By Richard Shrobe
Zen koans are tales of exchanges among Zen masters and their disciples in the meanwhile of enlightenment or near-enlightenment. those tales have lengthy involved Western readers as a result of their knowledge, humor, and enigmatic caliber. Drawing on over 30 years of perform and educating, Richard Shrobe (himself a well-known Zen grasp) has chosen 22 situations from The Blue Cliff checklist and Wu-men-kuan that he reveals deeply significant and valuable for meditation perform. In dependent Failure, he offers a wealth of heritage details and private anecdotes for every koan that support to light up its that means with out detracting from its paradoxical nature. As Shrobe reminds us, "The major middle of Zen educating is the naked bones of what's there. In a undeniable feel, embellishing a narrative takes clear of the vital instructing: Don't adorn something, simply be with it because it is."
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Extra resources for Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans
Give them up altogether. Be mindful and listen with attention and care. Do not focus too intently, picking out individual words and points, like a dremo bear digging up marmots--each time you seize one item, you forget the one before, and will never get to understand the whole. Too much concentration also makes you sleepy. Instead, keep a balance between tight and loose. Once, in the past, Ananda was teaching Sror:ta to meditate. Sror:ta had great difficulty getting it right. Sometimes he was too tense, sometimes too relaxed.
6 The Mantra Vehicle is sublime. The Mantrayana can be entered by many routes. It contains many methods for accumulating merit and wisdom, and profound skilful means to make the potential within us manifest' without our having to undergo great hardships. The basis for these methods is the way we direct our aspirations: Everything is circumstantial And depends entirely on one's aspiration. Do not consider the place where the Dharma is being taught, the teacher, the teachings and so on as ordinary and impure.
If you remember incorrectly what has been said, endless wrong ideas will proliferate. 19 This will spoil your mind and debase the teaching. Avoid all these errors and remember everything-the words, the meaning and the order of the teachings-properly and without any mistake. However long and difficult the teaching may be, do not feel disheartened and wonder if it will ever end; persevere. And however short and simple it may be, do not undervalue it as just elementary. To remember both words and meaning perfectly, in the right order and with everything properly linked together, is therefore indispensable.
Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans by Richard Shrobe