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Invoking Reality: Moral and Ethical Teachings of Zen (Dharma Communications) Paperback – June 19, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Dharma Communications
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (June 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590304594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590304594
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This deeper look at the precepts of Buddhism strives to eliminate the misconception that Zen is just a form of meditation, putting it forward as a philosophy of day-to-day, minute-to-minute living. The book is fashioned like a primer, divided into logical bites and descriptions, first of the three treasures (the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha), then of the three pure precepts (not creating evil, practicing good, actualizing good for others) and then the 10 grave precepts (affirm life; be giving; honor the body; manifest truth; proceed clearly; see the perfection; realize self and other as one; give generously; actualize harmony; experience the intimacy of things). However, this book by Loori (The Zen of Creativity) is not exactly an introduction. The cadence, the language and the concepts all assume more than a cursory familiarity with the practice of Zen Buddhism. Ideas like gasso and the koan Mu, for instance, are mentioned but not defined. At times the book feels uneven; some grave precepts feel more rushed while others get noticeably longer treatment. Although the core argument—that Zen requires an ethical code of conduct as well as meditation practice—is certainly user-friendly, this book's presentation will make it most valuable for those who are already very familiar with Zen teachings. (June 12)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug M on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
John Daido Loori provides a nice, easy to read, overview of the Bodhisattva Precepts in Soto Zen. As he remarks in the introduction, the moral precepts are an oft-overlooked principle in Zen, and Buddhism, in general, but that as one practices Zen, they become a natural part of your life.

This translations are helpful because they are employ both a negative and positive definition for each precept, so instead of sounding intimidating, it comes across as sensible. Of the first two precepts, he expresses them as:

* Affirm life - Do not kill
* Be giving - Do not steal

...and so on. He intersperses this with his own life anecdotes (I was not aware that he had been in the Navy, for example), but keeps the explanations simple enough that one doesn't get bogged down in details.

I think this would be an excellent choice for any Zen Buddhist to round out their practice. As Loori teaches, there is a lot more to Zen than just sitting, and this is a great teaching to keep in mind off the cushion.

Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shikantaza VINE VOICE on May 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
31-May-2013: UPDATE

I came back to Invoking Reality: Moral and Ethical Teachings of Zen a year after completing my precepts course at ZCLA. Re-reading this small book after another year of practice, and (always!) reading other material, proved revelatory - I can absorb at most one 5-7 page chapter a day. I find it necessary to expand my review, and am pleased to note the book is now available for Kindle.

First, a disclaimer: reading a book about the Treasures and the Pure Precepts is NOT a substitute for regular practice, but it certainly provides more grist for the contemplative process. Viewed superficially, the book is a guide to help beginners get started in the process of daily "living the Precepts" - a powerful means to fully immerse oneself in the Dharma. Advanced practitioners will find Invoking Reality is clearly and concisely written; subtleties emerge as part of deepening understanding.

The first half of the book is devoted to a short but thorough discussion of the Three Treasures (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) and the Three Pure Precepts (Not Creating Evil, Practicing Good, and Practicing Good for Others). Truly, without a firm grasp of these ideas one cannot seriously dig into the Ten Grave Precepts.

The second half of Invoking Reality is dedicated to discussions of the Ten Grave Precepts. The Precepts resemble the Judaic Ten Commandments (they arose independently around the same time) but are not "commands" forbidding killing, stealing, lying, etc. Instead, the Precepts are guidelines by which a Buddha lives. The Precepts are not absolute; they adapt to situations.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hans Obrelius on October 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have just read this book once and it calls me to get back, thats nice. And I think it will grow on me as a good guideline. Its not so many zenbooks that get down to moral and thats refreshing but a little heavy. Take one more step on the pole.
Gassho
Hans
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Roberta L. on August 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was delighted to receive this book in a very timely fashion. It is used and was described as in excellent condition but the description failed to mention that the text is underlined extensively. I probably would not have bought it had I known.
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