The strange verbal paradoxes called koans have been used traditionally in Zen training to help students attain a direct realization of truths inexpressible in words. The two works translated in this book, Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate ) and Hekiganroku (The Blue Cliff Record), both compiled during the Song dynasty in China, are the best known and most frequently studied koan collections, and are classics of Zen literature. They are still used today in a variety of practice lineages, from traditional zendos to modern Zen centers. In a completely new translation, together with original commentaries, the well-known Zen teacher Katsuki Sekida brings to these works the same fresh and pragmatic approach that made his Zen Training so successful. The insights of a lifetime of Zen practice and his familiarity with both Eastern and Western ways of thinking make him an ideal interpreter of these texts.
This is not a dry scholarly book on Zen. It is a fascinating introduction into a study of self-enlightenment and inner reason that has been a driving force of all Japanese culture. Written by Reginal Horace Blyth (1898-1964) this is a volume free of the dry pedantry that has hobbled so many well meaning French and English studies of Zen. It is free also of the breathless mystery-mongering that unfortunately has bloated American Zen. Blyth reads easily. The questions he poses; the views he offers….all lead to a sense of inner self and an awakening of an awareness of the surrounding universe and one's relationship to it. After discussing "What is Zen?" (and what isn't) Blyth sketches a history of Zen dating from 1000 B.C. to715 A.D., the year of the death of the Sixth patriarch, Huineg. With a historical background thus established, Blyth next provides translations and commentary on some of the most important and basic Zen literature in existence. For the Zen initiate then, this book is an excellent beginning. For the practitioner, further meaningful revelations await.
The Blue Cliff Record is a classic text of Zen Buddhism, designed to assist in the activation of dormant human potential. The core of this extraordinary work is a collection of one hundred traditional citations and stories, selected for their ability to bring about insight and enlightenment. These vignettes are known as gongan in Chinese and koan in Japanese. Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record is a fresh translation featuring newly translated commentary from two of the greatest Zen masters of early modern Japan, Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1768) of the Rinzai sect of Zen and Tenkei Denson (1648–1735) of the Soto sect of Zen. This translation and commentary on The Blue Cliff Record sheds new light on the meaning of this central Zen text.
While the philosophical discussion of Zen spirituality reaches its limit, poetry offers an effective expression of the sublime experiences. From a poetic perspective, enlightenment is understood as poetic leaps in the spiritual journey, which brings people from the habitually or conventionally established world toward new horizons of consciousness. This leap is a breakthrough in the overall consciousness, rather than a progression in contemplative thought. Therefore, it cannot be adequately described through abstract representation, but poetry can metaphorically capture this leap and reveal both the spiritual meaning and the practical wisdom of enlightenment. This book will take you on this fantastic journey of enlightenment.
Author: Gerry Shishin Wick
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2005-03-15
The Book of Equanimity contains the first-ever complete English language commentary on one of the most beloved classic collections of Zen teaching stories (koans), making them vividly relevant to spiritual seekers and Zen students in the twenty-first century. Continually emphasizing koans as effective tools to discover and experience the deepest truths of our being, Wick brings the art of the koan to life for those who want to practice wisdom in their daily lives. The koan collection Wick explores here is highly esteemed as both literature and training material in the Zen tradition, in which koan-study is one of two paths a practitioner might take. This collection is used for training in many Zen centers in the Americas and in Europe but has never before been available with commentary from a contemporary Zen master. Wick's Book of Equanimity includes new translations of the preface, main case and verse for each koan, and modern commentaries on the koans by Wick himself.
Zen Masters of China presents more than 300 traditional Zen stories and koans, far more than any other collection. Retelling them in their proper place in Zen's historical journey through Buddhist Chinese culture, it also tells a larger story: how, in taking the first step east from India to China, Buddhism began to be Zen. The stories of Zen are unlike any other writing, religious or otherwise. Used for centuries by Zen teachers as aids to bring about or deepen the experience of awakening, they have a freshness that goes beyond religious practice and a mystery and authenticity that appeal to a wide range of readers. Placed in chronological order, these stories tell the story of Zen itself, how it traveled from West to East with each Zen master to the next, but also how it was transformed in that journey, from an Indian practice to something different in Chinese Buddhism (Ch'an) and then more different still in Japan (Zen). The fact that its transmission was so human, from teacher to student in a long chain from West to East, meant that the cultures it passed through inevitably changed it. Zen Masters of China is first and foremost a collection of mind-bending Zen stories and their wisdom. More than that, without academic pretensions or baggage, it recounts the genealogy of Zen Buddhism in China and, through koan and story, illuminates how Zen became what it is today.
The development of Zen in China is really the story of the flourishing of Chinese philosophy, arts and literature beginning as far back as the Han Dynasty and earlier. Master Nan Huai-Chin offers an engaging chronicle of both in this groundbreaking work. The Story of Chinese Zen begins with the premise that the climate during Shakyamuni's founding of Buddhism in India ultimately influence the differences behind Hinayana and Mahayana thought, practice, and methods of seeking enlightenment. From there—beginning with its transmission to China—Master Nan outlines the Zen School, exploring influences on the development of Zen before the early Tang Dynasty, different meanings of studying Zen and pursuing the heart and goal of Zen." He explores the relationship between Zen and new-Confucianism and the inseparability of religion and Zen from Chinese literature and philosophy, especially Taoism. Born in Zhejiang province, China in 1918, Nan Huai-Chin has studied under thirty-two major Taoist and Buddhist masters, including the masters of the Esoteric School of Buddhism in Tibet, from whom he received the title of Esoteric Master. He has published over thirty books and is widely recognized as one of the foremost scholars on Zen and Taoism.
Author: Katsuki Sekida
Publisher: New World Library
Release Date: 2013-01-15
Very few masters of Zen have been writers; very few writers about Zen have been masters. Katsuki Sekida was both. His finest work, Zen Training, remains one of the most comprehensive books on Zen ever written in English. In A Guide to Zen, Marc Allen, a former student of Sekida, presents selections of the original work to produce a beautifully readable, brilliant guide to Zen meditation. Includes a summary of Zen and a complete course in Zen meditation, with specific practices and commentaries on higher states of consciousness and on a classic series of Zen pictures.