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You Have to Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight [Paperback]

Dainin Katagiri , Steve Hagen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Feb 2000 Manifesting Zen Insight
Dainin Katagiri (1928–1990) was a central figure in the transmission of Zen in America. His first book, Returning to Silence, emphasized the need to return to our original, enlightened state of being, and became one of the classics of Zen in America. In You Have to Say Something, selections from his talks have been collected to address another key theme of Katagiri's teaching: that of bringing Zen insight to bear on our everyday experience. "To live life fully," Katagiri says, "means to take care of your life day by day, moment to moment, right here, right now." To do this, he teaches, we must plunge into our life completely, bringing to it the same wholeheartedness that is required in Zen meditation. When we approach life in this way, every activity—everything we do, everything we say—becomes an opportunity for manifesting our own innate wisdom. With extraordinary freshness and immediacy, Katagiri shows the reader how this wisdom not only enlivens our spiritual practice but can help make our life a rich, seamless whole.

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You Have to Say Something: Manifesting Zen Insight + Returning to Silence: Zen Practice in Everyday Life (Shambhala Dragon Editions) + Meditation Now or Never
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc; New edition edition (1 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570624623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570624629
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 393,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Usually people have the idea that they can attain wisdom if they do zazen. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It didn't want it to end! 17 May 2007
By sanyata
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Only very rarely do I experience the sensation that I do not want the book I am reading to end.

But this book was one such genuine experience. Katagiri obviously approaches life from an idealist and feeling perspective - describing even complicated problems in beautiful poetic allegories. This is the true height of modern Zen poetry!

And yet it is not poetry at all but straightforward and clear writing that deals with the fundamental problems of existance in a plain and irreligious manner. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He says something 12 May 2010
Format:Paperback
This book is based on talks from this late Zen master, one of those who spread the Dharma teaching from Japan to America from the 1960s onwards.

I cannot say that I understood it all, but it is like rich food that has to be digested in small portions. Each section is only a few pages.

What he makes clear for me is that the spiritual practice of Zen embraces the whole of one's life; not just the practice of sitting meditation (zazen), but living mindfully in every moment of being alive without attachment.

