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Books on Zen

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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Tenjiku on Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:12 am

Beatzen wrote:Does anyone else think of Alan Watts as "the L. Ron Hubbard of Zen Buddhism?"


Watts is not really my cup of tea, personally, but equating him with the L-Ron seems a bit extreme, in my view. I don't think he made massive profits off of his writings, or created a powerful institutional cult.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Tenjiku on Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:15 am

I am not sure if this was mentioned, although it's bound to be on some of the lists that were circulated earlier - Uchiyama Kosho's Opening the Hand of Thought is by far my favorite Zen book.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Sparkle on Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:06 am

Buddha Recognizes Buddha by Daishin Morgan,
Abbot of Throssel Hole Abbey.

This book is inspired by a deep study of the works of Dogen, within the context of Buddhist practice, over many years. It takes seriously the teaching that enlightenment is an ever present reality, whereby Zen meditation is an expression of enlightenment, not a means to an end. This understanding can have a profound effect on how we live.

Rev Master Daishin explores the role of will, faith, hope, and cause and effect from the point of view of non-duality. How can we understand ourselves and others without dividing the world into opposites - and still find a basis for moral action?
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Sparkle on Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:10 am

The above is the blurb off the web-site, incidentallly, not written by me :lol2:

A really worthwhile read in my opinion, for what that's worth.

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Re: Books on Zen

Postby sunyavadi on Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:14 am

I have just received, by way of a Christmas Amazon Gift Voucher, my copy of Living by Vow: A Practical Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Chants and Texts by Shohaku Okumura.

This immensely useful book explores Zen’s rich tradition of chanted liturgy and the powerful ways that such chants support meditation, expressing and helping us truly uphold our heartfelt vows to live a life of freedom and compassion. Exploring eight of Zen’s most essential and universal liturgical texts, Living by Vow is a handbook to walking the Zen path, and Shohaku Okumura guides us like an old friend, speaking clearly and directly of the personal meaning and implications of these chants, generously using his experiences to illustrate their practical significance. A scholar of Buddhist literature, he masterfully uncovers the subtle, intricate web of culture and history that permeate these great texts. Esoteric or challenging terms take on vivid, personal meaning, and old familiar phrases gain new poetic resonance.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby sunyavadi on Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:18 am

Beatzen wrote:Does anyone else think of Alan Watts as "the L. Ron Hubbard of Zen Buddhism?"


I think that is a horrible thing to say. I know all about Watts' idiosyncracies and failings, and nobody who read the Monica Furlong bio would not. But he was a tremendously insightful and sensitive writer, perceptive philosopher, and excellent prose stylist, unlike that other scoundrel who was a (content deleted for fear of being sued by the Borg). :cry:
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby unsui on Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:36 pm

sunyavadi wrote:
Beatzen wrote:Does anyone else think of Alan Watts as "the L. Ron Hubbard of Zen Buddhism?"


I think that is a horrible thing to say. I know all about Watts' idiosyncracies and failings, and nobody who read the Monica Furlong bio would not. But he was a tremendously insightful and sensitive writer, perceptive philosopher, and excellent prose stylist, unlike that other scoundrel who was a (content deleted for fear of being sued by the Borg). :cry:

I don't know the Monica Furlong bio - so I don't know much about Watts. What I've read has been on a level (academic/scholarly/philosophical) that wasn't suitable for me at the time I read it, but I know that he started alot of people on the road. For that I am grateful!

People have also said quite a bit about Kapleau's Three Pillars of Zen, but I read it in Swedish at a point in time where I only could borrow that book or Watts from the library - and it was necessary for me to start somewhere at that junction in time. So that book still has a star on my list.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Ninpo on Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:21 pm

Not a book on Zen per se but a decent book on Buddhism and you'll take from it what you can.

It was recommended to me by my martial arts instructor who also teaches us about Zen & Theravada.

The Words of My Perfect Teacher: Patrul Rinpoche

Good book, the chapters on the 18 hot and cold hells puts things into perspective.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby unsui on Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:42 pm

Ninpo wrote:Not a book on Zen per se but a decent book on Buddhism and you'll take from it what you can.

