People around the world value the mind-cleansing, spiritually uplifting benefit to be gained through the practice of Cha'an (Zen) Buddhism. Central to Zen is the enigmatic koan (kung-an), a kind of riddle used by masters to shock their students into greater awareness. In this timeless collection from Chinese masters, translations of 100 of these question-and-answer riddles are presented. Each koan is followed by the author's commentary, which provides fascinating insight into the background and deeper meanings of the koans.
Pointing at the Moon contains zen koeans from the following four treatises of the Zen tradition: A Selection From the Five Books of the Zen Masters' Sayings The Light of the Zen Sayings Recorded in the Year if Developing Virtue The Zen Sayings Recorded During the Moonlit Meditation An Anthology if Zen SayingsEnhanced by the 85 beautifully sketched Chinese brush paintings, Pointing at the Moon is a text certain to stimulate and challenge anyone interested in learning more about Zen and its tradition of spiritual enlightenment.
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.
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.
Topics covered include
- What are the benefits of meditation?
- How do we sit in meditation?
- What are the states of meditation?
- How do we reach nirvana?
- What is absolute enlightenment?
While others viewed Zen practice as a purification of the mind or a stage on the way to perfect enlightenment, Bodhidharma equated Zen with buddhahood and believed that it had a place in everyday life. Instead of telling his disciples to purify their minds, he pointed them to rock walls, to the movements of tigers and cranes, to a hollow reed floating across the Yangtze.
This bilingual edition, the only volume of the great teacher's work currently available in English, presents four teachings in their entirety. "Outline of Practice" describes the four all-inclusive habits that lead to enlightenment, the "Bloodstream Sermon" exhorts students to seek the Buddha by seeing their own nature, the "Wake-up Sermon" defends his premise that the most essential method for reaching enlightenment is beholding the mind. The original Chinese text, presented on facing pages, is taken from a Ch'ing dynasty woodblock edition.
Buddhism is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. With its popularity comes an interest in the history of Buddhism and its early practitioners. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find such books written in an easy-to-understand manner.
The Wisdom of Huineng, Chinese Buddhist Philosopher: The Platform Sutra and Other Translations, edited and translated by Chu Dongwei, is an exception. Huineng (often spelt Hui-neng or Hui Neng, 638–713) is one of the major Chinese sages. Known as Liuzu, he was the sixth grand master of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. This book consists of an easily accessible translation of The Platform Sutra and the sermons of Shenhui, a disciple that made Huineng’s teaching popular. To provide historical background, Dongwei includes biographies and epitaphs that are rarely found in the English language.
Dongwei’s edition of The Wisdom of Huineng, Chinese Buddhist Philosopher: The Platform Sutra and Other Translations allows readers to strengthen their understanding of Buddhism through the texts of one of its most important figures. There is no longer a need to fear the unknown as you dive into this readable and understandable information source.