Daily Zen Library

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The Secrets of Chinese Meditation

Lu K'uan Yu 1964 Lu K’uan Yu

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The Buddhist meditation master Lu K'uan Yü (Charles Luk), born 1898 in Canton, translates long extracts from classics on Chinese meditational practices, including a chapter from the Surangama Sutra that describes 25 basic meditational methods.  The Ch'an training for controlling the mind is given in a series of practical instructions by ancient and modern Ch'an masters.  Detailed suggestions for practicing the vital T'ien T'ai systems for calming the mind and developing insight follow in a first translation of Chih I's sixth century classic Samatha --Vipassana for Beginners.  Two chapers devoted to Taoist Yoga are included.

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The Mind Dharma

Lu K'uan Yu (1898-1978) According to the Ch'an method, self-cultivation begins with the control of mind as the starting point. By mind is meant the wandering mind, always in search of... View Journal Entry »

Mindfulness with Breathing

Translated by Santikaro Bhikkhu

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Any practitioner, after meditating for some time, inevitably wonders what meditation method the historical Buddha Shakyamuni himself used while beneath the Bodhi Tree. Many people understand that prior to his realization, Shakyamuni Buddha studied with many of the great yogis of his time, but most do not know what method he ultimately found leads most directly to nirvana.

In Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's book, Mindfulness With Breathing, the Thai meditation master provides practitioners with penetrating insights into the Anapanasati Sutta, the canonical text which many believe is the most direct transmission of Shakyamuni Buddha's breath meditation methods. Combined with a concise translation of the sutta itself, Mindfulness with Breathing is one of the best guides to Buddhist meditation practice available in the English language.

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Following the Breath with Mindfulness

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (1906-1993) The Buddha's Pranayama It is essential that we understand this profound truth: the prana-body is the conditioner of the flesh-body. We ought to know that... View Journal Entry »

A Tiger’s Cave - translations of Japanese Zen Texts - pub 1964

published 1964 Trevor P Leggett

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The Japanese texts translated give a fascinating pciture of actual Zen life--the life of traditional temple training, with many stories and a number of historical incidents connected with Zen masters.  The main text is a commentary on the Heart Sutra by Abot Obora, then comes a short autobiographical piece by Hakuin.  The remaining texts -two discourses by Rosen Takashina and some koans by Sogen Omori, a Zen master who was also a sword master, show what Zen in Japan means today.

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The Sermon of No Words

Rosen Takashina (1876- 1968) There is an ancient saying: "Better an inch of practice than a foot of preaching." It refers to the sermon preached by the body itself, through action and without... View Journal Entry »

Cave Temples of Mogao at Dunhuang


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The Mogao cave temples, near the ancient oasis region of dunhuang on China's fabled Silk Road, constitute one of the world's most significant sites of Buddhist art.  Founded by monks as an isolated monastery in the late fourth century, Mogao evolved into an artisitic and spiritual mecca renowned throughout China and central Asia.  Here, in some five hundred caves carved into rock cliffs on the edge of the Gobi desert, was preserved the pageantry of one thousand years- miles of wall paintings, more than two thousand statues, and tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts.

Cave Temples of Mogao tells the fascinating story of this remarkable site.

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Handbook for Zen Students

Sosan 1564-1579 Preface Those who studied Buddhism in antiquity would not speak as the Buddha had not spoken or act as the Buddha had not acted. Thus they treasured only the sacred... View Journal Entry »

The Lankavatara Sutra: Translation and Commentary

translated by Red Pine Red Pine

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The Lankavatara Sutra is the holy grail of Zen. Zen’s first patriarch, Bodhidharma, gave a copy of this text to his successor, Hui-k’o, and told him everything he needed to know was in this book. Passed down from teacher to student ever since, this is the only Zen sutra ever spoken by the Buddha. Although it covers all the major teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, it contains but two teachings: that everything we perceive as being real is nothing but the perceptions of our own mind and that the knowledge of this is something that must be realized and experienced for oneself and cannot be expressed in words. In the words of Chinese Zen masters, these two teachings became known as “have a cup of tea” and “taste the tea.”

