Cultivating the Empty Field is a modern translation of the core of Chinese Ch'an master Hongzhi's Extensive Record. First to articulate the meditation method known to contemporary Zen practitioners as shikantaza ("just sitting") Chinese Zen master Hongzhi is one of the most influential poets in all of Zen literature. This translation of Hongzhi's poetry, the only such volume available in English, treats readers to his profound wisdom and beautiful literary gift. In addition to dozens of Hongshi's religious poems, translator Daniel Leighton offers an extended introduction, placing the master's work in its historical context , as well as lineage charts and other information about the Chinese influence on Japanese Soto Zen. Both spiritual literature and meditation instruction, Cultivating the Empty Field is sure to inspire and delight.
Cultivating the Empty Field is a modern translation of the core of Chinese Ch'an master Hongzhi's Extensive Record. First to articulate the meditation method known to contemporary Zen practitioners as shikantaza ("just sitting") Chinese Zen master Hongzhi is one of the most influential poets in all of Zen literature. This translation of Hongzhi's poetry, the only such volume available in English, treats readers to his profound wisdom and beautiful literary gift. In addition to dozens of Hongshi's religious poems, translator Daniel Leighton offers an extended introduction, placing the master's work in its historical context, as well as lineage charts and other information about the Chinese influence on Japanese Soto Zen. Both spiritual literature and meditation instruction, Cultivating the Empty Field is sure to inspire and delight.
A Translation of Eihei Dagen's Bendowa, With Commentary by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi
Pubpsher: Tuttle Publishing
The Wholehearted Way is a translation of Eihei Dogen's Bendowa, one of the primary texts on Zen practice. Transcending any particular school of Buddhism or religious belief, Dogen's profound and poetic writings are respected as a pinnacle of world spiritual literature. Bendowa, or A Talk on the Wholehearted Practice of the Way, was written in 1231 A.D. and expresses Dogen's teaching of the essential meaning of zazen (seated meditation) and its practice. This edition also contains commentary on Bendowa by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, a foreword by Taigen Daniel Leighton, and an Introduction by Shohaku Okumura, both of whom prepared this English translation.
Whether speaking of student or master, Zen hinges on the question. Zen practice does not necessarily focus on the answers, but on finding a space in which we may sustain uncertainty and remain present and upright in the middle of investigations. Zen Questions begins by exploring "The World of Zazen,"--the foundational practice of the Zen school--presenting it as an attitude of sustained inquiry that offers us an entryway into true repose and joy. From there, Leighton draws deeply on his own experience as a Zen scholar and teacher to invite us into the creativity of Zen awareness and practice. He explores the poetic mind of Dogen with the poetry of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, and even "the American Dharma Bard" Bob Dylan. What's more, Leighton uncovers surprising resonances between the writings of America's Founding Fathers--including Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin--and the liberating ideals at the heart of Zen.
The joy of "suchness"—the absolute and true nature inherent in all appearance—shines through the teachings attributed to Dongshan Liangjie (807–869), the legendary founder of the Caodong lineage of Chan Buddhism (the predecessor of Sōtō Zen). Taigen Dan Leighton looks at the teachings attributed to Dongshan—in his Recorded Sayings and in the numerous koans in which he is featured as a character—to reveal the subtlety and depth of the teaching on the nature of reality that Dongshan expresses. Included are an analysis of the well-known teaching poem "Jewel Mirror Samadhi" and of the understanding of particular and universal expressed in the teaching of the Five Degrees. "The teachings embedded in the stories about Dongshan provide a rich legacy that has been sustained in practice traditions," says Taigen. "Dongshan’s subtle teachings about engagement with suchness remain vital today for Zen people and are available for all those who wish to find meaning amid the challenges to modern life."
