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A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters

A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters
A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters Publisher: Weatherhill | English | ISBN: 0834802597 | 136 pages | PDF | 9.80 MB
Zen Buddhism can truly be called the quintessential philosophy of the Orient. Not just a puzzle to be unraveled by the intellect, Zen offers a challenge to both mind and spirit, calling on all our intuitive, social, and self-disciplinary powers. The distillation of this Oriental philosophy is contained in the Zen sayings-pithy phrases and poems handed down from a distinguished line of Chinese and Japanese masters. Over the centuries, their sayings and writings have been compiled into voluminous handbooks. The most complete of these are the various editions of Zenrin Kushu, or the "Zen Forest Saying Anthology." Serious Zen students are still required to memorize hundreds of these sayings. In monasteries all over Japan, would-be priests can be found thoughtfully thumbing through their well-worn anthologies by the dim candle-light, looking for the perfect phrase to "cap" their Zen experience and activity. As their masters assign them increasingly difficult koans for contemplation and eventual solution, they respond with sayings culled from the anthologies, or they create their own phrases to add to the dynamic body of Zen literature. In the present book, for the first time, over 1,200 of these short sayings-from the comical, to the profound, to the downright mystifying- appear in vivid, poetic, English translation. From the thousands of sayings in existence, the author has compiled a representative selection, adding his own illuminating introduction on how to read the sayings. Each poem uniquely illustrates some aspect of Zen, from the nature of satori to the meaning of enlightened activity in the real world. These keys to Zen understanding are now available to English speakers. Readers are encouraged to read the sayings, to ponder them, and eventually to apply to their own lives the wisdom found there. Included is a selection of the author's favorite sayings rendered in striking calligraphy by his father, abbot of the well-known Shogen-ji Zen temple in Shizuoka. For students with an interest in further study, the book also contains an appen-dix with the original Chinese characters and their Japanese romanizations. A glossary of people and places and a bibliographical source note complete this collection. SOIKU SHIGEMATSU combines his duties as an active Zen priest at Shogen-ji temple with a full-time position as professor of English at Shizuoka University. He has long been interested in applying the Zen viewpoint to the study of American literature, from Emerson to Gary Snyder. In this volume he turns his efforts in the opposite direction, presenting a classic of Zen literature for the English-speaking audience.
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