The Essence of Zen: The Teachings of Sekkei Harada

Overview

The Essence of Zen is an expert's guided tour of the ins and outs of the tradition's approach to meditation, enlightenment, and the oneness of all things. To read it is to enter into one of modern Japanese Zen's most subtle and sophisticated minds.

Sekkei Harada skillfully pushes us to drop those parts of ourselves that grasp and make demands regarding our understanding or progress in meditation practice. He enables us to see clearly-and steer ...

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The Essence of Zen: The Teachings of Sekkei Harada

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Overview

The Essence of Zen is an expert's guided tour of the ins and outs of the tradition's approach to meditation, enlightenment, and the oneness of all things. To read it is to enter into one of modern Japanese Zen's most subtle and sophisticated minds.

Sekkei Harada skillfully pushes us to drop those parts of ourselves that grasp and make demands regarding our understanding or progress in meditation practice. He enables us to see clearly-and steer clear of-the philosophical stumbling blocks that can make the path precarious.

The Essence of Zen represents the most succinct of his teachings, making it of immediate value to anyone with an interest in Zen. The book also contains Harada's explanations of the differences between the tradition's primary schools, making it particularly helpful to newcomers.

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Editorial Reviews

Zen Master Dae Gak
"The Essence of Zen offers encouragement to the beginner and reminders to the more experienced Zen student. Sekkei Harada reminds us that Zen practice knows no cultural limitations, exhorting us to take practice as expedient means for awakening. He then warns us of the dangers of any goal directed spiritual practice and encourages us to come to realization in our bones, not in our thinking minds. This is a compassionate book from a realized master, a book that deserves to be read and reread."
Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao
"In this gem of a book, Zen Master Harada Sekkei wields the life-affirming sword of Zen practice. Readers will experience his keen Dharma eye that cuts through even the slightest movement towards self-centeredness and that illuminates the universal law of cause and effect. Harada Roshi's insistence of mutual support among all people serves to inspire readers to affirm a world in which we all awaken together."
Shohaku Okumura
"Sekkei Harada, one of the most important Japanese Soto Zen masters of this age, goes straightforwardly into the heart of Zen practice."
Zenkei Blanche Hartman
"In this book we meet the big heart of Harada Sekkei Roshi, tireless teacher of the Dharma to many students in America and Europe. He is here, encouraging us with kindness, patience, and clarity. I highly recommend this book."
Shambhala Sun
"Harada Roshi goes straight to the heart of the matter with his plain explication of the principles of Zen, exhortation to practice (rather than just think about) Zen, and critique of 'Zen sickness' (the sickness of thinking you're not sick). It's a tough love approach to Buddhism that might be our best protection."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780861715336
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 624,804
  • Product dimensions: 8.88 (w) x 6.36 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Sekkei Harada is the abbot of Hosshinji, a Soto Zen training monastery and temple, in Fukui Prefecture, near the coast of central Japan. He was born in 1926 in Okazaki, near Nagoya, and was ordained at Hosshinji in 1951. In 1953, he went to Hamamatsu to practice under Zen Master Gien Inoue, and received inkashomei (certification of realization) in 1957. In 1974, he was installed as resident priest and abbot of Hosshinji and was formally recognized by the Soto Zen sect as a certified Zen master (shike) in 1976. Since 1982, Harada has traveled abroad frequently, teaching in such countries as Germany, France, the United States, and India. He also leads zazen groups within Japan, in Tokyo and Saitama. From 2003-2005, he was Director of the Soto Zen Buddhism Europe Office located in Milan.

Daigaku Rumme was born in 1950 in Mason, City Iowa, USA. In 1976, he entered Hosshinji as a layman and was ordained by Harada Roshi in 1978. He lived and practiced at Hosshinji until 2003. On several occasions he accompanied Harada on his visits to Europe, India, and the United States, as his interpreter. Since 2003, Rumme has been on the staff of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center located in San Francisco.

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Table of Contents

Translator's Preface     ix
Introduction     1
Dogen's Fukan-Zazengi and Commentary
The Fukan-Zazengi: A Universal Recommendation for Zazen     7
An Explanation of the Title     11
You Are Already Within the Way     13
Giving Up the Ego-Self     19
How to Sit in Zazen     25
Being Thoroughly Familiar with the True Self
In the Whole Universe, There Is Only You     43
You are Both Zen and the Way     43
Your Reality Is Zen     44
Do Not Forget Your True Self     45
Three Principal Teachings     46
Nothing Is Better Than Something Good     50
Nansen Cuts the Cat     51
The Deluding Passions Are Enlightenment     53
Throwing Yourself into Zazen     54
Hyakujo's Wild Fox     55
The Daily Practice of Zen     59
Continuing with Perseverance     61
Sitting in Zazen     62
Putting an End to the Discriminating Mind     64
"Done, Done, Finally It Is Done!"     65
Being One with the Questioning Mind     67
The Way Is One     68
Awakening to the True Self
What Is Sesshin?     73
Kyogen's QuestioningMind     75
What Is "This Thing"?     76
"Everyday Mind Is the Way"     78
Accepting Your Condition Now     81
Are You Awake?     83
Shakyamuni Buddha's Practice     84
The Deluding Attachment to the Ego-Self     85
All Things Exist Within the Six Sense Functions     86
What Is the Teaching of the Buddhadharma?     87
In Japan Only the Form of the Dharma Remains     88
Self-Taught Zen vs. Zen That Is in Accordance with the Dharma     89
Good and Evil Is Time; Time Is Not Good or Evil     92
The Wind Blows Everywhere     95
On Emptiness     96
The Ten Realms     97
The One Arrow of Sekkyo     102
Becoming Your Own Master     103
"No Dependence on Words and Letters" and "A Special Transmission Outside the Teachings"     104
Stealing the Farmer's Cow, Snatching the Beggar's Bowl     104
Exaggerating the Importance of Doctrinal Study     106
Verification for Oneself and Certification by a Master     107
The Certification of True Peace of Mind     108
To Study the Way Is to Study the Self     109
Letting Go of Oneness     110
The First Step on the Way     111
The Problem with Shikantaza     112
The Problem with Koan Zen     113
Using the Form of Zen as an Expedient     114
The Condition Right Now     116
What Is Consciousness?     117
The Light of the Dharma, the Light within Yourself     119
Awakening to the Chaos within You     120
The Law of Cause and Effect     121
Elements in the Practice of Zen
The Functions of the Body, Speech, and Thought     125
The Problem of the Self That Knows     125
Three Essential Elements of Zazen Practice     127
Throwing Away Your Standards     130
Great Diligence     130
"What Is the Way"     131
The Sickness of Being Attached to Emptiness     133
The Nature of Zen     135
Repentance     138
Zen and the Precepts Are One     141
Mind Cannot Be Grasped     143
The Enlightenment of Gensha     146
Zen within Movement, Zen within Stillness     148
Being Attached to the Ego-Self     150
Liberation Is Leaving the Dharma As-It-Is     153
Dead or Alive?     154
Afterword     157
Zen Masters and Monks Appearing in the Text     161
Glossary     163
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