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Making Zen Your Own: Giving Life to Twelve Key Golden Age Ancestors Paperback – January 31, 2012
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"Abels writes about the Zen Ancestors with clarity and a depth of knowledge that comes from long practice and study. Her rich and succinct descriptions of the lives of the Zen ancestors will help many find their own way into the Zen path." (Andy Ferguson, author of Zen's Chinese Heritage)
"Janet Abels walks hand-in-hand with the ancient Chinese Zen Ancestors. She brings alive their struggles and triumphs on the road to awakening. Through Abels' excellent narratives and her own deep understanding, she has revealed the profound teachings of these great masters for present-day students of the Way." (Gerry Shishin Wick, author of The Book of Equanimity)
"In this enlightening work, Abels shares the lives and teaching of 12 Chinese Zen masters during a period which has come to be known as Zen's Golden Age. She successfully captures and conveys their idiosyncrasies as ancestors and the breadth of their skills as spiritual mentors." (Spirituality & Practice)
"Janet Abels has given us a strong presentation in spirited prose of the lives of the founding teachers of Zen Buddhism during China's Tang Dynasty. She clearly presents the personalities of these teachers, their place in history, and the individual's contribution to Zen practice." (Father Robert Kennedy, Roshi)
"Abels has an easy way of bringing us into deeper relationship with the hit parade of luminaries from Zen's Chinese founding. Telling their stories and putting them in historical context, she invites us again and again to see their lives as our lives, their stories as our stories. A book of inspiration and challenge for all of us who are interested in clarifying the great matter of being a human being." (David Rynick, author of This Truth Never Fails)
"A delight...This is an excellent book of teachings with clear insight evident which should help many on the path. Those unfamiliar with the stories will delight in the narratives of these masters and the sparkling, engaging style Abels brings to these tales. There is over a thousand years between the masters and us but they are still alive and teaching us and I'm sure they will continue for another thousand years." (The Zen Site)
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Top Customer Reviews
I appreciated the Zen ancestors and myself so much more after reading about their humanity. Who knows how much is myth or story telling - it really doesn't matter. What did make a difference to me as a zen student was realizing that these great teachers could only be great because they were so human. That is what hit home and helped me to awaken to the fact that there is no 'Zen' or 'awakening' per se outside of how I live my own life. So you see their stories and struggle are mine and brought my practice and approach to Zen down to earth. Thank you again.
Having practiced in the Chan and Zen traditions, I was happy to see again how both traditions complement each other.
Making Zen Your own is more than an historical treatment about the Chinese masters. Here, one can find dharma lessons that Sensei Janet smoothly blends into the telling without disrupting the narrative flow.
This work is eminently readable--thanks in no small part to her daughter and editor, Carrie Abels--but not in a pure-reading sense. The lessons Sensei Janet offers need to be read with meditative awareness and taken to heart.
Making Zen Your Own is well worth not just one, but many reads to capture the dedication and spirit of Sensei Janet.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Inspiring. Real. Nice job Sensei Janet. Leads one into the natural koan, the great matter: what is this?Published 10 months ago by DENIS C. GLYNN
I gave this two stars because it did not meet my expectations….which says more about me than the book. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Peggy Sue
This is a wonderful book! I enjoyed every page. I particularly found very helpful that each zen master got his own chapter. Read morePublished on July 6, 2013 by Marisa Seishin Cespedes
In "Making Zen Your Own, Janet Abels takes us to one of the remotest historical periods for westerners- the Golden Age of Chinese Zen that ended roughly in 949- and animates the... Read morePublished on June 6, 2012 by jackie apone
I loved this book, after reading many other books on Zen, because it brings us together with
the great teachers in a modest, open and still very rigorous way -- it's like the... Read more