Essays in Zen Buddhism First Series
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Essays in Zen Buddhism First Series

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Item Code: IDC873
Author: Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788121509558
Pages: 388
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 6.0" x 7.6"
Weight 510 gm

From the Jacket:

 

The most fruitful growth of Buddhism in the Far East has resulted in the development of Zen and Shin. Zen attained its maturity in China and Shin in Japan. The vigour and vitality which Buddhism still has after more than two thousand years of history will be realized when one comes in contact with these two branches of Buddhism. The one appeals to the inmost religious consciousness of mankind, while the other touches the intellectual and practical aspects of the oriental mind which is more intuitive than discursive, more mystical than logical. If Zen is the ultra "self power" wing of Buddhism, Shin represents the other extreme wing known as the 'other power" and these two extremes are synthesized in the enlightened Buddha consciousness.

This book is a collection of essays originally published in The Eastern Buddhist except for the one on the 'History of Zen Buddhism' specially written for the volume.

(Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki was Professor of Buddhist Philosophy at the Otani University, Kyoto)

 

Preface

THE most fruitful growth of Buddhism in the Far East has resulted in the development of Zen and Shin. Zen attained its maturity in China and Shin in Japan. The vigour and vitality which Buddhism still has after more than two thousand years of history will be realized when one comes in contact with these two branches of Buddhism. The one appeals to the inmost religious consciousness of mankind, while the other touches the intellectual and practical aspects of the Oriental mind, which is more intuitive than discursive, more mystical than logical. If Zen is the ultra 'self-power' wing of Buddhism, Shin represents the other extreme wing known as the 'other-power', and these two extremes are synthesized in the enlightened Buddha-consciousness.

Since the publication of my short note on Zen Buddhism in the Journal of the Pali Text Society, 1907, nothing of importance has been published in English on the subject except Professor Kwaiten Nukariya's Religion of the Samurai, 1913. In fact, even in Japanese or Chinese, this branch of Buddhism has received very slight attention from modern writers of Buddhism. This is due to the peculiar difficulties which accompany the study of it. The 'Goroku' (sayings) is the only literary form in which Zen expresses itself; and to understand it requires some special practical training in Zen, for mere knowledge of the Chinese, classical and historical, is far from being enough; even with the masterly understanding of the philosophy of general Buddhism, Zen is found quite hard to fathom. Some of such scholars some- times try to explain the truth and development of Zen, but they sadly fail to do justice to the subject.

On the other hand, the Zen masters so called are unable to present their understanding in the light of modern thought. Their most intellectually productive years are spent in the Meditation Hall, and when they successfully graduate from it they are looked up to as adepts thoroughly versed in the ko-ans. So far so good; but, unfortunately from the scholarly point of view, they remain contented with this, and do not show any lively intellectual interest in the psychology and philosophy of Zen. Thus Zen is left to lie quietly sealed up in the 'Sayings' of the masters and in the technical study of the koans; it is thus incapacitated to walk out of the seclusion of the cloisters.

Of course, great mistake it would be if one should ever take the notion even for a moment that Zen could be mastered from its philosophical presentation or its psychological description; but this ought not to mean that Zen is not to be intelligently approached or to be made some- what accessible by our ordinary means of reasoning. I need not mention that my attempts in the following pages are anything but adequate for the rational treatment of the subject. But as a tentative experiment to present Zen from our common-sense point of view and as a direct lineage of Buddhist faith as first proclaimed, or rather realized, by the Buddha, I hope I have worked towards removing some of the difficulties usually besetting us in the mastery of Zen thought. How far I have succeeded or how utterly I have failed-this is naturally for the reader to judge.

The book is a collection of the Essays originally published in The Eastern Buddhist, except one on the 'History of Zen Buddhism' which was written specially for this volume; but all of them have been thoroughly revised and in some parts entirely rewritten and new chapters added. The book will be followed by a second series of Essays before long, in which some more of the important points in the constitution of Zen will be treated.

The publication of these Essays in book form is principally due to the most liberal encouragement, both material and moral, of Mr. Yakichi Ataka, of Osaka, who is an old friend of the author's and who has not forgotten the pledge half seriously and half dreamily made in our youthful days.

The author also owes a great deal to his wife in the preparation and revision of the MS., without which the book would have shown many more imperfections than it does now in various ways.

Lastly, in sending this humble work, not written in the author's native tongue, out to the world, he cannot help thinking of his late teacher in Zen, Soyen Shaku, of Engakuji, Kamakura, with regret that his life had not been spared for several years yet, not only for the sake of Japanese Buddhism but for many of his lamenting friends. This is the seventh autumn for the maple-trees to scatter their crimson leaves over his grave at Matsuga-oka. Might his spirit not for once be awakened from deep meditation and criticize the book now before the reader!

Contents:

 

    Preface. 
   1. Introduction. 
   2. Zen as Chinese   interpretation of the doctrine of enlightenment.
    3. Enlightenment and ignorance.   
 4. History of Zen Buddhism from Bodhidharma to Hui-neng (Yeno). 
   5. On Satori--the revelation of a new truth in Zen Buddhism. 
 6. Practical methods of Zen instruction.  
7. The meditation hall and the ideals of the Monkish discipline.  
8. The ten cow-herding pictures.    Index.

 

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