Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
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    Profiles: Great Simplicity Paid Member

    On Friday afternoons, in a lecture room in the northwest corner of Philosophy Hall, at Columbia University, a small, wiry, and very aged Japanese named Dr. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki regularly unwraps a shawlful of books in various ancient Oriental languages and, as he lovingly fingers and rubs them, delivers a lecture in an all but inaudible voice to a rapt and rather unusual-looking group of graduate students. On one wall of the room is a framed photograph of the American philosopher John Dewey, who, peering over his spectacles, appears to be viewing the scene with some misgivings, as well he might. For Dr. More »
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    Nonopposition Paid Member

    Although everyone has the potential for compassion, some people seem to be our enemies. How should we react to them? Shakyamuni Buddha encountered many people who wanted to harm him during his life, but he was never angry with them, nor did he try to overpower or dominate them. Instead he treated them compassionately and tried to help them. Both Buddhism in general and Ch’an [Chinese Zen] in particular condemn fighting and advocate nonopposition to one’s enemies. A true practitioner responds with nonopposition to obstructions caused by people, situations, and the environment, and lets go of any tension she may feel. She does not resist or fight with difficulties.More »
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    Book of Serenity / The Gateless Barrier Paid Member

    Book of Serenity Translated by Thomas Cleary.Lindisfarne Press: Hudson, NY 1990,463 pp., $18.95.The Gateless BarrierTranslated and with a commentary by Robert Aitken. North Point Press: Berkeley, CA, 1990,332 pp., $14.95. The Koan or "Zen dialogue" is the fundamental study of Chan (Zen), an oral transmission rooted in the ancient Chinese tradition of "story contemplation" in meditation. This form of practice runs parallel to the practice of "silence illumination" in zazen, each enhancing the other. More »
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    Crazy Clouds: Zen Radicals, Rebels and Reformers Paid Member

    Crazy Clouds: Zen Radicals, Rebels and Reformers By Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger. Shambhala Publications, Inc: Boston, 1991, 240 pp., paper, $12.95. Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger have put together a most entertaining and lively collection of eight wild and crazy Zen masters (Layman P'ang, Rinzai, Bassui, Ikkyu, Bankei, Hakuin, Nyogen Senzaki, and Soen Nakagawa), the epithet "Crazy Cloud" being Ikkyu's nom de plume. The scholarship combines admirable knowledge of the history of Zen Buddhism with incisive sociopolitical commentary that successfully situates these eccentric teachers within a broader cultural context. The problem with this book is its flawed polemical purpose. "Crazy Cloud Zen" is seen as having important implications for contemporary American Zen as well as contemporary Western society in general. More »
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    The Seventh Zen Precept Paid Member

    What exactly is blaming? We all know what it’s like to blame the weather, the government, our parents, or the person who rear-ended my car, which is now costing me a pretty penny. And then there’s being enraged at my computer when I’ve made a mistake. These are obvious examples, but blaming can also be very subtle. I remember teasing my mother that I was going to put on her tombstone the words “Who took!” Whenever she misplaced or lost something, she would instantly call out, “Who took…!” to her four children and our father. Even though it had the syntax of a question, it was clearly an accusation. But even if she had asked it as a question, it would have been like the philosopher’s favorite non-question—“When did you stop beating your wife?”—but asked of someone who had never married. More »
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    Umbrella Man Paid Member

    For decades, Sojun Mel Weitsman has been an anchor of the Buddhist community in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. It might well be, however, that even if you’ve been around the North American Buddhist world for many years, you know little or nothing about him. I’m pretty sure that Mel—or Sojun Roshi, as he’s called formally as a Zen teacher— is just fine with that. More »