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In The Gateless Gate, one of modern Zen Buddhism's uniquely influential masters offers classic commentaries on the Mumonkan, one of Zen's greatest collections of teaching stories. This translation was compiled with the Western reader in mind, and includes Koan Yamada's clear and penetrating comments on each case. Yamada played a seminal role in bringing Zen Buddhism to the West from Japan, going on to be the head of the Sanbo Kyodan Zen Community. The Gateless Gate would be invaluable if only for the translation and commentary alone, yet it's loaded with extra material and is a fantastic resource to keep close by: An in-depth Introduction to the History of Zen Practice Lineage charts Japanese-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Japanese conversion charts for personal names, place names, and names of writings Plus front- and back-matter from ancient and modern figures: Mumon, Shuan, Kubota Ji'un, Taizan Maezumi, Hugo Enomiya-Lasalle, and Yamada Roshi's son, Masamichi Yamada. A wonderful inspiration for the koan practitioner, and for those with a general interest in Zen Buddhism.
Entangling Vines, a translation of the Shumon kattoshu, is one of the few major koan texts to have been compiled in Japan rather than China. Indeed, Kajitani Sonin (1914 - 95), former chief abbot of Shokoku-ji and author of an annotated, modern-Japanese translation of the Kattoshu, commented that 'herein are compiled the basic Dharma materials of the koan system." Most of the central koans of the contemporary Rinzai koan curriculum are contained in this work. A distinctive feature of Entangling Vines is that, unlike The Gateless Gate and Blue Cliff Record, it presents the koans "bare," with no introductions, commentaries, or verses. Its straightforward structure lends the koans added force and immediacy, emphasizing the Great Matter, the essential point to be interrogated, and providing ample material for the rigors of examining and refining Zen experience. Containing 272 cases and extensive note material, the collection is indispensable for serious koan training and will also be of interest for anyone drawn to Zen literature. The present translation had its origins in the discussions between three forward-looking modern Japanese Zen masters and Thomas Kirchner, an experienced Zen monk from America. And Kirchner's careful annotation of each koan makes this a brilliant introduction to Buddhist philosophy.
Whether a beginner or at the highest level of practice, learn Zen from one of the greatest masters of the twentieth century. Why practice Zen? What sets Zen apart from religion? What are its different practices? These questions, and more, are examined and answered by Zen Master Koun Yamada, whose Dharma heirs include Robert Aitken, Ruben Habito, and David Loy. Through compelling stories and a systematic approach, he guides the reader through creating and sustaining a lifelong practice. Warm and ecumenical in tone, Koun uses the insights of Zen to bring a deeper understanding of faith. Zen: The Authentic Gate is an easy-to-follow guide to creating an effortless and natural practice regardless of background, tradition, or religion.
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.
The Gateless Barrier is generally acknowledged to be the fundamental koan collection in the literature of Zen. Gathered together by Wu-men (Mumon), a thirteenth-century master of the Lin-chi (Rinzai) school, it is composed of forty-eight koans, or cases, each accompanied by a brief comment and poem by Wu-men. Robert Aitken, one of the premier American Zen masters, has translated Wu-men's text, supplementing the original with his own commentary -- the first such commentary by a Western master -- making the profound truths of Zen Buddhism accessible to serious contemporary students and relevant to current social concerns.