Zen Battles: Modern Commentary on the Teachings of Master Linji

Zen Battles: Modern Commentary on the Teachings of Master Linji

by Thich Nhat Hanh
     
 

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One of the key tenets of the Zen school of Mahayana Buddhism is that each one 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 full awareness. While it can bring much relief, this simple statement does not preclude the need for practice. We must strive to always be aware of

Overview

One of the key tenets of the Zen school of Mahayana Buddhism is that each one 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 full awareness. While it can bring much relief, this simple statement does not preclude the need for practice. We must strive to always 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 to elaborate on this simple truth and to give readers tools that can help awaken them to their true inner nature. Linji's recorded teachings are the most significant we have from the Ch'an school.

One of the unique aspects of Linji's teaching, is the need to "wake ourselves up," not only by means of sitting meditation and listening to enlightened teachings, but also through unique techniques such as the shout, the stick, and the empty fist. Master Linji emphasized direct experience of our true nature over intellectual explorations of the teachings, and he encouraged his students to not "become lost in the knowledge or the concepts of the teaching."

Powerful, direct, and uncompromising, Thich Nhat Hanh's reflections on the teachings of Master Linji are destined to become classic Buddhist writings.

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:
9781937006617
Publisher:
Parallax Press
Publication date:
11/14/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
894,888
File size:
440 KB

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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

Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most revered Zen teachers in the world today. His best-selling books include Happiness and Peace Is Every Step. He lives in Plum Village in southwest France, where he gardens, writes, and teaches the art of mindful living.

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