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The Blue Cliff Record Paperback – April 12, 2005
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"The Blue Cliff Record reveals to us what enlightenment is, what the enlightened life is, how the patriarchs and masters of old struggled with it, attained it, actualized it, and accomplished it. . . . I firmly believe this translation is a milestone and will immensely benefit those who are sincerely engaged in the practice and the enlightenment of the Buddha-way."—from the foreword by Taizan Maezumi Roshi
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
To peruse the contents of this text is more like picking at an onion, than surveying a flat surface, exploring several layers of meaning. Hence, it is at once simple - and complex, insofar as each of its individual cases (100 in all), with verses, commentaries etc., and meta-commentaries - are convoluted and inter-linked. What eventually became the 'Blue Cliff Record' had began life as Master Hsueh-t'ou's verses and comments. Yuan-wu, an eminent Sung master, eventually added introductory comments, verses and verse comments of his own. It is probably true to say that there is nothing else quite like it - in the rest of the world's literature.
Suzuki presented individual cases as a kind of 'taster.Read more ›
tr. Thomas and J.C. Cleary
Shambala, Boston and London 1992
I first encountered the classic of Ch'an literature known as The Blue Cliff Record nearly 20 years ago, in a review by my teacher Sangharakshita. He described it as 'a world in which Buddhism matters, is the only thing that matters, and in which people are prepared to go to any lengths in order to attain - and transmit - "the profound anti mysterious principle of Enlightenment".' I suggested, with naive enthusiasm, that he lead a seminar on The Blue Cliff Record. His response was a mischievous smile: `You would have to be ready for anything!'
The book looks harmless enough. In its English translation it has a nice, shiny. deep blue dust jacket with a bit of calligraphy - a classical design, nothing flashy. But if you begin to read it seriously and consistently, in the right kind of conditions, it shakes you to the very core. It looms up out of the mist like a mile-high cliff face. There are no handholds. It is cold, silent, and steep. Very steep.
It consists of 100 kung-an (koan) or 'public cases', originally compiled by a master named Hsueh Tou Ch'ung Hsien (980-1052), who wrote a verse on each case - a cryptic verse pointing the way for his disciples to contemplate. About 60 years after Hsueh Tou's death, another master, Yuan Wu, gave a series of talks elucidating each case and Hsueh Tou's verses. The cases, the verses, and the elucidations together comprise The Blue Cliff Record. so called after the Blue Cliff monastery on Mt. Chia in Hunan where Yuan Wu delivered his talks.
That sounds tidy - a book in which we can read stories about Enlightened masters and then read edifying poems and talks by other masters explaining them.Read more ›
I've owned this book for something like 10 years now and it is still enigmatic and at times unfriendly to me, but that is the nature of kung-an practice. There is a stubbornness to the Ancient kung-an that does not change readily, but does yield with time, though I think there is no real way to "rush" their clarification, and it is probably unwise to try to.
The gong-an themselves are ample proof that intellect alone falls short when confronted with the patriarchs of the Ch'an path. Chinese Ch'an Master Sheng Yen says that to have good practice, realization and heart must go hand-in-hand. Having just the realization-hold-the-compassion won't produce the highest realization. If you think Zen is atheistic intellectualism, you're dead wrong. You're supposed to feel your heart when you have a Zen realization.
"A monk asked Yun Men, "What is every atom samadhi?" Men said, "Food in the bowl, water in the bucket."
Poetry succeeds where explanation fails. This is an appeal to the physical poetry of the immediate, while intimating that there is way more to the everyday immediate than was previously assumed in what Heidegger calls the "Average Everydayness" or mind-numbed, over-conditioned state of how we ordinarily tend to relate to the world. This is the key--the 20-ton key--to Ch'an that the intellect alone is too weak to wield.
"Yun Men showed his staff to the assembly and said, "The staff has changed into a dragon and swallowed the universe. Mountains, rivers, the great earth--where are they to be found?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A classic, but I wish there was better western style commentary. Those that aren't fully tuned into the absolute/relative interplay should look elsewhere for a first pass, then... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Quickdraw
Amazing depth, but not easy. You have to read one at a time and then many times. Meditate on it and read it again, until something starts to glimmer at the edge of your conscience. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Olaf van Kooten
After 44 years of staring at a wall, I still can't make heads or tales of these absurd stories. They are the classics of Zen literature, and as impenetrable as the Book of... Read morePublished 11 months ago by James Kenney
One of the best texts ever written. This is a classic of the Zen Tradition, and I hope it goes into re-print, because there ought to be a lot of deserving readers. Read morePublished 12 months ago by N. Coppedge
Right livelihood, Right Action, Right thoughts - this books seems to fit well in the eight fold path. Thank you to all who developed, translated, published, and who read the book. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kozen
I already had a copy of the same translation I bought about 30 years or more ago. At that time this translation was published in three volumes, and I could find only volume three. Read morePublished 21 months ago by David J Hicks