It was recommended to me by my martial arts instructor who also teaches us about Zen & Theravada.

The Words of My Perfect Teacher: Patrul Rinpoche.

I second this!
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Pedestrian on Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:19 pm

I have been steeping in Red Pine translations lately: I've read his versions of the Diamond Sutra, Hui-neng's Platform Sutra, and the Heart Sutra over the last several weeks, and I've got my sleeves rolled up for the Lankavatara Sutra currently.

Of course, the aforementioned sutras are at the core of the Mahayana textual legacy, and there are a lot of digital trees dead and/or waiting to die concerning matters of sutra translation between Pine, Cleary, Suzuki, et al. I'm here to recommend his annotations to various phrases, lines, and chapters. They range from historical and biographical information to subtle readings of the text, and several of them are remarkable mini-essays on their own that have been indispensable to my practice.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby sunyavadi on Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:29 am

unsui wrote:
sunyavadi wrote:
Beatzen wrote:Does anyone else think of Alan Watts as "the L. Ron Hubbard of Zen Buddhism?"


I think that is a horrible thing to say. I know all about Watts' idiosyncracies and failings, and nobody who read the Monica Furlong bio would not. But he was a tremendously insightful and sensitive writer, perceptive philosopher, and excellent prose stylist, unlike that other scoundrel who was a (content deleted for fear of being sued by the Borg). :cry:

I don't know the Monica Furlong bio - so I don't know much about Watts. What I've read has been on a level (academic/scholarly/philosophical) that wasn't suitable for me at the time I read it, but I know that he started alot of people on the road. For that I am grateful!

People have also said quite a bit about Kapleau's Three Pillars of Zen, but I read it in Swedish at a point in time where I only could borrow that book or Watts from the library - and it was necessary for me to start somewhere at that junction in time. So that book still has a star on my list.


The very first zen book I ever read was his Way of Zen. I thought it a superb book and still do. Then I read Supreme Idenity and several others of his books. During the 60's and 70's his books were really cutting edge. Plus he did television and radio broadcasts on Zen and Eastern philosophy during the 60's. I showed some excerpts in my Buddhism and the West class in 2012. They hold up really well in my view (despite the kitsch sets and the fact that he was smoking cigarettes whilst talking to the camera).

The Furlong bio revealed that he was really rather a chaotic individual who drank far too much and was a constant womanizer. His drinking was a big factor in his early demise. All that said, I love Alan Watts books and recommend them without any reservation to anyone who is interested broadening their understanding of philosophy East and West. I don't understand why anyone would compare him to that revolting cult leader who really ought to have been jailed. I feel like Watts is an old friend, and I will say he remains one of the very best writers on Eastern philosophy of his and subsequent generations.

//edit// - By the way, I have started that book I mentioned above before making the Watts comment - it is superb.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby unsui on Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:09 pm

Pedestrian wrote:I have been steeping in Red Pine translations lately: I've read his versions of the Diamond Sutra, Hui-neng's Platform Sutra, and the Heart Sutra over the last several weeks, and I've got my sleeves rolled up for the Lankavatara Sutra currently.

Of course, the aforementioned sutras are at the core of the Mahayana textual legacy, and there are a lot of digital trees dead and/or waiting to die concerning matters of sutra translation between Pine, Cleary, Suzuki, et al. I'm here to recommend his annotations to various phrases, lines, and chapters. They range from historical and biographical information to subtle readings of the text, and several of them are remarkable mini-essays on their own that have been indispensable to my practice.

Red Pine opened my heart to the Heart Sutra after years of reciting it. I can remember the very moment!

But I haven't read his commentaries to the other sutras. I think I'm lazy. My study of the sutras often happens when we begin to translate them to Danish and then hold courses on them. And because of one of Gregory's comments a few weeks back, I swallowed quite a bit more of the Lankavatara.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby unsui on Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:16 pm

sunyavadi wrote:The very first zen book I ever read was his Way of Zen. I thought it a superb book and still do. Then I read Supreme Idenity and several others of his books. During the 60's and 70's his books were really cutting edge. Plus he did television and radio broadcasts on Zen and Eastern philosophy during the 60's. I showed some excerpts in my Buddhism and the West class in 2012. They hold up really well in my view (despite the kitsch sets and the fact that he was smoking cigarettes whilst talking to the camera).

