The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan [NOOK Book]

Overview

The word "mu" is one ancient Zen teacher's response to the earnest question of whether even a dog has "buddha nature". Discovering for ourselves the meaning of the master's response is the urgent work of each of us who yearns to be free and at peace. "Practicing Mu" is synonymous with practicing Zen, "sitting with Mu" is an apt description for all Zen meditation, and it is said that all the thousands and thousands of koans in the Zen tradition ...
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The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan

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Overview

The word "mu" is one ancient Zen teacher's response to the earnest question of whether even a dog has "buddha nature". Discovering for ourselves the meaning of the master's response is the urgent work of each of us who yearns to be free and at peace. "Practicing Mu" is synonymous with practicing Zen, "sitting with Mu" is an apt description for all Zen meditation, and it is said that all the thousands and thousands of koans in the Zen tradition are just further elaborations of Mu.

This watershed volume brings together over forty teachers, ancient and modern masters from across centuries and schools, to illuminate and clarify the essential matter: the question of how to be most truly ourselves.

Includes writings from: Dogen, Hakuin, Dahui, Thich Thien-An Zenkei Shibayama, Seung Sahn, Taizan Maezumi, Sheng Yen Philip Kapleau, Robert Aitken, Jan Chozen Bays, Shodo Harada Grace Schireson, John Daido Loori, John Tarrant Barry Magid, Joan Sutherland, and many more!
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A delightful book based on a delightful idea—and 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 words—a 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

Jeremy D. Safran
"The Book of Mu is a book that people will want to read and return to again and again."
David R. Loy
"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."
Noah Levine
"Highly recommended."
Mu Soeng
"A delightful book based on a delightful idea—and a must-read for anyone interested in Zen."
Lin Jensen
"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."
Deborah Schoeberlein
"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 words—a universe between two covers."
Scott Edelstein
"A thorough and wide-ranging look at the mother of all koans and a first-rate introduction to koans in general."
Steven Heine in Buddhadharma
"Sure to inspire many Zen students and practitioners."
Rafe Martin
"Useful, insightful, and lovely!"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861716098
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 3/17/2011
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,134,004
  • File size: 572 KB

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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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Foreword: The Great Koan, Your Dog John Tarrant xiii

Introduction James Ishmael Ford Melissa Myozen Blacker 1

On the Transliteration of Names 17

The Koan Mu: Text, Commentary, and Verse Wumen Huikai 19

Historical Perspective: The First Teachers of the Koan Way

Three Commentaries Dahui Zonggao 23

Two Commentaries Eihei Dogen 29

Great Doubt Hakuin Ekaku 31

Founding Teachers in the West

Teisho on Joshu's Dog Shaku Soen 35

Chao-chou's Dog Robert Aitken 45

Working with Mu Koryu Osaka 55

Joshu's Dog Nyogen Senzaki 59

Commentary on Joshu's Mu Yamamoto Gempo 63

Commentary on Joshu's Mu Harada Sogaku 67

Commentary on the Koan Mu Haku'un Yasutani 71

Joshu's Mu Zenkei Shibayama 83

Encouragement Talk Philip Kapleau 95

Joshu's Dog Koun Yamada 99

First Gate: Joju's Dog Seung Sahn 103

Mu Taizan Maezumi 109

Method of Practice Thich Thien-An 115

The Experience of Wu Sheng Yen 117

Modern Commentaries

Three Commentaries Shodo Harada 121

Joshu's Mu Eido Shimano 131

On the Utter, Complete, Total Ordinariness of Mu James Ishmael Ford 139

No Is Not the Opposite of Anything: Using Zhaozhou's "Mu" in Zen Practice Melissa Myozen Blacker 143

Mu: Intimate and Simple David Dae An Rynick 157

It's Not What You Think Bodhin Kjolhede 161

Using Poison to Get Rid of Poison John Daido Loori 165

Unromancing No Joan Sutherland 175

Practicing Mu, Arriving Home Ruben L.F. Habito 185

Even a Dog…? Mitra Bishop 199

Always at Home Jan Chozen Bays 203

At Home in the World Rachel Mansfield-Howlett 207

Turn the Light Roko Sherry Chayat 215

The Power of Possibility in the Unknown Dae Gak 227

A Thousand Miles the Same Mood Susan Murphy 231

Mysterious and Subtle, Simple and Straightforward Elihu Genmyo Smith 241

Give Yourself Away to Mu Gerry Shishin Wick 247

The Baby and the Bath Water Barry Magid 253

No. Nay. Never. Nyet. lie. John Tarrant 263

Experiences with Joshu's Mu Jules Shuzen Harris 273

Enjoying Mu Kurt Spellmeyer 277

Becoming Mu Grace Schireson 281

Joshu's Dog Elaine MacInnes 289

Afterword Melissa Myozen Blacker James Ishmael Ford 307

About the Contributors 311

Reprint Credits 317

Index 321

About the Editor

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