By Katsuki Sekida

ISBN-10: 0834825562

ISBN-13: 9780834825567

The unusual verbal paradoxes known as koans were used usually in Zen education to assist scholars reach an immediate awareness of truths inexpressible in phrases. the 2 works translated during this e-book, Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate ) and Hekiganroku (The Blue Cliff Record), either compiled throughout the music dynasty in China, are the easiest recognized and most often studied koan collections, and are classics of Zen literature. they're nonetheless used at the present time in a number of perform lineages, from conventional zendos to fashionable Zen facilities. In a very new translation, including unique commentaries, the well known Zen instructor Katsuki Sekida brings to those works a similar clean and pragmatic method that made his Zen education such a success. The insights of a life of Zen perform and his familiarity with either jap and Western methods of pondering make him an excellent interpreter of those texts.

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Example text

I am in a state of the most absolute mad intoxication. The only thing that really amazes me is that the sky is not blue but pale gray, and that it is not particularly hot. I have just returned from Memphis and am sitting in Alexandria at night, and from the street, through the jalousie, one can hear someone improvising infinitely doleful and languid music on a mandolin. I cannot write, there are too many impressions. [I was] in the pyramid of Menkaure, climbed up Cheops, sailed on the Nile at night: Lord, what ecstasy.

Kuzmin, though at times sorely tried, would remain true to these ideas. Kuzmin read Plotinus selectively; like most writers, he took from him (and others) only what coincided with and bolstered conclusions he had reached already. There are explicit references to Plotinus after 1895, and his name need not appear for the reader to recognize his imprint, as in this letter of]une 8, 1896: "Despite all the variety, I sense beauty everywhere, the same kind that is also incarnated in perfect love ....

It manifests itself most often as an awareness of isolation and a fear of being totally absorbed in art itself: "How strange. More and more I am losing touch with life (in the narrow and literal sense) and everything for me is concentrated in but a few people, books, and all-important concepts. And this does not oppress but somehow cleanses me, and when I see people from the 'world' it seems we're speaking different languages" (September 6, 1895). The lack of many close friends or even acquaintances and the recent death of a lover only enhanced his perception of the artist's essential loneliness.

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Two Zen Classics: The Gateless Gate and the Blue Cliff Records by Katsuki Sekida


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