The Furlong bio revealed that he was really rather a chaotic individual who drank far too much and was a constant womanizer. His drinking was a big factor in his early demise. All that said, I love Alan Watts books and recommend them without any reservation to anyone who is interested broadening their understanding of philosophy East and West. I don't understand why anyone would compare him to that revolting cult leader who really ought to have been jailed. I feel like Watts is an old friend, and I will say he remains one of the very best writers on Eastern philosophy of his and subsequent generations.

//edit// - By the way, I have started that book I mentioned above before making the Watts comment - it is superb.

Thank-you. I wil take a book off the shelf.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby partofit22 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:20 am

has anyone read The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman yet? i just started to reading it this evening- funny stuff!
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Pedestrian on Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:19 pm

unsui wrote:
Pedestrian wrote:I have been steeping in Red Pine translations lately: I've read his versions of the Diamond Sutra, Hui-neng's Platform Sutra, and the Heart Sutra over the last several weeks, and I've got my sleeves rolled up for the Lankavatara Sutra currently.

Of course, the aforementioned sutras are at the core of the Mahayana textual legacy, and there are a lot of digital trees dead and/or waiting to die concerning matters of sutra translation between Pine, Cleary, Suzuki, et al. I'm here to recommend his annotations to various phrases, lines, and chapters. They range from historical and biographical information to subtle readings of the text, and several of them are remarkable mini-essays on their own that have been indispensable to my practice.

Red Pine opened my heart to the Heart Sutra after years of reciting it. I can remember the very moment!

But I haven't read his commentaries to the other sutras. I think I'm lazy. My study of the sutras often happens when we begin to translate them to Danish and then hold courses on them. And because of one of Gregory's comments a few weeks back, I swallowed quite a bit more of the Lankavatara.


I think that the commentaries (which now regularly include references to the commentaries of centuries of other Zen/Ch'an translators including RP's) on the first five chapters of the Diamond Sutra are also particularly terrific.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Jiun Ken on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:42 am

Lida wrote:I am glad to see Charlotte Joko Beck's name show up on someone's list. Her plain talk did wonders for my understanding. She said she considered one of the best books on this subject to be The Supreme Doctrine by Hubert Benoit. I would love to hear comments from anyone who has read this amazing book.


http://www.scribd.com/doc/100554758/Hubert-Benoit-•-Zen-and-the-Psychology-of-Transformation-The-Supreme-Doctrine. :Namaste:
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby sunyavadi on Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:25 am

I was given The Supreme Doctrine by one of my tutors, many years ago. I confess to not having read the whole book. It is very good but also written somewhat in the style of Continental philosophy and is rather densely argued. The reason I had become aware of it, was because many of the other books I was reading at the time quoted it, and I think it was rather a pioneering book when it was written. And indeed it has many excellent aphorisms and quote-worthy passages, but it is not on my personal all-time favourites list.
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:58 am

Jiun Ken wrote:
Lida wrote:I am glad to see Charlotte Joko Beck's name show up on someone's list. Her plain talk did wonders for my understanding. She said she considered one of the best books on this subject to be The Supreme Doctrine by Hubert Benoit. I would love to hear comments from anyone who has read this amazing book.


http://www.scribd.com/doc/100554758/Hubert-Benoit-•-Zen-and-the-Psychology-of-Transformation-The-Supreme-Doctrine. :Namaste:


Thanks for the Scribd link.

sunyavadi wrote:I was given The Supreme Doctrine by one of my tutors, many years ago. I confess to not having read the whole book. It is very good but also written somewhat in the style of Continental philosophy and is rather densely argued. The reason I had become aware of it, was because many of the other books I was reading at the time quoted it, and I think it was rather a pioneering book when it was written. And indeed it has many excellent aphorisms and quote-worthy passages, but it is not on my personal all-time favourites list.

This is one of my favorite Zen books! I first read it in 1972.

