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Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues Paperback – March 22, 2005


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Frequently Bought Together

Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues + The Blue Cliff Record + The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 463 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (March 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590302494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590302491
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Thomas Cleary has translated a medium-sized library of classic texts of Buddhism, Taoism, and I Ching studies, and the Book of Serenity is a major contribution to his already staggering body of work."—Sam Hamill, Tricycle

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this book long ago and Amazon's systems keep pestering me to review it, although I haven't read it properly. I had previously bought the "Blue Cliff Record", and unless you can devote your whole day to koan study, that by itself will see you out of this world. Buying this as well was like the man who wins a lifetime's supply of free beer and is so excited he goes out and buys a second lifetime's supply.

But who can resist endless computer nagging? Besides, the reviewer below, who seemed to like the book in so far as you can tell, yet only gave it one star, has skewed the ratings. (He gets "wandering in samara" confused with "Appointment in Samsara", so maybe he was just ignoring the Precept about Not Using Intoxicants.)

These hundred "cases" were collected by Master Hung-chih; the prose commentaries were added by Master Wan-sung Hsing-hsiu, playing the role that Master Yüan-wu did in the "Blue Cliff Record". Thomas Cleary's Introduction is a useful brief history of Zen. "Serenity" isn't quite the word: "The Book of Equanimity" says it exactly. Equanimity is a deep perception of Oneness, or of the Indescribable beyond even Oneness: if you realise it with heart, soul and body, you know that water can't drown you, that fire can't burn you.

So what is a Koan? An IQ puzzle? A logical enigma that enables you to see the limits of rational thought? A mysterious aphorism that you should just Be With, not try to solve? Heck no! A Koan Is A Plain, Clear Statement About Something You Are Quite Capable Of Understanding. Laughter is the usual response when you see into a koan ("solve" is misleading.) I'm not entirely sure what's so funny. Partly it's that it was all so obvious: something insanely wonderful was right there in front of you all the time.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Atte Saarela on December 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book contains profound wisdom, but it is still fun to read..Read it if you are at all interested in classic zen tales. The accompanying commentary makes it very accessible. The guy who gave this one star probably made a mistake or has a weird sense of humor.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This overlooked, and not readily available, classic of Zen and Buddhism in gerneral is a great tool for practitioners of the Way. These ancient "Zen Dialogues" continue to serve as a guide to enlightenment, just as the old masters intended. It is important to recognize, that although "ancient" in historical terms, these "dialogues" are highly practical and useful even today in our very different age and society--and a great testament to the great teaching talent that defines an "ancient master." Another great feature of this "Book of Serenity" is the sheer enjoyability as literature and sublime poetic beauty.
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