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Books on Zen

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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Mojo Jojo on Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:11 pm

My problem with Three pillars was more an issue of expectation. I had read the editor's preface before deciding to purchase the book. It clearly stated that "both the Soto and Rinzai disciplines are presented here..."

I thought that meant there would be an equl representation but it wasn't. It was mostly a presentation of the Rinzai practice. Prior to reading the book, I was already disinterested in Koans. After reading the book, I was even more disinterested in them.

I suppose in a way, the book helped me solidify a path that I didn't wan't to go down.

With that being said, I think the book is well written and has a very good value to one interested in Rinzai. I'll probably keep the book so in the event my view on Koans change, I can reread it in a new light.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Carol on Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:47 pm

Mojo Jojo wrote:My problem with Three pillars was more an issue of expectation. I had read the editor's preface before deciding to purchase the book. It clearly stated that "both the Soto and Rinzai disciplines are presented here..."

I thought that meant there would be an equl representation but it wasn't. It was mostly a presentation of the Rinzai practice. Prior to reading the book, I was already disinterested in Koans. After reading the book, I was even more disinterested in them.

I suppose in a way, the book helped me solidify a path that I didn't wan't to go down.

With that being said, I think the book is well written and has a very good value to one interested in Rinzai. I'll probably keep the book so in the event my view on Koans change, I can reread it in a new light.


Koan practice is much like passing a giant kidney stone sometimes. :lol2:
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
~Lankavatara Sutra
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Mojo Jojo on Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:57 pm

Carol wrote:
Mojo Jojo wrote:My problem with Three pillars was more an issue of expectation. I had read the editor's preface before deciding to purchase the book. It clearly stated that "both the Soto and Rinzai disciplines are presented here..."

I thought that meant there would be an equl representation but it wasn't. It was mostly a presentation of the Rinzai practice. Prior to reading the book, I was already disinterested in Koans. After reading the book, I was even more disinterested in them.

I suppose in a way, the book helped me solidify a path that I didn't wan't to go down.

With that being said, I think the book is well written and has a very good value to one interested in Rinzai. I'll probably keep the book so in the event my view on Koans change, I can reread it in a new light.


Koan practice is much like passing a giant kidney stone sometimes. :lol2:


XD
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Foursquare on Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:46 am

Anders Honore wrote:
Foursquare wrote:I was going to buy and read Kapleau's Three Pillars of Zen, but I've received mixed reports about this book; that being so, I know that there is only one way to find out what it's like and that's to read it.


I don't think it has aged very well. Fair amount of stuff in there that needs a grain of salt. It has some really interesting stuff in there though. The translations of Bassui, the reports and letters and such I enjoyed reading. But as a primer on Zen, I think it has a lot of things missing.


Three Pillars' content, I've heard, is not as comprehensive as it could or should be, as Anders Honore's quote above intimates. On the other hand, some say that it is an excellent book with much insightful information. I can only repeat that I've received mixed reports. There's nothing left for it, I guess: I'll just have to read it myself and make up my own mind as to its merits as a book on Zen.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby ed blanco on Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:26 pm

THE COMPASS OF ZEN by Master Seung Sahn is blowing me away with its clarity and force of message. Fantastico!

:O:
IT SPEAKS IN SILENCE
IN SPEECH YOU HEAR ITS SILENCE

Yongjia Xuanjue
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue May 01, 2012 6:03 pm

Mojo Jojo wrote:My problem with Three pillars was more an issue of expectation. I had read the editor's preface before deciding to purchase the book. It clearly stated that "both the Soto and Rinzai disciplines are presented here..."

I thought that meant there would be an equl representation but it wasn't. It was mostly a presentation of the Rinzai practice. Prior to reading the book, I was already disinterested in Koans. After reading the book, I was even more disinterested in them.

I suppose in a way, the book helped me solidify a path that I didn't wan't to go down.

With that being said, I think the book is well written and has a very good value to one interested in Rinzai. I'll probably keep the book so in the event my view on Koans change, I can reread it in a new light.

The publisher probably was well intentioned and trying to present the fact that Yatsutani was both a lineage holder in Soto and a Inka holder in Rinzai.
For example, Lecture 7 of the first section is specifically on Shikantaza. So even though the book shares Yatsutani's emphasis on koan practice, it is not too misleading to point out the Soto connection.

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Zen In Plain English

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue May 01, 2012 6:26 pm

Recently while browsing the shelves at Copperfield's Books, I came across the 2009 book Zen in Plain English by Stephan Schuhmacher .

I sat down and perused it for a few minutes and it seems to be a very good introduction to Zen.

There is a similarly titled 2010 book Zen Meditation in Plain English by John Buksbazen which I have not looked at yet so can't comment on.

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby partofit22 on Tue May 01, 2012 9:35 pm

i just started reading Holding the Lotus to the Stone which was suggested in another thread-
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue May 01, 2012 9:51 pm

partofit22 wrote:i just started reading Holding the Lotus to the Stone which was suggested in another thread-

That title is one of the great provocative images. Any initial thoughts on the book yet?