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The Lankavatara Sutra

The Buddha Chapter 24 "Bodhisattvas should become adept at examining the two kinds of phenomena that have no self. And what are the two kinds of phenomena that have no self? Neither beings... View Journal Entry »

Questions from the Lankavatara Sutra

Buddha Mahamati Bodhisattva addressed the Buddha, "As for entering nirvana, Bhagavan, what is meant by 'nirvana?'" The Buddha replied, "Witnessing the transformation of the... View Journal Entry »
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Clear the Mind

Ta Hui (1089-1163) Buddha said, if you want to know the realm of buddhahood, you must make your mind as clear as empty space and leave false thinking and all grasping far behind, causing your... View Journal Entry »
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Sho-do-ka Song of Realization

Yoka-daishi (d.713) The minute you attain Buddha’s Zen, the six noble deeds and the ten thousand good actions are already complete within you. In your dream there are six paths,... View Journal Entry »

The Cooperation of Concentration and Insight

Yung-ming (905-976) In Zen and the Teachings there are two methods, most honored of the myriad practices of ten perfections. At first they are called stopping and seeing, to help new... View Journal Entry »
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Idle Talk On a Night Boat

Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) On the day I first committed myself to a life of Zen practice, I pledged to summon all the faith and courage at my command and dedicate myself with steadfast resolve... View Journal Entry »
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Climbing a Mountain, Crossing a River

Liu I-ming (1737-?) When you climb a mountain, you put forth effort with every step, not resting until you reach the summit. When you cross a river you take care with every step, not relaxing... View Journal Entry »

The Heart of the Pine

Liu I-ming (1737-1826) The heart of the pine is solid, the joints of bamboo are hard; therefore they do not wither in the cold of winter, but continue to flourish even through snow and... View Journal Entry »

The Wise Ones of Old

Lao Tzu  The Wise Ones of Old The wise ones of old had subtle wisdom And depth of understanding, So profound that they could not be understood. Because they could not be understood, I... View Journal Entry »

Attaining the Way - A Guide to the Practice of Chan Buddhism

Sheng Yen Master Sheng Yen

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This is an inspiring guide to the practice of Chan (Chinese Zen) in the words of four great masters of that tradition. It includes teachings from contemporary masters Xuyun and Sheng Yen, and from Jiexian and Boshan of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Though the texts were written over a period of hundreds of years, they are all remarkably lucid and are perfect for beginners as well as more advanced practitioners today. All the main points of spiritual practice are covered: philosophical foundations, methods, approaches to problems and obstacles—all aimed at helping the student attain the way to enlightenment.

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Silent Illumination

Sheng Yen (1930-2009) The method of silent illumination is also known in Zen as shikantaza, from the Chinese zhiguan dazuo.  In the West this has also become known as "just... View Journal Entry »

Investigating Chan and Contemplating Mind

Xuyun (1839-1959) Our sect focuses on investigating Chan. And the purpose of investigating Chan is to "illuminate the Mind and see one's own self-nature," which means to thoroughly... View Journal Entry »

Concentration and Wisdom are One Essence

Sheng Yen  (1930-2009) To practice Chan we begin with afflicted mind and learn to discipline it. We then concentrate the mind to unify it, and eventually we perceive the true nature of... View Journal Entry »

The Essentials of Chan Practice

Xu Yun (1839-1959) The purpose of investigating Chan is to illuminate the Mind and see your self-nature. You must eradicate the mind's impurities so as to personally perceive the true... View Journal Entry »
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The Mind Ground

T'aego (1301-1382) At the behest of the King, T'aego gave a brief outline of the basic principles of Zen: There is something bright and clear, without falsity, without biases,... View Journal Entry »

Beyond Words

T'aego (1301-1382) Our original teacher Buddha, the World Honored One, said to Ananda, "Even if you memorize the sutras of the tathagatas of the past, present, and future, this is not as... View Journal Entry »

