A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters by Soiku Shigematsu

By Soiku Shigematsu

Zen Buddhism can actually be known as the crucial philosophy of the Orient. not only a puzzle to be unraveled by means of the mind, Zen bargains a problem to either brain and spirit, calling on all our intuitive, social, and self-disciplinary powers.

The distillation of this Oriental philosophy is inside the Zen sayings—pithy words and poems passed down from a exclusive line of chinese language and eastern masters. Over the centuries, their sayings and writings were compiled into voluminous handbooks.

The so much entire of those are a few of the versions of Zenrin Kushu, or the "Zen woodland asserting Anthology." severe Zen scholars are nonetheless required to memorize enormous quantities of those sayings. In monasteries in every single place Japan, would-be clergymen are available thoughtfully thumbing via their well-worn anthologies by means of the dim candle-light, searching for the right word to "cap" their Zen event and job. As their masters assign them more and more tough koans for contemplation and eventual answer, they reply with sayings culled from the anthologies, or they bring their very own words so as to add to the dynamic physique of Zen literature.

In the current e-book, for the 1st time, over 1,200 of those brief sayings—from the comical, to the profound, to the downright mystifying— look in shiny, poetic, English translation. From the hundreds of thousands of sayings in lifestyles, the writer has compiled a consultant choice, including his personal illuminating advent on the right way to learn the sayings. every one poem uniquely illustrates a few element of Zen, from the character of satori to the which means of enlightened task within the actual world.

These keys to Zen figuring out at the moment are to be had to English audio system. Readers are inspired to learn the sayings, to reflect on them, and at last to use to their very own lives the knowledge chanced on there.

Included is a variety of the author's favourite sayings rendered in extraordinary calligraphy by way of his father, abbot of the well known Shogen-ji Zen temple in Shizuoka. for college students with an curiosity in extra research, the booklet additionally includes an appen-dix with the unique chinese language characters and their eastern romanizations. A thesaurus of individuals and locations and a bibliographical resource be aware entire this collection.

SOIKU SHIGEMATSU combines his tasks as an lively Zen priest at Shogen-ji temple with a full-time place as professor of English at Shizuoka collage. He has lengthy been attracted to using the Zen standpoint to the examine of yankee literature, from Emerson to Gary Snyder. during this quantity he turns his efforts within the wrong way, providing a vintage of Zen literature for the English-speaking viewers.

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Extra resources for A Zen Forest: Sayings of the Masters

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69) One arrow shatters three forts. (63) O n e day no work, One day The pair o f eyes of a cormorant —goggling. t^o food. One man's speech One pistil is a rapid stream; o f a plum blossom: The other's, Its fragrance fills the Billion Worlds. simple and artless. (63) (71) Hard to pick a handful Strolling together o f willow leaves the same path matching the wind, along the mountainside, Streaming Each eye sees over the jeweled different wind and mist. balustrade. (66) (72) A single moon One light, on the sea: a million lights, Light, l i g h t no limit.

76) Between snipe and clam the fight doesn't stop: One staff's blow, one scar's streak. Both fall into (77) the fisherman's hands. One true man o f no rank. I'll explain in detail (78) w h y Bodhidharma One blind man leads came to China: many blind men Listen to the evening Into the fire hole hand in hand. bell sounds. Watch (79) the setting sun. . For one thing, Where sun and moon to better the view cannot reach— o f this temple; There For another, is a wonderful sight. to build a guidepost for posterity.

Are these of any use? These are all useless, it is true. Nevertheless, Zen is, as I have said, paradoxical in every way; these are also the way the ideals of all Zen followers should be seen. As you will see later, an old dull-pointed gimlet is more highly admired than any satori-stinking, sharp-pointed tool. Zen is not philosophy. It is best explained by means of the parable of Indra's net in the Kegon (Hua-yen) sutra. Indra is the god w h o lives on the top o f Mount Sumeru. In his heavenly palace is a huge net, every knot of which is adorned with a jewel.

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