Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans

Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans

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Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans by Thomas Yuho Kirchner

Entangling Vines, a translation of the Shumon kattoshu, is one of the few major koan texts to have been compiled in Japan rather than China. Indeed, Kajitani Sonin (1914 - 95), former chief abbot of Shokoku-ji and author of an annotated, modern-Japanese translation of the Kattoshu, commented that "herein are compiled the basic Dharma materials of the koan system." Most of the central koans of the contemporary Rinzai koan curriculum are contained in this work.

A distinctive feature of Entangling Vines is that, unlike The Gateless Gate and Blue Cliff Record, it presents the koans "bare," with no introductions, commentaries, or verses. Its straightforward structure lends the koans added force and immediacy, emphasizing the Great Matter, the essential point to be interrogated, and providing ample material for the rigors of examining and refining Zen experience.

Containing 272 cases and extensive note material, the collection is indispensable for serious koan training and will also be of interest for anyone drawn to Zen literature. The present translation had its origins in the discussions between three forward-looking modern Japanese Zen masters and Thomas Kirchner, an experienced Zen monk from America. And Kirchner's careful annotation of each koan makes this a brilliant introduction to Buddhist philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614290773
Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 831,911
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Thomas Yuho Kirchner was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1949. He went to Japan in 1969 to attend Waseda University in Tokyo for a year, after which he remained in Japan to study Buddhism. He spent three years training under Yamada Mumon as a lay monk at Shofuku-ji before receiving ordination in 1974. Following ordination he practiced under Minato Sodo Roshi at Kencho-ji in Kamakura and Kennin-ji in Kyoto. Following graduate studies in Buddhism at Otani University he worked at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya and subsequently at the Hanazono University International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism. He presently lives at Tenryu-ji in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Among his publications are the Record of Linji, Dialogues in a Dream, and Entangling Vines.

Nelson Foster is a Dharma heir of Diamond Sangha founder Robert Aitken and succeeded him at its Honolulu temple. He now teaches mainly at Ring of Bone Zendo in the California foothills, making periodic visits to the East Rock Sangha in New England.

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