By Katsuki Sekida
The unusual verbal paradoxes known as koans were used typically in Zen education to aid scholars reach an instantaneous awareness of truths inexpressible in phrases. the 2 works translated during this publication, Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate ) and Hekiganroku (The Blue Cliff Record), either compiled in the course of the track dynasty in China, are the simplest recognized and most often studied koan collections, and are classics of Zen literature. they're nonetheless used at the present time in various perform lineages, from conventional zendos to fashionable Zen facilities. In a very new translation, including unique commentaries, the well known Zen instructor Katsuki Sekida brings to those works an analogous clean and pragmatic technique that made his Zen education such a success. The insights of a life of Zen perform and his familiarity with either japanese and Western methods of considering make him a terrific interpreter of those texts.
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Extra info for Two Zen Classics: The Gateless Gate and the Blue Cliff Records
Clergymen frequently invented relatively unforeseen inquiries to take the grasp without notice and got awesome solutions. • I sit down by myself in this nice elegant top. the unique textual content says dokuza dai yūhō (doku, on my own; za, sit down; dai, nice; yū, chic; hō, peak): I sit down on my own at the nice chic height. there has been actually a rocky top 100 fathoms excessive on Mount Hyakujō (the identify itself capacity 100 fathoms: hyaku, 100; jō, fathom). This height was once known as the nice elegant height. Now, this nice chic height was once Hyakujō himself. yet Hyakujō was once now not bragging. He was once easily the good chic top, that's Myōhōchō (Case 23), the final word fact of the universe. • The monk made a bow. The monk made a gesture of astonishment on the visual appeal sooner than him of so brilliant something because the nice chic top. He made his bows with an exaggerated measure of rite. after all, he was once expressing his admiration of Hyakujō and his resolution. whilst, there has been a component of bantering in his motion. This was once a regular a part of a Dharma conflict. • Jō struck him. This was once a Dharma conflict, and the blow was once the of completion. • around the patriarch’s box went galloping / The heavenly horse, Baso’s successor. The patriarch’s box is the area of Zen. a very good horse, able to 1000 miles an afternoon, usually seems to be in chinese language literature. the following the pony potential Hyakujō, Baso’s successor. either those masters minimize conspicuous figures within the realm of Zen, like positive horses galloping freely throughout a box. The comparability is principally apt in Baso’s case, as his identify comprises the ideograph for horse (ba, horse; so, patriarch). • diverse, notwithstanding, in manner of educating, / In keeping quickly and letting move. each Zen grasp has his personal person approach to instructing. This remark isn't really inevitably restricted to Baso and Hyakujō. “Holding quickly” and “letting cross” are defined within the notes to Case four. • His activities have been speedy as lightning. Hyakujō had the quickness of speech and motion attribute of an outstanding grasp. • continuously becoming. A Zen instructor occasionally adapts himself to the extent of his disciples, whereas at different instances he's unyielding and unaccommodating. that's to claim, he occasionally shall we move, occasionally holds quickly, constantly doing what's most fitted to the placement. he modifies from one method of the opposite intuitively and speedily. Hyakujō’s solution within the current case was once well matched to the questioner. • The monk got here to tweak the tiger’s whiskers, / yet his efforts made him a laughingstock. The monk got here aspiring to try Hyakujō and, if attainable, to take him abruptly. however it was once like pulling a tiger’s whisker, and the upshot was once to make him a laughingstock between Zen humans. however the laughter is kindly and appreciative. Case 27 Ummon’s “Golden Breeze” ENGO’S creation One query, and he solutions ten; one nook, and the opposite 3 are made transparent. Seeing the hare, he shall we cross the hawk; utilizing the wind, he makes fireplace. Now, no longer sparing the eyebrows could be set aside for a while—how approximately your coming into the tiger’s cave?