For more than four decades, Robert Aitken Roshi has taught thousands of people the Buddhist practice of Zen meditation, and has led hundreds through their practice of the study of traditional koans. He has authored more than a dozen books; volumes of commentary on sacred texts; works on ethics, daily life, and social action; and one of the best-loved introductions to Zen Buddhism, Taking the Path of Zen. A founder of the Buddhist Peace ...
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Miniatures of a Zen Master

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For more than four decades, Robert Aitken Roshi has taught thousands of people the Buddhist practice of Zen meditation, and has led hundreds through their practice of the study of traditional koans. He has authored more than a dozen books; volumes of commentary on sacred texts; works on ethics, daily life, and social action; and one of the best-loved introductions to Zen Buddhism, Taking the Path of Zen. A founder of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, he has spent his life as a political activist, work he continues to this day.

To culminate a long and remarkable life, 91-year-old Aitken Roshi offers a collection of 266 short texts in Miniatures of a Zen Master. Some are clearly parables; others are simple stories, quotations, memories, and commentaries. Resembling Benjamin Franklin's Almanac or the epigrams of Chamfort as much as it does work from ancient sages, this collection of "miniatures" distills a life devoted to teaching and awareness, of being present, showing up, and making a difference.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

". . . in this sprightly collection of 188 short texts, [Aitken] offers brief stories, observations, memories, and commentaries. Those familiar with his book Encouraging Words will appreciate the further evidence of this Zen Master’s wisdom.” —Spirituality & Practice

“Like some of the finest Zen literature, they read like the contents of one’s own mind and also like a mirror held up to show the mind’s quotidian chatter to be somehow pure.” —BuddhaDharma

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582439983
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 8/27/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 568,260
  • File size: 215 KB

Meet the Author

Robert Aitken is a retired master of the Diamond Sangha, a Buddhist community he and his wife Anne founded in Hawai'i in 1959. The author of more than ten books, he has encouraged the real-world application of Buddhist principles through social justice and peace movements.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1


Book I

Intimacy 9

The Virtue of Distraction 10

Buddha's Birthday 11

The Tangled Web 12

Therapy 13

Lucky 14

Vows 15

The Timeless 16

Liking Yourself 17

Doubt 18

Killing Time 19

Light 20

Ground Your Practice 21

Do Not Kill 22

Teaching Yourself 23

It is to Laugh 24

The Domain of Integrity 25

The Perfection of Character 26

As You Are 27

Long-Lost Home 28

Yourself as an Instrument 29

Faults and Weaknesses 30

Be Yourself 31

Essential Emptiness 32

Make It Clear 33

The Heart Sutra 34

How'm I Doing? 35

The Lesser Vehicle 36

Get Serious 37

The Meaning of Jukai 38

Book II

Seeing and Hearing 41

The Shorter Kannon Sutra 42

The Impact of Truth 43

Six Essentials 44

Me to You 45

The D&obar;j&obar; 46

Enticement to Live 47

Guanyin 48

The Dharma 49

Schiller's Creator 50

Yakuseki 51

The Raft Is the Shore 52

The Mountains and Rivers Sesshin 53

Vacancy! 54

Bishop Ditch 55

Folk Stories of Zen 56

Zen Study 57

The Buddha Dharma 58

The Beginning of Practice 59

The Exacting Master 60

Improvised Practice 61

"Beginner's Mind" 62

The Rich Ambiguity 63

Hush Hush 64

Maezumi R&obar;shi 65

The Old Teacher 66

Women in Zen 67

Itadakimas 68

Upright Livelihood 69

Zen and Psychology 70

The Snow Man 71

Upright Speech 72

Coping with One's Mistakes 73

The Great Master 74

Not Conventional 75

Ailments of Old Age 76

A World Religion 77

Important Work 78

Yaza 79

Study Practice 80

No Almighty God 81

Simone Weil 82

My Damned Mother 83

What Happens after Death? 84

The Attitude toward Dr. Suzuki 85

Zazen for the Mentally Unstable 86

Put God on the Shelf87

Shin-jin Datsu Raku 88

Breath Counting 89

In Charge of Nature 90

Whitman and D&obar;gen 91

Beliefs 92

The Disadvantage of Being an Old-Timer 93

Dangerous Work 94

The Way of Yao 95

No Zazen for Children 96

A Loaded Word 97

Dumbing Down 98

Déjà Vu 99

Be Decent 100

First Reasons 101

This Very Body 102

Enlightenment 103

Awareness of Time 104

Circumambulation 105

The Jewels 106

Thomas Traherne (1636-1674) 107

Book III

The Myth of Sisyphus 111

The Middle Initial 112

Danger Man 113

Gratitude 114

Guidelines 115

Love Never Faileth 116

The Drunk 117

Love 118

Prevalence of Gays 119

The Midway Rail 120

The Naming of Children 121

The Illegal Annexation 122

Son of a Famous Man Syndrome 123

The World of Make-Believe 124

Step'um 125

The Noble Cause 126

Choosing Your Battle 127

Overhead Wiring 128

All Beings Are Sick 129

What Works for You? 130

Our Elders 131

Obedient Objects 132

Kenneth Rexroth 133

Remembered in Museums 134

The Listening Project 135

Sixty Miles an Hour 136

Truth-telling 137

At Waimanalo Pier 138

Wrong as Hell 139

The Fragrant Emperor 140

Book IV

The Mountain Stream 143

The Palaka Shirt 144

The Eightfold Path 145

The Empty Space 146

Saint Andrew 147

FDR 148

Bon Dancing 149

"Moose, Indian" 150

Dinosaur Mountain 151

Old Age 152

Here I Come! 153

Colonel Boogie March 154

"Dasa Side" 155

A Cue 156

"Ta Dah!" 157

Miles Carey 158

Picture Brides 159

Old Asian Women 160

The Turnover 161

The Notch 162

The Green Flash 163

Finger Bowls 164

The Gurgling Magpie 165

Secret Sorrow 166

The Friendly Animals 167

"Tongues in Trees" 168

The Mejiro 169

Cinque Ports 170

Stephen Crane 171

A Turning Point 172

Sharing the Silence 173

Uncle Max 174

The Foreign Groom 175

Holocaust Survivors 176

Counting Seconds 177

Pleasant Memories 178

Grandmother's Admonitions 179

Humane Antennae 180

Reading the Book 181

Incredibly Na&iumlet;ve 182

Liquid Sunshine 183

All Things Are under the Law of Change 184

A Fine Memory 185

Grandpa Baker's Failure 186

Impressing Mom and Dad 187

Mother's Inability 188

The Patriot 189

Dad's Indiscretion 190

Trick or Treat 191

The Human Spirit 192

Expelled 193

The Master 194

Advertisement 195

Carrying the Dog 196

Owly-Growly 197

Saimin 198

Unexpurgated Mother Goose 199

Dr. Maher 200

The Puffer Fish 201

Seahorses 202

The Music of the Spheres 203

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