The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koanby James Ishmael Ford
This instant classic is a watershed volume sure to rapidly take its place for generations alongside The Three Pillars of Zen as one the first books someone brand new to Zen will turn to as a starting place. The word "Mu" is one ancient Zen teacher's response to the earnest question of whether even a dog has "buddha nature"and discovering for ourselves… See more details below
This instant classic is a watershed volume sure to rapidly take its place for generations alongside The Three Pillars of Zen as one the first books someone brand new to Zen will turn to as a starting place. The word "Mu" is one ancient Zen teacher's response to the earnest question of whether even a dog has "buddha nature"and discovering for ourselves the meaning of the master's response is the urgent work of each of us who yearns to be open and at peace. "Practicing Mu" is synonymous with practicing Zen, and "sitting with Mu" is an apt description all Zen meditation. And it is said that all thousands and thousands of koans in the Zen tradition are really just further elaborations of Zen's most important koan, Mu.
This volume brings to together teachers, ancient and modern, from across centuries and the full spectrum of the Zen world to illuminate and clarify the essential matter, the question of how to be most truly ourselves at the deepest level. As the many teachers in this book talk about Mu, we learn how work with the breath in Zen meditation, how to open ourselves to difficulty and joy equally, and how to find freedom amid sinks full of dishes and cars full of children.
Though the third published in Wisdom's "Essential Writings of Zen" series of anthologies (following The Art of Just Sitting, and Sitting with Koans), The Book of Mu is the entryway to the other two, the one with the broadest appeal and the one that everyone should read first.
“A delightful book based on a delightful ideaand a must-read for anyone interested in Zen.” Mu Soeng, author of The Heart of the Universe
“The most important of all koans finally gets the attention it deserves. For those considering koan study, or just curious about this unique spiritual practice, this is a very valuable book.” David R. Loy, author of Money Sex War Karma and The World Is Made of Stories
“This book sets you wandering in uncharted territories of surprise and sudden freedom. If you dare risk the uncertainty of travel into the unknown, this is the book for you.” Lin Jensen, author of Deep Down Things
“A tremendous book, subtle and beautiful, whose power creeps up on you in the midst of reading it. This book takes the reader beyond the wordsa universe between two covers.” Deborah Schoeberlein, author of Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness
“A thorough and wide-ranging look at the mother of all koans and a first-rate introduction to koans in general.” Scott Edelstein, author of Sex and the Spiritual Teacher
“The Book of Mu is a book that people will want to read and return to again and again.” Jeremy D. Safran, editor of Psychoanalysis and Buddhism
“Sure to inspire many Zen students and practitioners.” Steven Heine in Buddhadharma
“Useful, insightful, and lovely!”Rafe Martin, author of The Banyan Deer
“Highly recommended.”Noah Levine, author of Heart of the Revolution
- Wisdom Publications MA
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- SIMON & SCHUSTER
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Meet the Author
James Ishmael Ford is a senior guiding teacher of Boundless Way Zen. James has been a student of Zen Buddhism for over forty years. He is also a senior Unitarian Universalist minister serving at the First Unitarian Church of Providence and a member of both the American Zen Teachers Association and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. He lives outside Providence.
Melissa Myozen Blacker, Roshi, is a Zen teacher and the abbot of Boundless Way Zen, a school of Zen Buddhism with practice centers throughout New England. She is one of the resident teachers at Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester. From 1993 to 2012, Melissa was on the staff of the Center for Mindfulness (CFM), founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her positions at the CFM included Director of professional training programs and senior teacher and Associate Director of the Stress Reduction Clinic. In addition to Zen teaching and writing, Melissa also offers private meditation consulting and spiritual direction. She is co-editor of The Book of MU, published by Wisdom Publications in April of 2011. Her chapter from The Book of MU was included in Best Buddhist Writing, 2012, edited by Melvin MacLeod and published by Shambhala Publications.
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