Monday, April 13, 2015
Sitting with Koans
The Zen tradition has just two main meditative practices: shikantaza, or "just sitting;" and introspection guided by the powerful Zen teaching stories called koans. Following up on his previous book, The Art of Just Sitting, John Daido Loori's new anthology illuminates the subtle practice of koan study from many viewpoints. Section one examines the history of the study and use of koans in China and Japan, with essays from such important contemporary Zen scholars as Heinrich Dumoulin ("Five Houses of Zen"). Section two includes writings from the masters of Japanese Zen such as Hakuin Ekaku's "The Voice of the Sound of One Hand." Section three vividly portrays the living tradition of koan introspection today in East and West in such pieces as Sokei, and Sasaki's "Ninth Koan." These scholars clarify the nature of one of Zen’s most enigmatic forms, making the book useful to those with casual interest and indispensable to students of Zen.