Ultimately words fail to describe such experience, and the reality is not what is described. But as Dainin Katagiri recognised, you have to say something to help people, and I think he succeeds in awakening in us the recognition of what our lives could be if we follow the path he points to.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
YOU HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING: Manifesting Zen Insight
by Dainin Katagiri with editing by Steve Hagen Published by Shambala, 1998
Reviewed by Keith Wiger: Reviewed for the Anchorage Zen Community Newsletter
I am a thoroughly biased reviewer of this recently-released collection of Katagiri Roshi lectures. Having identified Roshi as my teacher some twenty-five years ago, I count myself as one his surviving dharma-heirs. To have another collection of his writings is to have access to a part of the treasure that was his embodied teachings. I savor these short pithy pieces, enjoying the places they take me as I digest the various morsels. It's as though I once again am able to be with Roshi, and listen to his unique speech as he expounds on an obscure koan.
A couple of Roshi's students have recently published books that describe their relationships with him. Natalie Goldberg's Long Quiet Highway and Eric Storlie's Nothing on my Mind are personal accounts of Roshi's influence on their lives. I have read these accounts with great interest, curious in their descriptions and experiences if they had met the same man that I did. These accounts are secondary sources of the dharma as taught by Roshi---almost like listening in on the private interviews of a teacher and student. Reading the various lectures contained in this collection is a more direct link to his teaching.
I first met Roshi in 1974, and began attending his Saturday morning lectures at the Minnesota Zen Center soon thereafter. I often remember leaving these lectures with befuddlement. Three possibilites were conjured in these moments to explain my befuddled mind: 1. If only Roshi's Japoenglish were more clear and complete I would understand what he was saying; 2.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And I say it's a must-buy. 8 April 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Katagiri's discussion of "refined action" makes this book worth its weight in gold.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
83 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clean, concise, and pithy edited versions of Katagiri-lectur 26 Mar 1999
By kw@micronet.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
YOU HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING: Manifesting Zen Insight
by Dainin Katagiri with editing by Steve Hagen Published by Shambala, 1998
Reviewed by Keith Wiger: Reviewed for the Anchorage Zen Community Newsletter
I am a thoroughly biased reviewer of this recently-released collection of Katagiri Roshi lectures. Having identified Roshi as my teacher some twenty-five years ago, I count myself as one his surviving dharma-heirs. To have another collection of his writings is to have access to a part of the treasure that was his embodied teachings. I savor these short pithy pieces, enjoying the places they take me as I digest the various morsels. It's as though I once again am able to be with Roshi, and listen to his unique speech as he expounds on an obscure koan.
A couple of Roshi's students have recently published books that describe their relationships with him. Natalie Goldberg's Long Quiet Highway and Eric Storlie's Nothing on my Mind are personal accounts of Roshi's influence on their lives. I have read these accounts with great interest, curious in their descriptions and experiences if they had met the same man that I did. These accounts are secondary sources of the dharma as taught by Roshi---almost like listening in on the private interviews of a teacher and student. Reading the various lectures contained in this collection is a more direct link to his teaching.
I first met Roshi in 1974, and began attending his Saturday morning lectures at the Minnesota Zen Center soon thereafter. I often remember leaving these lectures with befuddlement. Three possibilites were conjured in these moments to explain my befuddled mind: 1. If only Roshi's Japoenglish were more clear and complete I would understand what he was saying; 2. He was talking nonsense that had little relevance to my life; 3. Something profoundly simple and unique had been uttered and I just didn't get it. Most often I would settle on the latter explanation, as I often felt something important was occurring for/in me in being there, regardless of my understanding.
Frequently when I sit sesshin, I will come upon moments when auditory halluncinations of Roshi's voice arises within. I will vividly hear his gravelly voice intoning one of his simple and oft-repeated phrases like, "Just sit up straight; that's all you have to do." Images appear of him running his hand over his monk-bald head as he searches for a word to explain his meaning. I secretly welcome these visits. I smile in appreciation for his continued presence. Reading this collection of essays is akin to hearing his voice; simple, direct eloquent statements of encouragement to engage with this present moment.
I recall visiting Roshi in 1988 as his first collection of lectures was about to be released. He gave me a copy of Returning to Silence, and with an impish smile, and slyly whispered to me "this is veeerrry gooood." Then he tossed his head back and laughed at his pretense of purported pride and self-congratulatory manner. It was the last time I saw Roshi. He died in 1990.
During his last six years, Roshi came to Anchorage on four occasions. Many of us here were touched by his gentle, compassionate nature. Some were introduced to the forms of zazen by him. Our morning service is much the same as the service Roshi brought to us from Minnesota. In the fifteen years of our small sangha, several of the priests that received transmission from Roshi have served as our teachers : Dokai, Nonin, Shoken, Taijo, Mike Port, Yvonne Rand. We received much from this little Japanese master.
I encourage you to get a copy of You Have to Say Something. They are edited by another priest who received transmission from Katagiri, Steve Hagen. He's removed much of the unique venacular that was Katagiri's speech, so these lectures read as though Roshi had impeccable English. (Something lost....and something gained??) I find these pieces to helpful encouragement in my daily practice.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those books that deserves going over again and again 22 Dec 2004
By Swing King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Whenever a person ponders Zen philosophy and it's practice, there is normally a list of names one runs through their mind concerning those they have looked to for guidance and inspiration over the years; Dainin Katagiri was just that sort of individual to me. Often overlooked, and even more frequently wholly unheard of, he was unquestionably one of the most prolific of Zen masters to have taught in the modern era. Fortunate for all of us, by 1990 (the year of his death) he had already touched countless of lives through his leadership at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center as well as his travels all across the globe. He truly was, as some have described him over the years, a "living Buddha."

Publishers Weekly doesn't know what they are talking about concerning this book. It's a gem, hands down. They claim Katagiri Roshi lacked humor in his approach to Zen; I mean, just look at the book's cover. It's not often we see such a happy face in our endeavors these days! Zen is practice. While this book may help folks, it's not actually zazen. Which ironically is what Katagiri was recommending in this exquisite piece of work! To Katagiri, zazen was the backbone to our very life. Roshi explained here how compassion is what gives one life and vitality, like drinking "spring water" as he had put it. And for the person over there at Publishers Weekly who seemed to suggest this book will not "lure newcomers", Katagiri Roshi left them some obviously unheeded advice, as well: "Beyond your likes and dislikes, you have to obey winter as it is. Then you will learn what winter really is." This book is WINTER!

Summer, winter. Which do you like?

Seung Sahn Zen master always said, "Only go straight." So now that we got that straight, thank you Publishers Weekly, for that stellar review! As for Amazon.com customers - by all means, buy this book. It's well worth the investment.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem 19 Jan 2000
By Curmudgeon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Clear and concise, this book is one to carry with you any time. Katagiri beautifully elucidates right thinking and action in a compassionate, encouraging manner. Whenever I pick up this book I feel nourished and called to be a better person.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yakety Yak Zen 15 Sep 2007
By Konrei - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
YOU HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING is Katagiri-roshi's cheerful follow-up to his Returning to Silence (Shambhala Dragon Editions). No "heavyweight" Zen here, this is just a collection of Katagiri's teisho (teachings) presented in the form of short, pithy, and humorous discourses. It's a quick read (I started and finished it while waiting for new reading glasses at the optometrist's, about a three hour wait) that invites deeper and more contemplative perusals---a single reading is worth hours of reflection. A wonderful book for both the committed practitioner and the newcomer, this comes highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and comforting text 3 April 2013
By AFM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Katagiri's writing is down to earth, humble, and piercing. The text is perfect, imho. It is like being in mindfulness, being in bodichitta. Cool water, fresh air, sanity, honesty.
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