As a religion concerned with universal liberation, Zen grew out of a Buddhist worldview very different from the currently prevalent scientific materialism. Indeed, says Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, dynamic agent of awareness and healing. In this book, Leighton explicates that worldview through the writings of the Zen master Eihei D?gen (1200-1253), considered the founder of the Japanese S?t? Zen tradition, which currently enjoys increasing popularity in the West. The Lotus Sutra, arguably the most important Buddhist scripture in East Asia, contains a famous story about bodhisattvas (enlightening beings) who emerge from under the earth to preserve and expound the Lotus teaching in the distant future. The story reveals that the Buddha only appears to pass away, but actually has been practicing, and will continue to do so, over an inconceivably long life span. Leighton traces commentaries on the Lotus Sutra from a range of key East Asian Buddhist thinkers, including Daosheng, Zhiyi, Zhanran, Saigyo, My?e, Nichiren, Hakuin, and Ry?kan. But his main focus is Eihei D?gen, the 13th century Japanese S?t? Zen founder who imported Zen from China, and whose profuse, provocative, and poetic writings are important to the modern expansion of Buddhism to the West. D?gen's use of this sutra expresses the critical role of Mahayana vision and imagination as the context of Zen teaching, and his interpretations of this story furthermore reveal his dynamic worldview of the earth, space, and time themselves as vital agents of spiritual awakening. Leighton argues that D?gen uses the images and metaphors in this story to express his own religious worldview, in which earth, space, and time are lively agents in the bodhisattva project. Broader awareness of D?gen's worldview and its implications, says Leighton, can illuminate the possibilities for contemporary approaches to primary Mahayana concepts and practices.
Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression — An Introduction to Mahayana Buddhism
Author: Taigen Dan Leighton
Pubpsher: Simon and Schuster
Faces of Compassion introduces us to enlightened beings, the bodhisattvas of Buddhist lore. They're not otherworldly gods with superhuman qualities but shining examples of our own highest potential. Archetypes of wisdom and compassion, the bodhisattvas of Buddhism are powerful and compelling images of awakening. Scholar and Zen teacher Taigen Dan Leighton engagingly explores the imagery and lore of the seven most important of these archetypal figures, bringing them alive as psychological and spiritual wellsprings. Emphasizing the universality of spiritual ideas, Leighton finds aspects of bodhisattvas expressed in a variety of familiar modern personages - from Muhammad Ali to Mahatma Gandhi, from Bob Dylan to Henry Thoreau, and from Gertrude Stein to Mother Teresa. This edition contains a revised and expanded introduction that frames the book as a exciting and broad-scoped view of Mahayana Buddhism. It's updated throughout to make it of more use to scholars and a perfect companion to survey courses of world religions or a 200-level course on Buddhism.
Essential Writings on the Zen Practice of Shikantaza
Author: John Daido Loori
Pubpsher: Simon and Schuster
Shikantaza--or "just sitting"--is one of the simplest, most subtle forms of meditation, and one of the most easily misunderstood. This peerless volume brings together a wealth of writings, from the Buddha himself to Bodhidharma and Dogen and many of modern Zen Buddhism's most influential masters, all pointing directly to the heart of this powerful practice. Edited by one of America's pre-eminent Zen teachers, this book is a rich resource for wisdom seekers and scholars alike.
Dogen, the thirteenth-century Zen master who founded the Japanese Soto school of Zen, is renowned as one the world's most remarkable religious geniuses. His works are both richly poetic and deeply insightful and philosophical, pointing to the endless depths of Zen exploration. And almost precisely because of these facts, Dogen is often difficult for readers to understand and fully appreciate. Realizing Genjokoan is a comprehensive introduction to the teachings and approach of this great thinker, taking us on a thorough guided tour of the most important essay-Genjokoan-in Dogen's seminal work, the Shobogenzo. Indeed, the Genjokoan is regarded as the pinnacle of Dogen's writings, encompassing and encapsulating the essence of all the rest of his work. Our tour guide for this journey is Shohaku Okumura, a prominent teacher in his own right, who has dedicated his life to translating and teaching Dogen. This volume also includes an introduction to Dogen's life from Hee-Jin Kim's classic, Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist, with updated annotations by Okumura.