Essential Teachings of Dogen

Dogen (1200-1253) Buddha ancestors have said since ancient times,  "Living for one hundred years does not compare with living for one day and arousing determination for the way." Even... View Journal Entry »

Zen Essence: The Science of Freedom

Edited and Translated Thomas Cleary Thomas Cleary

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Drawn from the records of Chinese Zen masters of the Tang and Song dynasties, this collection may surprise some readers. In contrast to the popular image of Zen as an authoritarian, monastic tradition deeply rooted in Asian culture, these passages portray Zen as remarkably flexible, adaptive to contemporary and individual needs, and transcending cultural boundaries. The readings contained in Zen Essence emphasize that the practice of Zen requires consciousness alone and does not depend on a background in Zen Buddhism and Asian culture. The true essence of Zen resides in the relationship between mind and culture, whatever that culture might be. This unique collection of writings creates a picture of Zen not as a religion or philosophy, but as a practical science of freedom

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The Perception of Sages

Xiatang The Scripture on Infinite Light says, "Rivers, lakes, birds, trees, and forests all invoke Buddha, Truth, and Communion." In a moment of awareness without discrimination, great... View Journal Entry »

Subtle Wisdom: Understanding Suffering, Cultivating Compassion Through Ch’an Buddhism

By Sheng Yen Master Sheng Yen

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Master Sheng-yen, a dharma descendant from the founders of Buddhism in China, considers the concepts of suffering, enlightenment, and compassion; provides a glossary of key terms; and briefly recaps the history of Buddhism in China. But he goes beyond these issues to discuss contemporary matters and questions he has encountered in his years of teaching in the United States. Sometimes personal and always instructive, Sheng-yen's introductory work is perfect for those just coming to Buddhism, and for those who are already very familiar with the Tibetan and Zen schools.

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Treatise on Sitting Meditation 3

Daikaku (1213-1279) Sitting meditation is the method of great liberation; all the teachings flow forth from this, myriad practices are mastered this way. All the buddhas and bodhisattvas have... View Journal Entry »

Essentials of Mind 1

Yuanwu (1063-1135) When the founder of Zen came to China from India, he did not set up written or spoken formulations; he only pointed directly to the human mind. Direct pointing just refers... View Journal Entry »

The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi

Translated by Burton Watson Burton Watson

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Among the most important texts of Zen literature, the Lin-Chi lu details the insights and exploits of the great ninth century Chinese Zen master Lin-chi, one of the most highly regarded of the T'ang period masters. PEN Translation Prize-winner Burton Watson presents here an eloquent translation -- the first in the English language -- of this seminal classic, The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi. The work is an exacting depiction of Lin-chi's words and actions, describing the Zen master's life and teaching, and includes a number of his sermons. Because Lin-chi's school outlasted other forms of early Chinese Zen to become dominant throughout China to this day, this translation bears unique significance within the literature of this great Asian nation. With Watson's lucid introduction to the work, a glossary of terms, and notes to the text, The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi is a generously constructed and accessible model of translation that will stand as the definitive primary material on Lin-chi for many years to come

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Instructing the Group Part I

Lin-chi I-hsuan (d.866) Someone asked, "What do you mean by the mind that moment to moment does not differentiate?" Master Lin-chi said, "The moment you ask such a question you show that... View Journal Entry »

Instructing the Group Part II

Lin-chi I-hsuan (d.866) Followers of the Way come from all over to study the Way. I myself in past years turned to monastic discipline and delved into the sutras and treatises. But later I... View Journal Entry »

Instructing the Group Part III

Lin-chi I-hsuan (d.866) Followers of the Way, I tell you there is no Dharma to be found outside. But students don't understand me and immediately start looking inward for some... View Journal Entry »
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Where to Locate the Mind

Muso (1275-1351) People meditating on the fundamental carry out their ordinary tasks and activities in the midst of meditation and carry out meditation in the midst of ordinary tasks and... View Journal Entry »

