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Ten Gates: The Kong-an Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn
     

Ten Gates: The Kong-an Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn

by Seung Sahn, Robert Aitken
 

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Zen is famous for koans (called kong-ans in Korean, and in this book), those bizarre and seemingly unanswerable questions Zen masters pose to their students to check their realization (such as "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"). Fear of koans keeps some people from ever giving Zen practice a try. But here, through the experience of seeing a modern Zen

Overview

Zen is famous for koans (called kong-ans in Korean, and in this book), those bizarre and seemingly unanswerable questions Zen masters pose to their students to check their realization (such as "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"). Fear of koans keeps some people from ever giving Zen practice a try. But here, through the experience of seeing a modern Zen master work with his students, you can see what koan training is really like: It’s a skillful, lively practice for attaining wisdom.

This book presents the system of ten koans that Zen Master Seung Sahn came to call the "Ten Gates." These koans represent the basic types one will encounter in any course of study. Each of the ten gates, or koans, is illuminated by actual interchanges between Zen Master Seung Sahn and his students that show what the practice is all about: it is above all a process of coming to trust one’s own wisdom, and of manifesting that wisdom in every koan-like situation life presents us with.

For more information on the author, Zen Master Seung Sahn, visit his website at www.kwanumzen.com.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834826854
Publisher:
Shambhala
Publication date:
08/14/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
152
File size:
883 KB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


From First Gate: Joju's Dog

Someone asked JoJu Zen Master, "Does a
dog have buddha-nature?"
JoJu said, "Mu." ("No.")

The first question is: Buddha said all things have buddha-nature. Nature means substance. All things have this substance. But JoJu said a dog had no buddha-nature. Which one is correct?

The second question is: JoJu said, "Mu." What does mu mean? This mu has no meaning. If you find a meaning, that's a big mistake. If you are attached to yes and no, you will have a problem. Mu is behind yes and no. Behind yes and no means behind everything. Our world is an opposites world—heaven, earth; yes, no; man, woman; good, bad—what is not opposites? But who made these opposites? God, Buddha, human beings? We make opposites. If you put it all down, return to before thinking, then there are no opposites. If you have no opposites then mu is alive. If you have opposites thinking, then mu hits you. JoJu said, "Mu," so this monk is very surprised.

This third question is: Does a dog have buddha-nature? What can you do? Many students understand this, but understanding cannot help. You must attain the correct function of freedom from life and death—only understanding freedom from life and death cannot help you.

Meet the Author

Zen Master Seung Sahn (1927–2004) was the first teacher to bring Korean Zen Buddhism to America, having already established temples in Japan and Hong Kong. In 1972 he came to the United States and started what became the Providence Zen Center, the first center in what is now the Kwan Um School of Zen, which now includes more than eighty centers and groups worldwide. His students called him Dae Soen Sa Nim, "Great Honored Zen Teacher," and he was the 78th Zen master in his line of dharma transmission in the Chogye order of Korean Buddhism. His books include The Compass of Zen, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, Only Don't Know, and The Whole World Is a Single Flower: 365 Kong-ans for Everyday Life.

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