journeys without the need or expense of such chemicals. The most beneficial observation of all is to observe one's ego at work and gently observe it back into its proper place of being a clear pane of glass through which which things are observed, rather than a pain or splinter of glass in everyone's ass. Being in control of your ego and emotions rather than them controlling you is the worthwhile journey.

Unfortunately the evil in control of the world do much to make that journey harder than ever; for you are the easiest to control and inspire to do the wrong things they desire when your ego and/or emotions are in control of you.

5 years ago

I discovered Alan Watts many years ago by picking up one of his books at he local Buddist temple in Perth, Australia. This was before you tube.
Since I've discovered that he was a natural speaker having 'Gift of the Gab' but he never travelled to Japan or China, or any Asian country for that matter. I thought this was strange as he often cites examples of Japanese life as though he lived there. I was also disappointed to learn he was an alcoholic and died from cirrhosis of the liver at only 58

6 years ago

Only rational minded people can participate in this. Youre only disrespecting

6 years ago

So ok , God was so concerned about your pimple, meanwhile he cant save millions of murders and accidents in daily basis. Youre too unintuitive for zen you wont get it so plss dont try cause its disresectful.

6 years ago

His forever , dont be a dick plsssss, you can believe wat you want but plss do not share your dogma and necro destination.

7 years ago

Check out Alan Watts all over Youtube, Amazon, and Piratebay. Very inspiring and REAL.

Donald Buresh
7 years ago

This is an outstanding documentary. I have listened to it and viewed it many times. I meditate to this documentary. I give it 10 out of 10.

7 years ago

I have seen this documentary many times, and it always new to me. I thoroughly doing a meditation while listening and watching it. I highly recommend it.

8 years ago

the opening quote is a misquote. should read "A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except THOUGHTS."

Jacek Walker
9 years ago

Yet there is not much interest around staying in the here-and-now from what I see on a daily basis. People both young and old recur continously to all sort of tricks so not to be in the here-and-now.
Sex, drugs, alcohol, tv, sports, shows are the most favourite ones. I wonder why...? They costs a lot of money, time and energy and yet the majority chooses those tricks rather than " be in the present moment" as E. Tolle says.
Why so many chooses "silly distractions"" other "blissful here-and-now" ?
This here-and-now phenomenon is nothing new btw. Jesus and Buddha, for example, thaught it long long time ago. Then many others in our times like Osho or Krishnamurti. And yet, and yet...

Corrina Cutlip
9 years ago

What the heck, I see movies that get a bad rating, that end up interesting. This movie I thought would be good from over the top ratings and I am in awe because this is so stupid, is is amazing. I need to make a movie. I am done watching this and not even going to finish it.

10 years ago

Alan Watts has become the father I never had

10 years ago

If you skip to 1:52 you can go striaght? to the Alan Watts material and skip all the producer's self aggrandizement.

10 years ago

I have stumble upon gold. Truely grateful of him sharing his insight. And opening my mind. Truely grateful. May krama bless this man for his selfless thought and love that will breed so much positivity

10 years ago

living is not surviving! which he tried to say.amazing,I love him!

11 years ago

first time in my life practised meditation through a film , and I liked it !! :-D

martin maycock
11 years ago

Simply put, too much talk goes on....this is a disaster..... time to shut up!!!!!!!!!!

11 years ago

i thought this was going to be funny :(

11 years ago

Please correct the brief of this documentary.

"A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except faults,"


Thank you!

12 years ago

Everything comes from nothing. Modern Cosmology has just discovered this. Heisenbergs uncertainty principle says this. The energy of the Vacumn. The Eternal now. All is change. What can I say. This not it.

12 years ago

camping in the tao .......................my choice called DAO

12 years ago

At the top of this page, under Zen: The Best of Alan Watts, the first line is incorrect. You have Watts saying, "A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except faults--". It should be, "A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about but thoughts--" I have an audio tape of Watts saying this line, as proof.

12 years ago

There is nothing but a "NOW" even that is fleeting. The (unobserved) "past" is not a real thing, just thoughts, nothing that you can hold in your hand.

And for the future, could be many, many possibilities because of probabilities, and even then tomorrow never comes, it will always be a "NOW"

12 years ago

He found his way...there are many, some with subtle differences, some with briges, some with inconsistency and many still to be found. I "guess" he died a happy man with many happy people around him for he allowed them to be themself around him.
Watching the world we see what we are because it shows what "it" is.
The universe sees what itself is watching us watching it.

12 years ago

it's " A person who thinks constantly has nothing to think about except thoughts..."
Very different, although ones thoughts could be about faults....

12 years ago

Why would someone blast someone on here for having an opinon about the clarity of the content spoken in the film and expressing his personal discomfort wtih religious overtones by telling the person to not listen to an opinion if he cannot handle a difference in opinion from his own? Does this seem not only rude, but paradoxical to anyone? Also, it is hypocrisy to suppress an opinion by saying the one making it should handle another's opinons w/respect. What a horrible muddled and fascist message.

12 years ago

Great film, great man, great universe. 'The paradox between the desire of our consciousness to have meaning met with the isolation and nothingness of the universe' Live in the now man, live in the now.

12 years ago

All this Zen peaceful stuff makes me ANGRY!
j/k love

12 years ago

Eckhart Tolle actually experienced Zen

12 years ago

I agree with Lisa O.
Eckhert must have see this or maybe studied Alan Watts

13 years ago

This is an awesome introduction to Zen.
Thank you!:)

13 years ago

sitting in a sunbeam, paiting and listening
thank you

13 years ago

I admire Alan Watts so much. His philosophies have had such a wonderful impact on my life. This is a must-watch for anyone, really.

Fly Poster
13 years ago

Mkenzy's statement is misleading, and I have not even watched this yet; What I mean is, S/he offers no congruent arguement, but puts the idea in your mind that Watts is confused, This is called Weasel Phrasing.

by all means draw your own conclusions, as I will.

13 years ago

Very interesting and educating documentary

13 years ago

Thanks so much for this video. I've been meditating on and off the last couple of years, and the last months have been such a struggle... I have made meditation so complicated, but now I've found its simple nature again,,, thank you...

13 years ago

Mkenzy- if you can't handle people's opinions other than your own, then don't seek them.

This is a great and informative look at Zen for people who are unfamiliar.

13 years ago

Great and meaningful

13 years ago

Watts is a confused person as you will Notice from this video, suggesting we have a purposeless exsistence. I can understand the benefits of meditation but the religious aspects of Zen (Buddhism) made me feel uncomfortable.

13 years ago

Very few have had a background so well developed in Eastern and Western religion so as to explain the former to Western audiences. D.T. Suzuki and Chogyam Trungpa are often compared to Watts as promulgatora of Eastern thought in the West, but they didn't have the training in Western religion like Watts. Watts' teachings about Buddhism have been partly responsible for its flowering in the West, a feat well deserved. His eloquence was unmatched.

Lisa O
13 years ago

Very good. I think Eckert Tolle must have been a fan of Alan Watts. His stuff is similar. I like Watt's style a little better. Wasn't Alan Watts friends with Timothy Leary? It'd be great to have some of his movies on here. I love his stuff!

Andriy S
14 years ago

Great meditation movie ! I enjoyed it when watching few weeks ago, forgot to leave review.
pretty match about ZEN meditation and that life is all about present movie as it always was... hehe. Best if watched after meditation... Even without may offer some interesting insights. Recommend.