Song of Realizing the Way

Yung-chia (d. 713) Haven’t you met someone seasoned in the Way of Ease, a person with nothing to do and nothing to master, who neither rejects thought nor seeks truth? The real nature... View Journal Entry »

From the Record of Lin-chi

Lin-chi (d. 867) Someone asked: “What do you mean by the true Buddha, the true Dharma, and the true Way? Would you be good enough to explain to us?” The Master said:... View Journal Entry »

From the Record of Things Heard

Dogen (1200-1253) One day a student asked: “I have spent months and years in earnest study, but I have yet to gain enlightenment. Many of the old masters say that the Way does not... View Journal Entry »

Mountain Poems

Shih-wu (1272-1352) Here in the woods I have lots of free time. When I don't spend it sleeping, I enjoy composing chants. But with paper and ink so scarce, I haven't thought about... View Journal Entry »

Ten Guidelines for the Ch’an School

Fa-yen (885-958) The purpose of Zen is to enable people to immediately transcend the ordinary and the holy, just getting people to awaken on their own, forever cutting off the root of doubt.... View Journal Entry »

The Golden Age of Zen: The Classic Work on the Foundation of Zen Philosophy

Edited by John C H Wu

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A classic, examining the history of the great Chinese Zen masters of the 7th through 10th century.

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Hsiang-yen and the Broken Tile

Kuei-shan Ling-yu (771-853) Hsiang-yen was originally a novice under Pai-chang; he was exceptionally brilliant and quick witted, strong in analytical power and logical acumen, and versed in... View Journal Entry »

Essential Zen

By Kazuaki Tanahashi and David Schneider Kazuaki Tanahashi, David Schneider

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In Essential Zen, Tanahashi and Schneider present many of the classical writings regarded as "essential."  At turns spare, elegant, witty, deeply serious, and humourous, these arae reflections on everything from practical meditation techniques and the tasks of daily life to death, the environment, and activism.  Including a history of Zen and its practices, this is a wonderfully lucid, lively and comprehensive venture into the essential heart of Zen.

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Recommending Zazen to all People

Dogen (1200-1253) The real way circulates everywhere; how could it require practice or enlightenment? The essential teaching is fully available; how could effort be necessary? Furthermore,... View Journal Entry »
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Absorption in the Treasury of Light

 Master Ejo  (1198-1282) There is a chapter on light in the Shobogenzo; the reason for writing this essay now is just to bring out this essential substance, the fact that the... View Journal Entry »

An Elementary Talk on Zen - Part I

Man-an (1591-1654) Although the Way of Buddhahood is long and far, ultimately there is not an inch of ground on earth to travel. Although it is cultivated, realized and mastered over a period... View Journal Entry »

Secrets of Cultivating the Mind

Chinul (1158-1210) Even though there is a difference between whether one strays from it or realizes it, nevertheless the basic source is one. That is why it is said that the Dharma refers to... View Journal Entry »

An Elementary Talk on Zen - Part II

 Man-an (1591-1654) The Third Patriarch of Zen said, "If you want to follow the Way of Unity, do not be averse to the objects of the six senses." This does not mean that you should... View Journal Entry »

An Elementary Talk on Zen - Part III

Man-an (1591-1654) Models for practice of sitting meditation and ways of applying the mind in concentration have come down through tradition from the Buddhas and Zen masters. However there... View Journal Entry »

An Elementary Talk on Zen - Concluding Remarks

Man-an (1591-1654) If you do not liberate yourself in this lifetime, what lifetime will you wait for? Once this day has passed, that much of your life is gone too. With each passing thought,... View Journal Entry »

Treasury of Light

Ejo (1198-1282) The great master Yunmen, thirty-ninth generation from the Buddha, said to a group in a lecture, “All people have a light, but when they look at it they do not see it, so... View Journal Entry »

Secrets of Cultivating the Mind

Chinul (1158-1210) If you want to avoid going around in circles, nothing compares to seeking Buddhahood. If you want to seek Buddhahood, Buddha is mind. Need mind be sought afar? It is not... View Journal Entry »

