The World: A Gateway: Koan Commentaries on Mumonkan

Overview

The Mumonkan, or "Gateless Barrier," is the most widely used collection of koans in Zen practice. For centuries, monks, nuns, and lay people have struggled with these koans as a means of attaining enlightenment. As director of the Montreal Zen Center for the past fifteen years, Albert Low has helped others work through these koans. In this book he provides contemporary and lively commentaries which serve to make the Mumonkan available to all readers and relevant to their everyday lives. He draws upon his own ...
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Overview

The Mumonkan, or "Gateless Barrier," is the most widely used collection of koans in Zen practice. For centuries, monks, nuns, and lay people have struggled with these koans as a means of attaining enlightenment. As director of the Montreal Zen Center for the past fifteen years, Albert Low has helped others work through these koans. In this book he provides contemporary and lively commentaries which serve to make the Mumonkan available to all readers and relevant to their everyday lives. He draws upon his own thirty years of practice, half of which has been spent as a teacher, to show how the Mumonkan can be a gateway to spiritual life. His commentaries are filled with anecdotes and new insights into the human condition. The book is structured in the traditional style, with translations of each koan followed by the author's comments. The translations are drawn from the author's own interpretation and from his work with Roshi Philip Kapleau. Excerpts from the Diamond Sutra and a translation of the Prajnaparamita Hridaya ("Heart of Perfect Wisdom" sutra) are included, as well as the author's story of his own path toward awakening.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The two most important collections of Zen koans are the Blue Cliff Record and this collection, known also as the Gateless Gate, prepared by the Chinese Zen master Mumon Ekai (the Japanese form of his name) and published in A.D. 1229. It is composed of 48 koans followed by Mumon's commentary and a verse by him as an additional form of commentary. Low, director and teacher at the Montreal Zen Center, has provided a modern translation of the koans and the commentary and verse of Mumon, and has added his own insightful commentary; modern readers are thus given a wealth of further Zen thought. He has also written an insightful introduction to koans, helping readers understand what koans are and are not, how they should be experienced, and how they function in Zen Buddhism. The appendixes include excerpts from the Diamond Sutra and the Heart of Perfect Wisdom (other important Buddhist texts) to provide background to the koans. Highly recommended for any library needing a modern translation of and commentary on this foundational Zen text.-David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804830461
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/15/1995
  • Series: Tuttle Library of Enlightenment
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Mumon's Preface 21
1 Joshu's Mu! 25
2 Hyakujo's Fox 36
3 Gutei's Finger 48
4 The Barbarian's Beard 53
5 Kyogen's Man Up a Tree 59
6 Buddha Holds Up a Flower 64
7 Joshu says, "Wash Your Bowl" 71
8 Keichu's Wheel 76
9 Daitsu Chisho Buddha 80
10 Poor Seizei 84
11 Joshu's Hermits 89
12 Zuigan Calls, "Master" 96
13 Tokusan Carries His Bowls 100
14 Nansen Cuts the Cat 108
15 Tozan's Sixty Blows 113
16 Ummon's "The World Is Vast and Wide" 121
17 The National Teacher Calls Three Times 127
18 Tozan's Three Pounds of Flax 132
19 Ordinary Mind Is the Way 136
20 The Man of Great Strength 144
21 Ummon's Shit Stick 148
22 Ananda and the Flagpole 151
23 Hui Neng - Beyond Good and Evil 158
24 Fuketsu - Beyond Speech and Silence 167
25 Kyozan's Dream 170
26 Two Monks Roll Up the Blinds 175
27 The Truth that No One Has Taught 179
28 Ryutan Blows Out the Candle 183
29 Hui Neng's Flag 189
30 Baso's "This Very Mind Is Buddha" 194
31 Joshu Investigates the Old Woman 197
32 A Non-Buddhist Questions the Buddha 202
33 Baso's "No Mind, No Buddha" 207
34 Nansen's "Reason Is Not the Way" 208
35 Sei and Her Soul 212
36 When You Meet a Man of the Way 219
37 Joshu's Oak Tree 222
38 A Buffalo Passes Through a Window 227
39 Unmon Said, "You Missed!" 231
40 Isan Kicks Over the Jug 234
41 Bodhidharma Sets the Mind at Rest 238
42 The Woman Awakens from Samadhi 245
43 Shuzan's Staff 252
44 Basho's Staff 255
45 Hoen's "Who Is He?" 260
46 Take a Step from the Top of a Hundred-Foot Pole 263
47 Tosotsu's Three Barriers 267
48 Kempo's One Road 273
Mumon's Postscript 277
Mumon's Warnings 278
Appendix 1. Excerpts from the Diamond Sutra 279
Appendix 2. Prajnaparamita Hridaya; "Heart of Perfect Wisdom" 284
Appendix 3. An Account of Awakening 286
Appendix 4. Indra's Net 308
Notes on the Illustrations 310
Select Bibliography 311
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