Kensho: The Heart of Zen

Kensho: The Heart of Zen

by Thomas Cleary
     
 

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Kensho
is the transformative glimpse of the true nature of all things. It is an experience so crucial in Zen practice that it is sometimes compared to finding an inexhaustible treasure because it reveals the potential that exists in each moment for pure awareness free from the projections of the ego. Among the traditional Zen works are a number of

Overview

Kensho
is the transformative glimpse of the true nature of all things. It is an experience so crucial in Zen practice that it is sometimes compared to finding an inexhaustible treasure because it reveals the potential that exists in each moment for pure awareness free from the projections of the ego. Among the traditional Zen works are a number of important texts focusing on the profound subtleties of this essential Zen awakening and the methods used in its realization. The selections here are taken from:

  • Straightforward
    Explanation of the True Mind,
    by
    Korean Zen teacher Chinul (1158-1210), which provides the contextual balance needed to understand kensho by relating it to the broader teachings of the
    Buddhist scriptures and treatises.
  • Several works by Japanese Zen master Hakuin (1786-1769), whose teachings emphasize the techniques used in the cultivation and application of kensho and the importance of going beyond the experience itself to apply Zen insight to the full range of human endeavors.
  • The
    Book of Ease,

    a Chinese koan collection from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with commentary showing the practical dimension of classical koan practice.

The translator provides extensive introductory notes and detailed commentary on each of the selections to help the reader understand the inner meaning of this essential experience of Zen.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
An authoritative and prolific translator of and commentator on East Asian religious texts, Cleary tells us that kensho means "Zen insight into the essence of one's own being." To explain this concept in depth, he translates and comments on three Zen texts and divides his book into corresponding parts, which he titles "The True Mind," "Applications," and "Zen Koans." The three Zen texts are Chinul's (Korean, 1158-1210) Straightforward Explanation of the True Mind, several works by Hakuin (Japanese Zen master, 1689-1769), and The Book of Ease, a Chinese koan collection. Cleary's approach is to state a theme, expound on it, quote several passages from one of the three works to illuminate the concept, show what this contributes to the Zen understanding of true mind, and summarize his presentation. His work is tightly reasoned, complex, and for the advanced student of Zen. Recommended for libraries already having introductory books on Zen, such as D.T. Suzuki's An Introduction to Zen Buddhism (Grove Atlantic, 1987).-David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernadino

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834828735
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
11/05/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
218 KB

Meet the Author

Thomas Cleary holds a PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. He is the translator of over fifty volumes of Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, and Islamic texts from Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Pali, and Arabic.

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