Zen Letters Teachings of Yuanwu

Translated by Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary J.C. Cleary, Thomas Cleary

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Zen Letters presents the teachings of the great Chinese master Yuanwu (1063-1135) in direct person-to-person lessons, intimately revealing the inner workings of the psychology of enlightenment. These teachings are drawn from letters written by Yuanwu to various fellow teachers, disciples, and lay students-to women as well as men, to people with families and worldly careers as well as monks and nuns, to advanced adepts as well as beginning students. A key figure of Zen history, Yuanwu is best known as the author of The Blue Cliff Record. His letters, here in English for the first time, are among the treasures of Zen literature.

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Hidden Treasure

Yuanwu (1063-1135) Brave-spirited wearers of the patched robe possess an outstanding extraordinary aspect. With great determination they give up conventional society. They look upon worldly... View Journal Entry »

Transmitting Wisdom

Yuanwu (1063-1135) For Buddha’s pure transmission on Spirit Peak, for Bodhidharma’s secret bequest on Few Houses Mountain, you must stand out beyond categories and apart from... View Journal Entry »

Move with a Mighty Flow

Yuanwu (1063-1135) When your vision penetrates through and your use of it is clear, you are spontaneously able to turn without freezing up or getting stuck amid all kinds of lightning-fast... View Journal Entry »

Kindling the Inexhaustible Lamp

Yuanwu (1063-1135) By even speaking a phrase to you, I have already doused you with dirty water. It would be even worse for me to put a twinkle in my eye and raise my eyebrow to you, or rap a... View Journal Entry »

A Lotus in Fire 1

Yuanwu (1063-1135) I wouldn’t say that those in recent times who study the Way do not try hard, but often they just memorize Zen stories and try to pass judgment on the ancient and... View Journal Entry »

Daio’s Letters to Meditators

Daio (1235-1309) To Genan: The peak experience, the final act, as soon as you try to pursue it in thought, there are white clouds for a thousand miles. Don't stick to the ruts in the... View Journal Entry »

A Boatload of Moonlight - Letters of Yuanwu

 Yuanwu (1063-1135) The early sages lived with utmost frugality, and the ancient worthies overcame hardships and lived austerely.  They purified their will in this, forgetting food... View Journal Entry »

Instant Zen – Waking up in the Present

Translated by Thomas Cleary 1994 Thomas Cleary

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Shortcuts to Zen

This book contains translations of general lectures on Zen by Foyan (1067-1120), who is universally recognized as one of the greatest masters of the Song dynasty Zen revival.  going back to the original and classical Zen masters, Foyan presents many simple exercises in attention and thought designed to lead to the awakening of Zen insight into the real nature of the self.

After the  passing of the classical masters, very few Zen teachers equaled Foyan to the degree to which he fostered independence and autonomy and freedom in his hearers from the very outseet.  He was completely free of any desire for fame or followers and made no attempt to recruit disciples.  All he wanted was for people to open their own eyes and stand on their own two feet, to see directly without delusion and act on truth without confusion. 

It is said that dozens of his hearers attained enlightenment; at least fifteen of them are known to have become Zen mastes and teachers in their own right. 

from the Introduction by Thomas Cleary 1994

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Sitting Meditation

Foyan (1067-1120) Sitting Meditation The light of mind is reflected in emptiness; Its substance is void of relative and absolute. Golden waves all around, Zen is... View Journal Entry »

Essential Teachings of Dogen

Dogen (1200-1253) Buddha ancestors have said since ancient times,  "Living for one hundred years does not compare with living for one day and arousing determination for the way." Even... View Journal Entry »


 Foyan  (1067-1120) Association with good companions is a serious recommendation of the ancient sages.  Students today should follow the words of the Buddhas and Patriarchs; if... View Journal Entry »

