- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: North Atlantic Books,U.S.; New edition edition (30 Sept. 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 155643247X
- ISBN-13: 978-1556432477
- Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.3 x 20.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,437,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Unlocking the Zen Koan: A New Translation of the Zen Classic Wumenguan Paperback – 30 Sep 1997
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This text provides a translation of "Wumenguan", a classic collection of 48 Chinese Zen Koans, with commentaries by the 13th-century Zen Master Wumen Huikai, whose name is derived from the first Koan in the book, on the concept of no.
From the Back Cover
In Unlocking the Zen Koan (originally published as No Boundary) Thomas Cleary translates directly from the Chinese and interprets Zen Master Wumen's text and commentaries in verse and prose on the inner meaning of the koans. Cleary then gives us other great Chinese Zen masters' comments in prose or verse on the same koan. Cleary's probing, analytic commentaries wrestle with meaning and shading, explaining principles and practices. Five different steps to follow in reading the koan begin with its use as a single abrupt perception, and lead progressively to more intellectual readings, illustrating the fixations which stand in the way of a true Zen understanding.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There are plenty of books out there that purport to be about Zen, but as far as I can tell, only a handful of them are genuinely helpful over the long haul -- Reps's _Zen Flesh, Zen Bones_, Kapleau's _Three Pillars_, Suzuki's _Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind_, the other Suzuki's _Introduction to Zen Buddhism_, maybe Alan Watts's _The Way of Zen_ and Stephen Mitchell's _Dropping Ashes on the Buddha_. Cleary's Wumenguan belongs on the shelf next to these.
Cleary insists (correctly) that Zen is not anti-intellectual or anti-reason ("not blind to causality"), and it doesn't encourage the practitioner to dissolve one's mind (or the world) into undifferentiated mush. On that basis alone, quite a few of the trendy "Zen" books currently in print can be tossed directly into the trash.
One fact of which the reader/buyer should be aware: this is the very same book that was previously published as _No Barrier_ (which the back cover of this volume incorrectly calls _No Boundary_). I've had the earlier book since it was first published and I'm glad I didn't buy this one.