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Gateless Barrier: Zen Comments on the Mumonkan Paperback – December 5, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
A practical suggestion: read this book slowly and truly spend time on each "case" presented. As you find the sentences and paragraphs which truly lift the veil and shine truth directly into your eyes -- use a red pen to mark off the individual servings of this brilliantly prepared spiritual dinner. Only this way will you be able to return again and again and easily enjoy the entire feast.
For those who will never have the opportunity to work personally with a Zen master, this is a very satisfying alternative.
Zen master Zenkei Shibayana has done a great job in guiding the reader through what has been, for more than 7th century, one of the most rigorous training exercise in Zen: the koans in the "Gateless Barrier" or "Mumonkan," without the reader's having to become a training Zen monk. He did this out of his "elder's mind" (in Japanese: roshin) and out of his "grandmotherly heart" (robashin in J), for the tradition has always been to keep koan exercises strictly between the teacher and the student. (There are no correct answers, per se, to these koans and the exercise is only complete under the supervison of a teacher). And for the real purists like Shuan who wrote the preface to "Momonkan", they would urge us to "throw it away without waiting for me to do so. Let no drop of it fall into the world." In this regard, Shuan paled when compared to Ta-hui (Chinese spelling) who took the decisive step of burning every copy of the so-called frist book of Zen, Hegiganroku (Blue Cliff Record in Chinese), which had been written by a member of his teacher's school, he could find. They both would have made Bodhidharma, the first Chinese Chan Patriach, proud - if that's possible, who wrote the famous gatha (a Buddhist poem): Transmission outside doctrine, No dependencies on words, Pointing directly at the mind, Thus seeing oneself truly, Attaining Buddhahood (Trans by Lucien Stryk & Takashi Ikemoto, in the Penguin Book of Zen Poetry).
So, perhaps this reviewer has relied too much on words already.Read more ›
Zenkei Shibayama Roshi is acknowledged as an excellent interpreter of this wonderful koan collection from the 13th century, and to comment this book was his life's work. He passed away soon after finishing his work at the age of 74.
In our Zen Monastery, we deeply appreciate this outstanding master's work.
If this book has nothing to teach you anymore, you maybe grew out of books at all.
Soshin Wolfgang Drechsler
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent anthology of Zen koans and it is titled 'gateless barrier' for a very good reason: for the non-Buddhist, or for casual students of Buddhism, the contents of this... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Emon
Take a stab at this one. Pithy. To the point. Deep as an ocean, clear as a windbell. I carry it everywhere, even to the summits of the High Sierra. It will carry you. Read morePublished on July 1, 2012 by eurydike