Same Reality, Different Dreams

Foyan (1067-1120) People may sleep on the same bed, under the same covers, yet their individual dreams are not the same. An ancient sage said, "We share the same one reality, yet do not... View Journal Entry »

Stop Opinions

Foyan (1067-1120) The Third Patriarch of Zen said, "Don't seek reality, just put a stop to opinions." He also said, "As soon as there are judgments of right and wrong, the mind is lost in... View Journal Entry »

Mud and Water - A Collection of Talks by the Zen Master Bassui

Translated by Arthur Braverman Arthur Braverman

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Mud and Water is the only comprehensive record of the dharma talks of the 14th c Zen master Bassui.  The talks, recorded by one of his disciples, were written in the colloquial Japanese of the time, since Bassui's followers included not only monks and nuns but also may lay people.

Bassui's central message was that the act of seeing one's original nature is Buddhahood itself.  His ability to connect with his disciple's questions to this traditional Zen theme and his skill at making complex Buddhist doctrines understandable to all distinguish his teachings. 

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Mud and Water 1

Bassui (1327-1387) The way of Zen began without the establishment of any sect.  It is simply a religion which points to the one original mind of all Buddhas and ordinary people. ... View Journal Entry »

Mud and Water

 Bassui (1327-1387) Questioner: "There is not one among the good teachers from ancient times up to the present who hasn't said that there is no Buddha existing outside of the... View Journal Entry »

Mud and Water

Bassui Tokusho (1327-1387) Someone asked: "The Buddhas and patriarchs use so many methods and means in their teachings, how can there be nothing outside of 'seeing into your own nature is... View Journal Entry »

Mud and Water - 2

Bassui (1327-1387) Q: "What does it mean when it is said in a sutra, 'If we perform the five practices- receiving and obeying; reading; reciting; expounding; and transcribing the sutra-we... View Journal Entry »

Returning to Silence: Zen Practice in Daily Life

By Dainin Katagiri Dainin Katagiri

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For twenty-five hundred years Buddhism has taught that everyone is Buddha—already enlightened, lacking nothing. But still there is the question of how we can experience that truth in our lives. In this book, Dainin Katagiri points to the manifestation of enlightenment right here, right now, in our everyday routine. Genuineness of practice lies in "just living" our lives wholeheartedly. The Zen practice of sitting meditation (zazen) is this not a means to an end but is the activity of enlightenment itself. That is why Katagiri Roshi says, "Don't expect enlightenment—just sit down!"

Based on the author's talks to his American students, Returning to Silence contains the basic teachings of the Buddha, with special emphasis on the meaning of faith and on meditation. It also offers a commentary on "The Bodhisattva's Four Methods of Guidance" from Dogen Zenji's Shobogenzo, which speaks in depth about the appropriate actions of those who guide others in the practice of the Buddha Way. Throughout these pages, Katagiri Roshi energetically brings to life the message that "Buddha is your daily life.

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To Live is just to Live

Dainin Katagiri (1928-1990) Based on Shakyamuni Buddha’s experience and the experience of the buddhas of the past, the main point of Dogen Zenji’s teaching is that zazen is just... View Journal Entry »

Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen

Edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi

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Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), among the first to transmit Zen Buddhism from China to Japan and founder of the important Soto School, was not only a profoundly influential and provocative Zen philosopher but also one of the most stimulating figures in Japanese letters.

Kazuaki Tanahashi, collaborating with several other Zen authorities, has produced sensitive and accurate translations of Dogen's most important texts. Moon in a Dewdrop contains the key essays of the great master, as well as extensive background materials that will help Western readers to approach this significant work. There is also a selection of Dogen's poetry, most of which has not appeared in English translation before.

Dogen's thought runs counter to conventional logic, employing paradoxical language and startling imagery. It illuminates such fundamental concerns as the nature of time, existence, life, death, the self, and what is beyond self.