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby partofit22 on Thu May 03, 2012 12:33 am

Gregory Wonderwheel wrote:
partofit22 wrote:i just started reading Holding the Lotus to the Stone which was suggested in another thread-

That title is one of the great provocative images. Any initial thoughts on the book yet?

_/|\_
Gregory


:lol2: Rock!
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Larry on Sat May 05, 2012 3:24 pm

I recently asked Meido about some of his favourite books....by PM....while I'm taking a break from posting on the main forum. He sent such an interesting list, I asked him if it was OK to share it....

Meido wrote:My favorite books aside from the classics (sutras, Rinzairoku and other records of eminent masters, etc.) all are a bit Rinzai-style leaning, so with that in mind:

"Introduction to Zen Training" by Omori Sogen for overview of Zen with practical advice for practice.

All of Hakuin's works which are out there now, many of them online. Yasen Kanna and Orategama may be online someplace. Yampolsky has a book called "The Zen Master Hakuin". "Wild Ivy" by Waddell. Albert Low has translated a Hakuin writing on the Four Wisdoms, which he calls the Four Ways of Knowing: the book is called "Hakuin on Kensho". There are some other recent works out also...I think just going to Amazon and searching for "Hakuin" would do the trick.

Takuan's "Fudochi Shimmyo Roku" is out in several translations.

"Zen Sand" by Victor Sogen Hori is a collection of capping phrases used in koan practice, but its introduction has the best overview of the structure of koan practice that exists in English.

"The Warrior Koans" by Legget and "Death Was His Koan" (a biography of Suzuki Shosan, famous Soto monk) are works which express the potential vitality/energy of Zen practice.

"Eloquent Zen" is a neat biography of Daito Kokushi, with an examination of his use of language (koan, capping phrases).

Those are just a few off the top of my head.

In terms of post-satori training, the life stories of everyone from Huineng up to Daito, Kanzan and so on on the Rinzai side all provide examples of what those guys did. Hakuin's treatment of the Five Ranks is essential: it's called "Keiso Dokuzui" and may be found here - http://www.kaihan.com/fives.htm
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby partofit22 on Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:43 am

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Re: Books on Zen

Postby thewhitesquirel on Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:02 am

Old topic but useful. Here's the ones I've read which I think are the most beneficial:

What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

Zen Mind Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

The Connected/Middle/Long Discourses of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Not Always So by Shunryu Suzuki

Buddhist Philosophy by William Edelglass

The Gateless Gate by Koun Yamada

Blue Cliff Records by Thomas Cleary

The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma by Red Pine

The Lankavatara Sutra by Red Pine

Moon in a Dewdrop by Dogen

I also think The Four Noble Truths and Compassion in Emptiness with The Dalai Lama are a good source; however, they're video recordings and not books. You can find the videos on netflix or amazon prime. The Four Noble Truths is about four hours long though, so you may want to plan ahead.
What is nearness if it fails to come about despite the reduction of the longest intervals? What is nearness if it is even repelled by the restless abolition of distances? What is nearness if remoteness also remains absent? -Martin Heidegger
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby sunyavadi on Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:14 am

One Zen book I have just acquired is No River to Cross by Zen Master Daehaeng. I have only just started it, but it seems very good so far.
he that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Nohbody on Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:51 am

One books I recently read was called "Zen Without Zen Masters" by Camden Benares. It's very 1960s and Discordian.
All experience is an arch
where-through
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
-Tennyson
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Indigo on Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:41 am

I bought "Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity" by Soko Morinaga a few years ago I enjoy it every time I read it.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby partofit22 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:25 am

This Truth Never Fails / A Zen Memoir in Four Seasons by David Rynick

it's like a blog but a book- like a bag of chips you can't stop eating- before you know it, you've read he whole thing in a single day- it's beautiful- and funny- i loved it-

"We sometimes talk about the work of Zen as pounding stakes in the clear blue sky or plowing furrows in the sea. These images remind us of the impossibility of measuring this path of being human. The true work of our lives will not hold still to be measured or evaluated in any meaningful way. We come from an infinite distance away and we are on a road to an ever-receding destination--and all of it is right here."

from This Truth Never Fails / A Zen Memoir in Four Seasons by David Rynick
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Beatzen on Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:40 pm

If you're lucky, your heart will break By James Ishmael Ford

This guy is a Soto priest who moonlights as a unitarian minister.

It's a really good book. The author's literary voice is very down to earth and somewhat pithy I think.
It's all fun and games 'till someone loses an I.

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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Beatzen on Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:42 pm

Does anyone else think of Alan Watts as "the L. Ron Hubbard of Zen Buddhism?"
It's all fun and games 'till someone loses an I.

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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Lida on Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:34 pm

I am glad to see Charlotte Joko Beck's name show up on someone's list. Her plain talk did wonders for my understanding. She said she considered one of the best books on this subject to be The Supreme Doctrine by Hubert Benoit. I would love to hear comments from anyone who has read this amazing book.
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