Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.95
  • Save: $1.95 (12%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 11 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Elegant Failure: A Guide ... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Gently used * Item is already inside Amazon's warehouse, ships fast * Customer support including tracking numbers through Your Account on Amazon.com * Satisfaction guaranteed
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans Paperback – May 25, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.00
$9.20 $8.42

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
$15.00 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans
  • +
  • Don't-Know Mind: The Spirit of Korean Zen
Total price: $34.95
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Shrobe (Zen Master Wu Kwang) is the guiding teacher of the Chogye International Zen Center of New York, and has been teaching in the Kwan Um School of Zen, the largest Zen organisation in America, for over twenty-five years. Shrobe is a certified Gestalt psychotherapist and instructor with a master's degree in social work. He now lives in New York with his family, and has a private practice in psychotherapy. He is the author of Open Mouth Already a Mistake, and Don't-Know Mind: The Spirit of Korean Zen.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rodmell Press (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930485255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930485259
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
75%
4 star
25%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 8 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Master Wu Kwang has provided us with a very useful book. He unravels words and shines light into dark places with his insight into the structureless structure of the koans he has chosen. His wisdom and compassion are inspiring; the delightful personal anecdotes he weaves into his commentary are like sunlight on clear water. This is one of the good Western books on the subject of koans and Master Wu Kwang brings our ancestors' words to life.

Of great practical benefit in opening our moment by moment hearts to the practice of loving kindness, this book is also a wonderful inspiration for sitting, and a treasured guide to effortless effort on the cushion.

I recommend this boook to all serious koan students.
Comment 5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
it must be difficult to write about koans because their very nature is non conceptual - but Elegant Failure does it -- elegantly! The nuances and stories behind koans are interesting and illuminating.
Comment 5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For thousands of years, Zen teachers have used koans (or kong-ans) as a teaching tool to awaken the mind of Zen students. Often described as riddles or paradoxes, koans are, as pointed out by the author "viewed as encrypted capsules of spiritual wisdom that can be penetrated only by those of special ability or after many long years of difficult struggle."

The simplest koans ground your thought: the sky is the sky, the mountain is the mountain.

Intermediate level koans strip away conventions (like naming): the sky is the mountain, the mountain is the sky.

The most provocative koans point to a greater understanding of the four aspects of the Zen universe (existence, nonexistence, both existence and nonexistence, and neither existence nor nonexistence): there is no sky or mountain, you are a blade of grass.

The author of Elegant Failure takes up the challenge of explaining more than twenty classic koans -- classic referring to koans tormenting students since at least the 13th century, with names like Yen-kuan's Rhinoceros Fan, San-sheng`s Golden Fish Who Has Passed Through the Net, and Tung-shan's Three Pounds of Flax.

He presents each koan, breaks down its historical relevance and then attempts to unravel its meaning. Many of the koans, as he explains, rely upon the reader to understand idioms of the Chinese language. Take, for example, Yen-kuan's Rhinoceros Fan. An English speaking reader wrestling with the koan would not likely know that Rhinoceros is interchangeable with the word "ox" and that the word ox is an allusion to the mind. Likewise, "fan" refers to permeation or sometimes(!) complications and "broken" refers to an enlightened experience.

Reading the book, I came away more frustrated with and allergic to koans than ever.
Read more ›
Comment 11 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Koans, or kong-ans as they are called in the Korean tradition, have eluded many Zen practitioners since their inception. Richard Shrobe, also known as Zen master Wu Kwang in the Kwan Um School of Zen, has recently authored a book on these enigmatic exchanges between masters and disciples in the book Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans. Derived from three important texts--The Blue Cliff Record, The Book of Serenity and the Wu-men-kuan, Shrobe has selected twenty-two cases supplemented with commentary from various Dharma talks he has given. Shrobe selected this group of kong-ans for their qualitative ability to assist those engaged in a meditation practice and, with more than thirty years of experience working with kong-ans, we can say he is an authority on the subject.

I certainly belong to that category of folks for whom koans have remained relatively obscure. Wu-Men himself, the compiler of the Wu-men-kuan, spent some six years of his life struggling with Joshu's MU. Some koans come very easily to us and others will elude us for years, perhaps an entire lifetime. Something Shrobe does masterfully in this work is found in his ability to make these ancient cases applicable and accessible by we the modern, Western reader. Were kong-ans bound by space and time they would have no relevance to us in our current practice. The commentaries which he provides us with offer wonderful insights in to the sometimes multi-layered facets of these enlightened exchanges, done in a manner that does not in any way spoonfeed the reader or `answer' what only we ourselves can find manifest in our lives, anyway.
Read more ›
Comment 2 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans
This item: Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans
Price: $15.00
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com
Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: zen