Zen Battles: Modern Commentary on the Teachings of Master Linji

Zen Battles: Modern Commentary on the Teachings of Master Linji

by Thich Nhat Hanh
     
 

One of the key tenets of the Zen school of Mahayana Buddhism is that each of us is already a Buddha — our enlightenment is inherent within us and the practice of mindfulness is the tool to bring this truth to our awareness. While it can bring much relief, this simple statement does not preclude the need for practice. We must strive to be aware of our Buddha

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Overview

One of the key tenets of the Zen school of Mahayana Buddhism is that each of us is already a Buddha — our enlightenment is inherent within us and the practice of mindfulness is the tool to bring this truth to our awareness. While it can bring much relief, this simple statement does not preclude the need for practice. We must strive to be aware of our Buddha nature rather than waiting until times of emotional upheaval when it is more difficult to practice.

Thich Nhat Hanh uses the teachings of ninth century Zen Master Linji, founder of the Rinzai school, to elaborate on this simple truth and to give readers tools that can help awaken them to their true inner nature.

One of the unique aspects of Linji's teaching, is the need to "wake ourselves up," not only by means of listening to enlightened teachings, but also through unique techniques such as the shout, the stick, and the empty fist.

The teachings of Master Linji bring readers back to reality and to simply being. Powerful, direct, and uncompromising, Thich Nhat Hanh's reflections on the teachings of Master Lin Chi are destined to join the ranks of classic Buddhist writings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Those who like robust Zen will enjoy both Linji's bluntness and Thich Nhat Hanh's candor in commenting on the master's work."—Shambhala Sun

"The teaching of Linji is not like any other master. He dares to say everything truthfully, clearly, and very frankly. When we follow a spiritual path, we have to learn and we have to practice. But when we can't digest what we've learned and can't use it in our daily life for our transformation, that's when we need the teachings of Master Linji. They are strong medicine—not a vitamin, but a purgative."
—Thich Nhat Hanh

"If you aspire to Buddha, you lose Buddha. If you aspire to the Way you lose the Way. Do not commit this mistake! I do not need you to give a good explanation of the sutras. I do not need you to be eloquent, speaking non-stop, as a torrent of water. Nor do I need you to become wonderfully penetrating and wise. I just need you to have correct insight into the way things naturally are."
—Master Linji

"As I see it, there isn't so much to do. Just be ordinary—put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing."
—Master Linji

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937006532
Publisher:
Parallax Press
Publication date:
11/19/2013
Edition description:
Revised Edition
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,110,880
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 11.80(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt

We all carry the seeds of happiness, of enlightenment, of no-birth, no-death, and no-fear in ourselves. What we search for is already there. A teacher's role is simply to remind us that we are the Buddha, we are already what we search for. If you only search on the outside or in the teachings of the Buddha and the Zen Masters it's not enough. This idea repeats itself several times in the teaching of Master Linji. It is as if Linji himself is standing in front of you shouting, “Don't try to search for me. Happiness is in you already. Enlightenment is in you already. The depth, the beauty, the greatness, the light is in you. Don't search after me, don't run after me, and don't run after the Buddha. Stop running. The Buddha is you!" That is a very revolutionary sentence.

"Why is it that some of you who study nowadays cannot succeed? It is because you have no self-confidence. If you think that you need to worship and put all your devotion in the sacred texts, than you don't have enough self-confidence in you, and you will not get very far, you will not find the Buddha. Because you don't have self-confidence, you run after the ten thousand objects of your mind. These objects pull you away and you lose all your liberty. Only if you stop all this thinking, this running after and craving of the objects of your mind, then you will see that you and the Buddha are not different-they are one. Do you want to know who is the Buddha? The Buddha is you."

Master Linji has shown us that we have to come back to ourselves, that we have to have confidence in ourselves. Don't feel that you have nothing, that you are only suffering, that you have no value, and that you have to bow to the Buddha and bodhisattvas. You don't need that; you only have to stop to follow your cravings. Then you are Buddha, you are a bodhisattva. Don't wait to put it into practice, do it right away.

Meet the Author

Born in Hue, Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. In 1967 he was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is author of more than one hundred books, including Being Peace, Happiness, Awakening of the Heart, and Reconciliation. He lives at Plum Village, a meditation center in France, and travels worldwide, leading retreats on “the art of mindful living.”

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