The Supreme Doctrine: Psychological Studies in Zen Thought by Hubert Benoit. First published in 1955 and the Viking Compass paperback edition came out in 1959. Forward by Aldous Huxley. the Scribd link shows a revised version of the first edition with a new sur-title of "Zen and the Psychology of Transformation" attempting to sell it with the emphasis on its psychological approach. There are several printings of the second edition (1995, 1998) with the original forward by Huxley and a second forward added by Tim Barrett. I haven't read the second edtion so I don't know what changes were made.

I just went to my book shelf to find my copy of the Viking Compass paper back, and it is so well used that the writing of the title on the back spine is no longer there and I just recognized it as the aged one.

Benoit's book is the first serious attempt to find the comprehensive correspondence between the Zen approach and Western psychology. Some people won't appreciate it because it is not a traditional Zen book and is presenting Benoit's view of Zen in the context and vernacular of psychology. In other words, people can see it as neither here nor there, rather than squarely in the middle. It is not a book written for the general audience with no background in psychology. For me it was just what I was looking for to relate Zen and Western psychology, and I eventually cited it in my psychology Master's Thesis in 1983.

Here's a bit from the last chapter of The Supreme Doctrine:
Benoit wrote:We are living from this moment in the state of satori; but we are prevented from enjoying it by the unceasing work of our psychological automatisms which close a vicious circle within us. Our imaginative-emotive agitation prevents us from seeing our Buddha-nature and, believing therefore that we lack our essential reality, we are obliged to imagine in order to compensate this illusory effect.


Then he presents a long laundry list of the kinds of psychological automatisms that we imagine about ourselves as part of our compensatory effort, such as:

Benoit wrote:I believe that I am separated from my own “being” and I am looking for it in order to reunite myself with it.
...
I train myself never to recognize the equality between the outside world and myself.


The astute reader will recognize that his term “psychological automatisms” means klesa rendered variously in English as “afflictions, troubles, defilements, vexations, etc.” What he calls the compensatory imagination is what is called parikalpita-svabhāva in the system of the three natures (trisvabhava) and rendered in English variously, for example, as “constructed own-nature” or “imagined reality.”

I see the title “The Supreme Doctrine” as an homage to the Fifth Ancestor Hongren who wrote the Discourse on the Most Supreme Vehicle.

_/|\_
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:25 am

sunyavadi wrote:
Beatzen wrote:Does anyone else think of Alan Watts as "the L. Ron Hubbard of Zen Buddhism?"


I think that is a horrible thing to say. I know all about Watts' idiosyncracies and failings, and nobody who read the Monica Furlong bio would not. But he was a tremendously insightful and sensitive writer, perceptive philosopher, and excellent prose stylist, unlike that other scoundrel who was a (content deleted for fear of being sued by the Borg). :cry:

Alan Watts was a bodhisattva masqurading as a pratyekabuddha.

In my view, any derogatory comments about Watts are unfortunate. Since Watts never created a sychophantic organization, never required people to worship him, his ideas, or his writings, nor wrote about otherworldy fictions, I find the allusion to Hubbard to be simply phantasmal.

From Watts' Wikipedia entry:
He did, however, have his supporters in the Zen community, including Shunryu Suzuki, the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center. As David Chadwick recounted in his biography of Suzuki, when a student of Suzuki's disparaged Watts by saying "we used to think he was profound until we found the real thing", Suzuki "fumed with a sudden intensity", saying, "You completely miss the point about Alan Watts! You should notice what he has done. He is a great bodhisattva."


Chadwick's Crooked Cucumber biography of Shunryu Suzuki is a fun Zen book too!

_/|\_
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Why you do not understand is because the three carts were provisional for former times, and because the One Vehicle is true for the present time. ~ Zen Master 6th Ancestor Huineng
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Re: Books on Zen

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:41 am

Zoketsu Norman Fischer has just released his newest book,
Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong

The book examines the 59 Slogans of the Seven Point Mind Training from the perspective of Zen practice.

I haven't read it yet, but it is on my reading list.

He is beginning a book tour (including Texas, Arizona, Washington, Illinois, North Carolina, and else where) with a reading this week at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California.

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