Book reviews

A Taste of Zen: Daju Huihai

Vinaya master Yuan asked Great Pearl, “When you practice the Way, do you use a special skill?”
Great Pearl said, “I do.”
Yuan asked, “What is it?”
Great Pearl said, “ When I’m hungry I eat. When I get sleepy I sleep.”
Yuan said, “Everyone does these things. Do they not have the same skill as you?”
Great Pearl said, “They do not have the same skill.”
Yuan said, “Why is it not the same?

Zen Sickness, by Zen Master Hakuin

Afterwards, however, as I began reflecting upon my everyday behaviour, I could see that the two aspects of my life—the active and the meditative—were totally out of balance. No matter what I was doing, I never felt free or completely at ease. I realised I would have to rekindle a fearless resolve and once again throw myself life and limb together into the Dharma struggle…

A taste of Zen: Heze Shenhui

Shenhui thus founded what became known as the Heze (in Japanese, Kataku) school of Zen. The branch largely died out during the early ninth century and is not remembered as a major school. Nevertheless, the doctrine of sudden enlightenment remained a central characteristic that defined the teaching styles and cultural flavour of later Chinese Zen…

Time to Learn

A young Buddhist monk approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master: ‘If I meditate very diligently how long will it take for me to become enlightened?’

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism

With more than 5,000 entries totalling over a million words, this is one of the most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of Buddhism in English. It is also the first to cover terms from all of the canonical Buddhist languages and traditions: Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean…

The Tibetan Chan Manuscripts

These manuscripts, found in the caves of Dunhuang, include the only surviving texts of a living ‘Tibetan Chan’ tradition. They give us a snapshot of the early Chan tradition from the eighth and tenth centuries…