Jean Smith's enormously practical approach ensures that The Beginner's Guide to Zen Buddhism will become the book teachers and students alike will recommend.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Three of the most pressing issues in any discussion of modern Zen are the true nature and function of Dharma transmission, how to appropriately practice with koans, and how to understand the "just sitting" of Soto Zen. Zen master Sekkei Harada uses the enigmatic "Ten Verses of Unfathomable Depth" as the basis of his practical and theoretical discussion of these concerns. Unfathomable Depths presents a concise treatment of Soto theory and practice, while delivering approachable and workable advice from one of Zen's most esteemed teachers. Rooting himself in Tong'an Changcha's classical poem, Harada intimately speaks to the world of Zen today.
The first two parts of the book explore enlightenment and delusion: What is nature of enlightenement? What does it mean to describe enlightenment as sudden or gradual? What is the nature of delusion, and how can watch out for the particular delusion that masquerades as enlightenment? The third part looks at "enlightenment in action"--what it means for someone to living and acting in order with the deep wisdom of enlightenment, and how we can practice learning "learning how to be satisfied" and enjoy serenity and transquility. The final section is a moving and powerful firsthand account of one woman's solitary realization of the deepest truths--a story that can become an inspiration for all of us. The contributors to this volume include some the pioneering masters who were seminal in helping Zen take firm root in American soil.
Eminent Nuns is an innovative interdisciplinary work that brings together several of these important seventeenth-century trends. Although Buddhist nuns have been a continuous presence in Chinese culture since early medieval times and the subject of numerous scholarly studies, this book is one of the first not only to provide a detailed view of their activities at one particular moment in time, but also to be based largely on the writings and self-representations of Buddhist nuns themselves. This perspective is made possible by the preservation of collections of discourse records (yulu) of seven officially designated female Chan masters in a seventeenth-century printing of the Chinese Buddhist Canon rarely used in English-language scholarship. The collections contain records of religious sermons and exchanges, letters, prose pieces, and poems, as well as biographical and autobiographical accounts of various kinds. Supplemental sources by Chan monks and male literati from the same region and period make a detailed re-creation of the lives of these eminent nuns possible.
Beata Grant brings to her study background in Chinese literature, Chinese Buddhism, and Chinese women s studies. She is able to place the seven women, all of whom were active in Jiangnan, in their historical, religious, and cultural contexts, while allowing them, through her skillful translations, to speak in their own voices. Together these women offer an important, but until now virtually unexplored, perspective on seventeenth-century China, the history of female monasticism in China, and the contributionof Buddhist nuns to the history of Chinese women s writing."