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Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts Paperback – September, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Having briefly met and received teisho from the dignified Anderson, a model of equanimity and rectitude, at a sesshin he conducted in 2007, BEING UPRIGHT took on a very direct and personal tone for me as I read through it. Although Anderson's personality imbues this book with a kind of "warm reserve," making it perhaps a bit less penetrable than Aitken Roshi's THE MIND OF CLOVER, which discusses the Bodhisattva Precepts as well, the differences in tone are only those as arise between different teachers. The lessons are equally as valid.
Reb Anderson's thesis is that the Bodhisattva Precepts are central, as central as, and perhaps even a shade more so, than zazen. Although zazen is considered by many to be the heart-mind ('shin') of Zen, the Precepts are the thoughts and feelings that imbue that heart-mind, an infinitely complex and organic set of principles that underlie each aware moment.
In their externals rather like the Ten Commandments, the Precepts arise from, and at the same time are, and also create, the way of right living. A self-perpetuating, closed, and yet infinitely open manner of addressing the world, to be a Bodhisattva, an awakened one who remains in the world but not of it pending the enlightenment of all beings, is to be totally, joyfully, human.
Reb Anderson uses traditional teachings, examples from his own tenure as a teacher and as a student, and examples from the life of Suzuki, to underscore the nature of the Precepts and their practical application to American life.
An important book for the Zen practitioner, BEING UPRIGHT asks us to be all that we are.
It does not presume to dictate precept practice to anyone. As the book makes clear: Practice arises out of one's realization while practice simultaneously fosters realization.
The author does discuss targets to aim for. However hard those targets may seem at this point in your life, shooting at a target with no bullseye won't improve anyone's aim. Ultimately, of course, we each set our own targets.
One caution: "Being Upright" says it is written for people already in Zen practice. It is for those who are considering making a public, formal statement of their personal dedicated intent to follow specific Buddhist precepts. As the author says, his title refers to "the integration of precept practice and meditation." He makes it clear that it is the Zen meditator who decides whether or when to make the vows to practice the precepts. He also says that while some, in his experience, might make their avowal after six months of meditation practice, most should have sat for three years or more (many, many more in his own case). Don't buy this book if you are looking for an introduction to Zen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is a great read for anyone preparing to take 16 precepts, Soto or Rinzai. The author shares the relevance of each precepts and illustrates with personal stories/experiences... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Joseph L. Fisher
A primer for navigating the precepts. I've read it twice and continue to refer to it.Published 14 months ago by Hannah Sullivan
The author does a great job of allowing the reader to get a 360 degree perspective of the bodhisattva precepts. Read morePublished on May 22, 2014 by George Haskoor
I was a little surprised that my therapist recommended this book, but after reading it, I understand why, which I won't bore you with. Read morePublished on October 16, 2013 by J. M. Skalnik
There are concepts of Buddhism and Zen that have diffused into American culture since the 1950s, but there is a vast realm of tradition and more "technical" aspects that have... Read morePublished on August 14, 2012 by Marcus Bird