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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

Cold Mountain: Chinese poet Han Shan

Cold Mountain is a film portrait of the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Han Shan, a.k.a. Cold Mountain. Recorded on location in China, America and Japan, Burton Watson, Red Pine, and Gary Snyder describe the poet’s life and poems.

Han Shan

Short film (about 30 minutes)

Han Shan wrote poems for everyone, not just the educated elite. A man free of spiritual doctrine, it is unclear whether or not he was a monk, whether he was a Buddhist or a Taoist, or both. It is not even certain he ever lived, but the poems do.

Children, I implore you
get out of the burning house now.
Three carts await outside
to save you from a homeless life.
Relax in the village square
before the sky, everything’s empty.
No direction is better or worse,
East just as good as West.
Those who know the meaning of this
are free to go where they want.

Red Pine poem 253

Directed by Mike Hazard and Deb Wallwork, the music is by Gao Hong and animations are by John Akre. For more, visit Center for International Education.

The film will engage people interested in poetry, China, Zen, Taoism and other spiritual pursuits.

For more from Red Pine (Bill Porter) click here.

The Power of Patriarchs: Qisong and Lineage in Chinese Buddhism

The Power of PatriarchsThe Chan monk Qisong (1007-1072), an important figure in Northern Song religious and intellectual history, has garnered relatively little scholarly attention. This book provides a detailed biography with a focus on the influential historical writings he composed to defend Chan claims of a “mind-to-mind transmission” tracing back to the historical Buddha. It places his defence of lineage in the context not only of attacks by the rival Tiantai school but also of the larger backdrop of the development of lineage and patriarchs as sources of authority in Chinese Buddhism. It advances new arguments about these Chinese Buddhist innovations, challenges common assumptions about Chan masters, and offers insights into the interactions of Buddhists, Confucians, and the imperial court during the Song. Continue reading

The Qingzhou Discoveries

In 1996 around 400 Chinese stone sculptures of the Buddha were discovered in Qingzhou, China.

Images © The State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China, and © Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Experience your own Awareness: A Conversation on Chan (Zen) Buddhism with Bill Porter

Bill PorterA Conversation on Zen Buddhism with Bill Porter

The University of Arizona

For more from Red Pine (Bill Porter) click here.

Birth and Death, by Shen Hui

Saidai-ji's (西大寺) green KannonMaster Kien asked Master Shen Hui: ‘However hard I practise seeing my true nature, I am always brought back into birth and death. What method must be practised in order to obtain the birthless and the deathless?’ Shen Hui replied:   ‘”Seeing” — that means the absence of birth and death. “Birth and death” — that means seeing people subject to birth and death. If there is absence of all birth and death as well as absence of birthlessness and deathlessness, then that is obtaining the birthless and the deathless.’


But for Shen-Hui Zen, as we know it today, would probably be quite different. He was one of the main students of the famous sixth patriarch Hui-neng. However, what is not very well known is that after Hui-neng’s death, the Zen patriarchship first pasted to the leader of the ‘gradual’ school of Zen Shen-hsiu. Shen-Hui went to the Chinese court and made the case for Hui-neng and the teaching of sudden awakening, and after many years had Hui-neng recognised as the sixth patriarch.

First published in the April 1989 Buddhism Now

The Long Way Home, by Sun Shuyun

Buddha Amida, Lord of the Western Paradise or Pure LandI grew up in China in the 1960s. Many of you will, I am sure, know what a strange time that was in China. Just about everything was turned upside down and Buddhism was very much a synonym for anything that was bad about our society. Buddhism was regarded as feudal, reactionary, and as something that gave China a lot of its evils. In primary school we had compulsory classes on political studies three times a week, during which times we studied Mao’s work, and religion was a target of attack. Communism regarded Buddhism, I would say, as the main competitor for the control for faith, for the control of people’s minds. Indeed, we had a saying, `One more Buddhist, one less Communist.’ Throughout China, even today, the one thing you will definitely see in most villages and cities, big and small, is a temple. It could be as small as a few square metres, or as big as a palace. This became, and still is I think, the symbol of Buddhism. Continue reading

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