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Plum Blossoms

Dogen (1253) My late master Taintong ascended the seat and taught the assembly: Tiantong’s first phase of mid-winter: Old plum tree bent and gnarled All at once opens one blossom,... View Journal Entry »

The Time-Being

Dogen (1200-1253) An ancient buddha said: For the time being stand on top of the highest peak. For the time being proceed along the bottom of the deepest ocean. For the time being a staff... View Journal Entry »

Guidelines for Studying the Way

Dogen  (1200-1253) What you should know for practicing Zen Practicing Zen, studying the way, is the great matter of a lifetime.  You should not belittle it or be hasty with... View Journal Entry »

Only Buddha and Buddha

Dogen (1200-1253) An ancient Buddha said, “The mountains, rivers and earth are born at the same moment with each person. All buddhas of the three worlds are practicing together with... View Journal Entry »

Unborn: The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei

Translated by Normal Waddell Norman Waddell

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In 1633, at age eleven, Bankei Yotaku was banished from his family's home because of his consuming engagement with the Confucian texts that all schoolboys were required to copy and recite. Using a hut in the nearby hills, he wrote the word Shugyo-an, or "practice hermitage," on a plank of wood, propped it up beside the entrance, and settled down to devote himself to his own clarification of "bright virtue."

He finally turned to Zen and, after fourteen years of incredible hardship, achieved a decisive enlightenment, whereupon the Rinzai priest traveled unceasingly to the temples and monasteries of Japan, sharing what he'd learned.

"What I teach in these talks of mine is the Unborn Buddha-mind of illuminative wisdom, nothing else. Everyone is endowed with this Buddha-mind, only they don't know it." Casting aside the traditional aristocratic style of his contemporaries, he offered his teachings in the common language of the people. His style recalls the genius and simplicity of the great Chinese Zen masters of the T'ang dynasty

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The Unborn

Bankei (1622-1693)  You’re probably all wondering what this unborn Buddha-mind is like. The Buddha-mind, unborn and illuminating all things with perfect clarity, is like a mirror,... View Journal Entry »

The Unborn

Butchi Bankei (1622-1693) I was still a young man when I came to discover the principle of the Unborn and its relation to thought. I began to tell others about it. What we call a "thought" is... View Journal Entry »

The Ryumon-ji Sermons

Bankei (1622-1693) You often hear religious people talking about samsara, or living and dying, being the same as nirvana. But when they speak about it they do so from the standpoint of... View Journal Entry »

The Threefold Question in Zen

Daisetz T. Suzuki  (1870-1966) The question, "What is Zen?" is at once easy and difficult to answer. It is easy because there is nothing that is not Zen. I lift my finger thus, and there... View Journal Entry »

Zen Master Dogen: An Introduction with Selected Writings

Edited by Yuho Yokoi 1976 Yuho Yokoi, Daizen Victoria

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This book includes the final twelve sections of the Shobogenzo.  These were chosen because they were compiled shortly before Dogen's death and thus in many ways represent the culmination of his mature thought, and because they are among the most readily understood as well as most important parts of the entire work, especially in their discussion of Bodhi-mind, the nature of causation and karma, and the importance of living according to the ideal of the Bodhisattva, one who vows to help all beings realize enlightenment instead of seeking only his own spiritual emancipation.

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Making the Altruistic Vow

Dogen (1200-1253) To awaken to the Bodhi-mind means to vow not to cross over to the other shore of enlightenment before all sentient beings have done so.  Whether layperson or monk,... View Journal Entry »

On the Transmission of Mind

 Huang-po (d.850) Regarding this Zen Doctrine of ours, since it was first transmitted, it has never taught that people should seek for learning or form concepts. "Studying the Way" is... View Journal Entry »

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind – Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice

By: Shunryu Suzuki

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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."

So begins this most beloved of all American Zen books.  Seldom has such a small handful of words provided a teaching as rich as has this famous opening line.  In a single stroke, the simple sentence cuts through the pervasive tendency students have of getting so close to Zen as to completely miss what it's all about.  An instant teaching on the first page.  And that's just the beginning.

Suzuki Roshi presents the basics—from the details of posture and breathing in zazen to the perception of nonduality—in a way that is not only remarkably clear, but that also resonates with the joy of insight from the first to the last page.

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Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Shunryu Suzuki (1905-1971) Beginner's Mind "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." People say that practicing Zen is difficult,... View Journal Entry »


Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971) “People who know the state of emptiness will always be able to dissolve their problems with constancy.” The message for us today is “Cultivate... View Journal Entry »

The Zen Teaching of Huang po on the Transmission of Mind

translated by John Blofeld (Translator), P'ei Hsiu (Preface) John Blofeld

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This complete translation of the original collection of sermons, dialogues, and anecdotes of Huang Po, the illustrious Chinese master of the Tang Dynasty, allows the Western reader to gain an understanding of Zen from the original source, one of the key works in its teachings; it also offers deep and often startling insights into the rich treasures of Eastern thought. Nowhere is the use of paradox in Zen illustrated better than in the teaching of Huang Po, who shows how the experience of intuitive knowledge that reveals what cannot be communicated by words. With the help of these paradoxes, beautifully and simply presented in this collection, Huang Po could set his disciples on the right path. It is in this fashion that the Zen master leads his listener into truth, often by a single phrase designed to destroy his particular demon of ignorance

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Related Journal Entries

The Chun Chou Record of Zen Master Huang-po

Huang-po (d. 850) Q:  Mind is the Buddha; but it is not clear as to what sort of mind is meant by this ‘Mind which is the Buddha.’ A:  How many minds have you got? Q:... View Journal Entry »

The Chun Chou Record

Huang po (d. 850) Mind is like the void in which there is no confusion or evil, as when the sun wheels through it, shining upon the four corners of the world. For when the sun rises and... View Journal Entry »

Mind is the Buddha

Huang Po (d. 850) One day, after taking his seat in the great hall, the Master began as follows.  Since Mind is the Buddha, it embraces all things, from the Buddhas at one extreme to the... View Journal Entry »

Zen Teachings of Huang Po

Huang-Po (d 850) Our original Buddha-Nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy —... View Journal Entry »

On Transmission of Mind

Huang-po (d. 850) All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible. It... View Journal Entry »

Questions from the Wan Ling Record

Huang po (d.850) Question:  At the moment of Enlightenment, where is the Buddha? Answer:  Whence does your question come?  Whence does your consciousness arise?  When... View Journal Entry »

Transmission of Mind

Huang-po (d. 850) When a sudden flash of thought occurs in your mind, and you recognize it for a dream or an illusion, then you can enter into the state reached by the Buddhas of the past-not... View Journal Entry »

Transmission of Mind Part 2

Huang-po (d. 850) The Mind is no mind of conceptual thought, and it is completely detached from form.  So Buddhas and sentient beings do not differ at all.  If you can only rid... View Journal Entry »

The Wan Ling Record of Zen Master Huang Po - Part II

Huang-po (d.850) Q: Does the Buddha really liberate sentient beings? A: There are in reality no sentient beings to be delivered by the Tathagata. If even self has no objective existence, how... View Journal Entry »

On the Transmission of Mind

 Huang-po (d.850) Regarding this Zen Doctrine of ours, since it was first transmitted, it has never taught that people should seek for learning or form concepts. "Studying the Way" is... View Journal Entry »

Questions from the Wan Ling Record - Part 1

Huang Po (d 850 Q: Why was the Bodhisattva of Infinite Extent unable to view the sacred sign on the crown of the Buddha's head? A: There was really nothing for him to see. Why? The... View Journal Entry »

Doctrine of Mind

Huang po (d 850) When the people of the world hear it said that the Buddhas transmit the Doctrine of the Mind, they suppose that there is something to be attained or realized apart from Mind,... View Journal Entry »

The Wan Ling Record of Zen Master Huang Po

Huang-po ( d.850) Q: What is the Buddha? A: Mind is the Buddha, while cessation of conceptual thought is the Way. Once you stop arousing concepts and thinking in terms of existence and... View Journal Entry »
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